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What Is The Most Profitable Bet In Horse Racing

Successful bettors have been making profitable wagers in horse races, allowing them to sustain a gambling career.

Is it possible for anyone to amass a fortune from horse race bets? What is a profitable horse race wager? We answer these questions by discussing the feasibility of making money from horse race bets.

Defining A Profitable Horse Race Bet

A profitable horse race wager is a series of winning bets that grants you a positive monthly return. Any winning wager will make you money regardless of the amount. Professional bettors aim to win enough of their wagers to cover the stakes of their bets while providing them with a reasonable yield. When profitability within horse race bets is discussed, the discussion focuses more on achieving a positive ROI out of hundreds of wagers. A 5% ROI is an achievable goal that most professional bettors aim for.

Remember that a profitable horse race bet is different from high-paying high-risk wagers. Some horse race wagers can grant you a small fortune for just a tiny stake, such as accumulator bets. Accumulators of four to eight selections and all of these need to win. Payouts for eight-fold accumulators can make anyone rich with just a dollar since it is nearly impossible to win every wager. However, these bets are never suitable for long-term earnings.

Profitable bets are also not about “safe” wagers or ones with incredibly low risks like swingers. Swinger bets are where you predict up to five horses to reach the top three spots of the race. The small returns from these wagers are not feasible for career bettors.  

People betting to win or making money from horse races are looking for wagers with a realistic chance of winning and a good payout potential. These can be straightforward wagers such as win, place, or show, as well as other exotic bets. Finding bets that will pay off requires time and effort to research the horses participating in a race through race cards.  

Finding a Profitable Horse Bet on Race Cards

Professional bettors can grasp a horse’s performance for the upcoming race based on their past achievements and other relevant data. You need all the information to find the most profitable bets on race cards. Below are the relevant parts of the cards to note.


A form is the horse’s past race results as a string of numbers. You read the form from left to right, with the most recent results on the rightmost side. Forms will note if the horse finished from 1st to 9th place. If there is a 0 in the form, it means the horse failed to finish within the top 9 places. A form of 1152 means the horse finished 1st in the first two races, 5th in the third, and 2nd in the fourth.

There are symbols in races, such as dashes ( – ), to represent the separation of seasons between races. Look out for the slash symbol (/) since this shows the horse has not been racing for a whole season.


Next to the name are labels or abbreviations that describe various characteristics of the horse and its previous achievements. Here are the following labels to look out for:

Am – An amateur horse starting

f/fm – Short for the firm going and indicates this is the horse’ favored going.

BF – The abbreviation is for a beaten favorite or a favored horse that lost in the last race.

C – A winner of the same track

D – Won the same distance as the current track

CD – Won the same track with the same distance

F – The horse fell during the race.

R – The horse refused to race.

BD – A runner bought down the horse.

P/PU – A jockey must pull a horse up to the finish line.

U/UR – The horse unseated its jockey.

HR – Collided with the rails during the race.

L – Left the track a the start of the race.

SP – the starting price of a horse.

The labels right after the horse’s name can give you a clear idea of whether the horse can beat others on the track. You can also see which ones are the clear underdogs or worst performers for the race.

BHA Rating

Horses in the top six spots among three races will receive an official rating or OR from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). An OR is intended to assist handicappers in determining a horse’s proper weight to be competitive with the rest. OR ensures horses with a low rating can compete against highly rated selections and have a reasonable price during a race by adding the appropriate weights on top-performing participants.  

How do we use the information presented on the race card to find the most profitable horse bet? Use the data to get the actual odds of the horses on the tracks. While experienced bookmakers have the tools and knowledge to get accurate prices on each race’s participants, the odds are not perfect. Going through the race cards lets you know if the prices on certain horses are correct or if there is a mismatch in their odds.

For example, we have a race where horses A and B have the best chances of winning and a toss-up on either selection taking 1st place. The most profitable bet in this scenario is a place on both or a swinger bet on those two since they are clear top selections.

In another example, horse A has a BF label and is priced as the race’s favorite with 3/1 odds, while horse B has a CD label and is priced at 5/1. A valued bet here is a win on horse B, given its likelihood of beating horse A.

Remember, a profitable bet offers a sizable return and a reasonable chance of winning. Going through a race card and understanding the information on it will help you find these valued bets.

This article was published on December 21, 2022, and last updated on November 22, 2022.

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