Canadian Horse Racing: What to Bet On

A comprehensive beginner’s guide on how to bet on horse races in Canada. Get exclusive tips and insights to make informed wagers and enhance your betting experience.

Horse racing boasts a rich history within Canada, maintaining its status as a highly favoured sport for betting enthusiasts up to the present day. This enduring popularity is well-founded, as the world of horse racing betting offers an exciting experience featuring a range of betting opportunities throughout the year.

In this article, we uncover details about the most popular options in horse betting, the legal landscape of this activity in Canada, and prime betting events.

Is Horse Racing Allowed in Canada?

Absolutely, horse racing holds legal status in Canada and has been one of the few sanctioned gambling activities for a considerable period. Unlike other sports, horse racing operates outside the purview of the Criminal Code’s regulations.

Instead, its oversight falls under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency. This distinctive regulatory framework remains unchanged, as horse racing was specifically excluded from the recent legislation pertaining to single-event betting.

It’s worth noting, however, that a recent development has affected horse racing betting in Ontario. Commencing on April 4th, 2023, bettors in Ontario are temporarily unable to engage in horse racing betting at licensed Ontarian sites. This situation is due to the stringent legal stipulations that licensed operators must adhere to.

While awaiting developments, if you’re seeking alternative betting options in Ontario, you can peruse a list of top sportsbooks and online casinos at

Betting on Horse Racing

Below is a brief guide to steer you through the process:

  1. Find a Licensed Sportsbook: Identify a reputable sportsbook offering a comprehensive horse racing betting platform.
  2. Registration and Account Creation: Complete the sign-up process by providing the necessary information and following all required steps.
  3. Deposit Funds: Once your account is set up, deposit funds using your chosen payment method.
  4. Select a Race: Browse through the array of horse racing events available on the platform. Choose the race that captures your interest and holds the potential for a thrilling betting experience.
  5. Place Your Bet: Based on your analysis, select the type of bet you wish to place, whether it’s a win, place, show, or more intricate wager. Input your wager amount and confirm your bet.
  6. Enjoy the Race: Once your bet is placed, settle in and watch the race unfold.

Types of Horse Racing Bets

If you are new to horse racing, the many betting terminologies might initially appear daunting. First and foremost, it’s essential to distinguish between two broad categories: straight bets and exotic bets. The difference is that exotic bets introduce intriguing variations to the betting experience. Let’s delve into the specifics, breaking these types into more comprehensible terms.

Win Bet Involves placing your wager on a single horse to clinch the coveted 1st place position
Place Bet Revolves around a single horse finishing either 1st or 2nd
Show Bet Betting on a single horse to seize 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place
Exacta Bet Predicts the horses that will clinch 1st and 2nd place – if selections match the outcome in the correct order, the bet emerges victorious
Quinella Bet Predicts the horses that will clinch 1st and 2nd place – if selections match the outcome in the correct order, the bet emerges victorious
Trifecta Bet Adds complexity by necessitating a prediction for the horses that will achieve 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in a race – selections must mirror the actual outcome in the precise order for the bet to be victorious
Superfecta Bet Predicting the horses that will clinch the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place, adhering to the exact order of their placement in the race

Popular Horse Racing Events in Canada

We’ve explored the different forms of horse racing bets, but what events can you place those bets on? Let’s explore some celebrated horse racing events in Canada and other countries.

Canadian Triple Crown

A much-anticipated series of horse races await Canadian bettors in the form of the Canadian Triple Crown. A yearly occurrence, this series encompasses three races tailored for three-year-old horses hailing from Canada. The Queen’s Plate sets the stage in June, hosted in Toronto. The July Prince of Wales Stakes finds its home in Ontario, while the grand finale, the Breeders’ Stakes, unfolds at Woodbine in August.

Canadian International Stakes

Taking a prestigious spot on the Canadian horse racing calendar, the Canadian International Stakes stands as the second most significant event. Open to three-year-old thoroughbred racehorses, this race is an annual occurrence every October at Ontario’s Woodbine Racetrack.

Breeders’ Cup World Championships

Originally a one-day, seven-race affair, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships has evolved into a two-day, 14-race extravaganza held in November. This event has gained international prestige with participation from global contenders, including Canada, Australia, and the UK.

Royal Ascot

While Canadians embrace the allure of the Triple Crown races, the British horse racing scene revolves around the Royal Ascot. Occurring in June, this esteemed race meeting is Britain’s most valuable. For only five days, it attracts more than 500 horses, drawing attention worldwide.

Melbourne Cup

Crossing international borders, Canadians also find interest in the Australian Melbourne Cup, the nation’s premier annual thoroughbred horse race. Spanning 3200 meters and involving three-year-olds and older horses, this event takes place on the first Tuesday of November. Its immense popularity ensures coverage across most horse betting sites.

Bets on Horse Racing Today

Betting and horse racing go together like the classic peanut butter and jam combination. When you watch a horse race, the instinct to engage in some betting action is almost innate. Betting on these races stands as an integral facet of the horse racing culture, infusing an abundance of thrill into the entire experience. We hope that this guide will be helpful to your future horse racing and betting endeavours.

If you have a gambling problem, or know someone who does, you can find national gambling addiction hotlines and state resources for gambling hotlines here.