Some fans of EZ Horse Betting may not be familiar with standardbred horse racing. Also known as harness racing, standardbred horse racing is very popular in Canada. These thrilling races can offer many Canadian horse racing betting opportunities. The races are often available on the betting menu of most major online racebooks.

Here are a few things to know about this type of horse racing in Canada. You will see that many aspects of betting these races is the same. It is the horse and how the races are conducted which is different.

Standardbred Vs. Thoroughbred Horse Racing in Canada

The type of horses that compete in Canadian horse racing are of different breeds. Thoroughbreds compete in the traditional form of horse racing with which most Americans are familiar. This style of racing involves only the animal and the jockey.


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In standardbred horse racing, things are a little bit different. The jockey rides in a type of cart called a sulkey. The sulkey is attached to the horse with a harness. Because the horse is pulling a jockey and a harness, the horse used is a standardbred. This type of horse is larger than the thoroughbred and built to handle a heavy work load. Harness racing jockeys in Canada are not required to maintain the same weights as thoroughbred jockeys.

In standardbred horse racing, all horses are required to maintain a specific gait. There are races for trotters and for pacers. When a horse breaks its required gait, the horse must move to the outside of the track where it can resume its gait before being allowed to rejoin the other horses.

The manner in which standardbred horse races are started in Canada is also different. There is no starting gate. Instead, the horses follow behind a pace vehicle which has gates attached to each side. The horses take their place behind the moving gate and then the gates are withdrawn into the sides of the vehicle. The car then exits the raceway so that the race can proceed.

Betting Standardbred Canada Horse Racing

Most of the online racebooks that serve bettors in the US and abroad offer betting on standardbred racing. You will find that the types of wagers offered are much the same as those offered in thoroughbred horse racing.

Bettors can make wagers to win, place, or show. These are called straight wagers. The minimum bet is usually $2, just as it is in thoroughbred racing.

In addition to the straight racing wagers, there are also exotics. Bettors can make bets on the exacta, trifecta, superfecta, and more. These exotic bets are often a better proposition. They allow the bettor to risk a small sum in exchange for a large profit. The downside is that exotic bets in horse racing are usually harder to hit than straight wagers.

The Risks in Standardbred Horse Racing

Anyone that has ever taken the time to watch a horse racing event in Canada that involves standardbred horses knows that there is a huge element of risk involved. The horses are moving at a rapid speed  within inches of one another. Sometimes collisions occur between the sulkeys in the race.

A collision of sulkeys can often send the drivers into the air as the harness becomes a sort of catapult. Some harness racing drivers have died while harness racing. The same can be said for horses that compete in the events.

We also mentioned earlier that horses are required to maintain a certain gait as they race. There is a risk that a talented horse will lose its gait and be unable to once more move into contention. This is very depressing when it happens to the horse that you have wagered on in a race.

Why Do Canadians Love Standardbred Horse Racing?

Before we conclude this look at standard bred horse racing in Canada, we should explore its popularity among the handicappers in the provinces. Why do bettors north of the US seem to prefer harness racing over thoroughbred racing?

Hardcore bettors will try to tell you that picking winners in harness racing is easier than it is in regular horse racing. They claim that standardbred horses run truer to form that their thoroughbred counterparts.

You can understand that this is a matter of opinion. In truth, the betting public still only identifies the favorite one out of every three times. You still have to put in the work when you are picking winners in standardbred racing.

Harness racing may also be better suited to cold temperatures. There are many nights when snow is banked on the sides of the race track. The standard bred horses don’t seem to have a problem with the cold weather, but it is really the bettor that benefits. Being able to race in cold temperatures means that there are racing opportunities year round in Canada.

Are you ready to try your luck at Canada harness racing? Sign up today with one of our recommended online horse betting sites and you will be able to watch and wager right from the comfort of home. You will even get a nice welcome bonus when you create and make a deposit to your account.

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