Betting Distance in Horse Racing

Horse racing is conducted at various distances. Some horses are better suited to short distances while other horses like to run a mile or more. The master of EZ Horse Betting can sometimes locate a profitable angle when he or she spots a horse that is a specialist at a certain distance. Some of the best race horses of all time were magnificent at one specific distance while performing under par at all others. Here is a quick primer on racing distances and spot angles you can bet at your favorite online racebook.

Sprint Distances In Horse Racing

Sprints in horse racing are distances of less than one mile or 8 furlongs. This includes:

  • 4 furlongs
  • 5 furlongs
  • 5 ยฝ furlongs
  • 6 furlongs
  • 6 ยฝ furlongs
  • 7 furlongs

These are the common sprint distances at major thoroughbred racing venues on both the grass and the dirt. In most cases they involve just one turn and do not require a complete circling of the track.


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4 furlong races are mostly reserved for 2 year-old horses that are making their first attempts at racing. You will find these races at meetings like the Keeneland Spring and Fall Meetings as well as at Saratoga and Del Mar. Many trainers like to start their young horses in shorter events to evaluate their talent and build stamina. In betting these races, look for trainers like Wesley Ward who do exceptionally well with two-year-old first time starters.

5-7 furlong races are a staple on any racing day at any racetrack. Horses with sharp early speed can fare very well in these races, especially when they have drawn an inside post position. An inside post position is starting from the 1, 2, or 3 stall in the starting gate. Many times horses in this position can wire the field. This means that they can lead the race from beginning to end. To bet these races effectively, look for races which have a lone runner with early speed. If this lone speed horse gets loose on the lead, it may be able to hang on for the win.

Speed is far more important in sprint contests than it is in route events. As a general rule, you will want to rely more heavily on speed figures when it comes to sprints.

Route Distances in Horse Racing

A route in horse racing is any distance greater than 7 furlongs. The most common route distances at American race tracks are:

  • One Mile
  • 1 mile and 70 yards
  • 1 1/16 miles
  • 1 1/8 miles
  • 1 ยผ miles

One of the Triple Crown races, the Belmont Stakes, is contested at 1 ยฝ miles but this is very uncommon. It is far more common to see races in the one mile to 1 1/16 mile range.

Pace is far more important in route races than it is in sprints. Horses that do well in route events typically tend to run slow early and faster late. This is especially true in grass races. As such, you should be focusing your betting attention on horses that have proven their ability to rate or conserve energy and make a late run.

You also would like to see a horse has already proven it can handle the distance of today’s race. Always be very wary of horses that are trying something new for the first time. If a horse has never gone longer than six furlongs in its career, it may struggle when running a mile today.

The Route to Sprint Angle

One angle for handicappers that consistently pays off nice dividends is the horse which is moving from a route to a sprint. But there are some qualifiers that must be met. Look for this situation when considering a bet:

  • A horse is racing at a sprint distance today
  • The horse’s most recent efforts were all routes
  • In those recent efforts, the horse was in the lead or within two lengths of the lead during the early stages of the route race.

A horse that meets these conditions can sometimes be offered up at nice odds. The horse may have the necessary stamina to wire the field.

Did you know that you can wager on horse racing from your computer, smartphone, or tablet from the comfort of your own home? All you need to do is create an account with one of the online horse betting sites recommended by EZ Horse Betting. You can get free past performances to help with your handicapping and also a nice welcome bonus when you sign up! Check our Bovada racebook review, Twinspires review or even our Betamerica review. All great choice if you are in the US. 5Dimes review for folks anywhere!


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