Horse Race Betting: Rules and Terms

A total of six racing authorities conduct official horse races in India, and these races transpire across nine different race tracks situated all over the country. Find all your Indian horse race tips here!

The main turf clubs which conduct horse races across India are:

  • Bangalore Turf Club
  • Hyderabad Turf Club
  • Royal Calcutta Turf Club
  • Royal Western India Turf Club
  • The Mysore Race Club
  • Madras Race Club

The horse race season in India is modeled after the British races. India essentially has five noteworthy races which are considered classics and these take after the British classic races. The five classic horse race events in India are as follows:

  • The Indian 1000 Guineas – December
  • The Indian 2000 Guineas – December
  • The Indian Oaks – January end
  • The Indian Derby – First Sunday of February
  • The Indian St. Leger – September

Brief note on horse race betting

Indian laws do not entertain gambling, even casinos are barred across most of India with the exception of a few union territories and states. However, the law has been kind to horse race betting. According to the law books, horse race betting is considered a skill – based game and it does not solely rely on luck. Therefore, the laws allow real money betting on horse races on this basis.


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Commonly Used Terms in Horse Race Betting 



Across the Board – 3 in one bet which includes a win, a place and a show. If the horse wins, you collect three ways, if horse places second, you collect two ways and if the horse ends up third, you collect one way.

All-Age-Race – A race that allows horses that are 2 years old and above

Apron – The paved area which is placed in the middle of the racing track and the grandstand

Average-Earnings Index – a comparative stat which showcases the earning of a horse as compared to other horses in the race.


Breeder – The person that owns the dam at the time of foaling. However, if the dam was leased or under foal – sharing at the time of foaling, the breeder/s in this case is the person specified in the documents.

Broodmare – A mare of a filly that has been bred and used for produce foals

Bookmaker –The organization or individual that accepts and pays off bets on horse racing events at odds which are published prior to the race


Chestnut – a chestnut colored horse ranges between the colors of red, yellow, golden – yellow, red – yellow.

Cooling out – the process of letting a horse’s body temperature come back down to normal, usually accomplished by light walking around. This is done after the horse has just exercised or run a race.


Daily Double – the two races from the day is picked by the bookie. You need to predict and be right about which horse will place first in each of the two races to win the daily double

Dam – The mother of a foal

Derby – A race for three-year-old horses


Exacta – Select two horses in the same race and if your selections place both 1st and 2nd you win the (you need to specify the order too) exacta bet

Exotic – Any wager other than a win, place of show is considered an Exotic


Field – refers to all the horses in a race

Filly – A female thoroughbred that is either four years of age or under and has not been bred.

Flat race – The race is not a flat piece of land with no inclination

Front-Runner – A horse which takes the lead early and attempts to hold on to it till the finish line


Gate – also called starting gate is where the horses are held with the jockey on the horse, just before the race is flagged off


Handicap – A race where a track handicapper assigns the weights that need to be carried


In foal – A pregnant mare is said to be in foal


Jockey – the rider of the horse


Key Horse – a horse which is used in multiple combinations in an exotic bet


Late Double – A second daily double which is offered after the first daily double and usually towards the later part of the race event


Mane – The fur at the crest of the horse’s neck

Mare – A female horse that is five years or above, or a younger horse that has given birth

Maiden – A horse which is yet to win a race


Near side – The side on which the horse is mounted (the left side of the horse)


Overlay – A horse which is offered at higher odds by the bookie without clear reason

Owner – The person who owns the horse


Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 6 – Similar to the daily double but instead of just two races, you need to select winners for 3 races, 4 races and 6 races respectively

Parlay – A multi race bet in which winnings are then used to wager on the next race

Place – your horse needs to finish 1stor 2ndto guarantee return on the bet


Quinella-Exacta – Select two horses in the same race and if your selections place both 1st and 2nd you win the (irrespective of order) quinella bet


Rail runner – a horse that stays close to the inside rail while running a race


Saddle – the seat on a horse, usually kept as light weight as possible

Superfecta – You need to predict and select the 1st, 2nd 3rd and 4th place horses exactly right

Show – your horse needs to finish either 1st, 2nd or 3rd to guarantee return on the bet


Trifecta – You need to predict and select the 1st, 2nd and the 3rd place horses exactly right

Thoroughbred –A horse whose lineage can be traced back to any of the three founding sires on both the dam and sire sides

Trainer – the person who tends to the horse and trains the horse to race


Underlay – A horse whose odds are shorter than expected


Veterinarian –the person that advises the racing authority on all regulatory aspects on the application and practice of veterinary medicine at the track


Work – to work a horse is to exercise a horse