March 8, 2023

Horse racing is, in many ways, the quintessential sports betting event. As one of the oldest and best established forms of athletic competition, it’s no surprise that it combines well with betting, one of the world’s favorite pastimes.

The Kentucky Derby first ran in 1875. American football and baseball were in their infancy, the first ice hockey game took place that same year, and James Naismith wouldn’t invent basketball for nearly two more decades.  With that storied history—and the popularity of betting on the horses—the culture of racing occupies a specific niche in the American psyche.

Horse racing and sports betting go hand in hand like the Kentucky Derby pairs with mint juleps: it’s nearly impossible to think of one without being reminded of the other.

A niche like no other

Even when the United States government cracked down on sports betting with the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, and again (especially as it pertained to online wagering) with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, horse racing managed to skirt the bans.

Per horse racing website Pass the Wire, “Horse racing was exempted when the federal government enacted the anti-gambling act in 2006. The law prohibited people from placing bets on a sports game. Today, betting on horse races is legal in most states, although each state has its regulations.” That’s largely because the athletes competing are horses, not humans (with all due respect to the talent it takes for a jockey to cut weight prior to and maneuver their charge during a race).

What to do in the offseason? Turn to the southern hemisphere

Outside of isolated events here and there, the North American horse racing circuit won’t begin in earnest until later in the spring. That’s a good thing for sports bettors here in Massachusetts, as mobile betting won’t go online in the Bay State until March 10. If you’re looking to bet on horse racing this year, make sure to make use of promo codes on Massachusetts, to give yourself the best chance at winning big.

Just because there isn’t much horse racing going on in the United States right now, though, doesn’t mean that the market is entirely devoid of content. The racing season runs from spring through fall, generally speaking, so events in the Southern Hemisphere still have a few weeks to go. That way, devoted racing fans—and aspiring bettors—still have races to tide them over throughout the year before the American circuit begins in earnest.

The Season So Far: What’s New In Australian Racing

Melbourne’s Autumn Racing Carnival continues on Saturday, March 4 with the Australian Guineas Day race at Flemington Racecourse. The series has seen some dramatic upsets so far, none more shocking than the Black Caviar Lightning, also known as the Lightning Stakes.

Originally titled as the Lightning Stakes, the race was renamed after Black Caviar, one of the best sprinters the Land Down Under has ever seen, in 2013.

This year, the Lightning Stakes had a finish worthy of the prize winning mare.Nature Strip, an eight year old gelding, entered the field as the overwhelming favorite: listed at 19/20 per fractional odds, he had better than a 50 percent chance of claiming the victory. With seven Group 1 wins, he’s been one of the dominant sprinters of the last half decade, and this race looked to be more of the same.

Nature Strip raced out to an early lead, holding it for the vast majority of the 1000 meter track. He lost steam with 100 meters to go, however, allowing Coolangatta to sneak in and swipe victory from the jaws of defeat. The upset shook up the field, with most of the money on Nature Strip.

Jamie Kah, the world’s top ranked female jockey, piloted Coolangatta to victory in the ninth Group 1 victory of her illustrious career. Kah, who weighs in at 55 kilograms, will be back at it again in the Australian Guineas Day, this time with two year old filly Illative.

Another underrated aspect of keeping tabs on horse racing in Australia is that it’ll give intuitive bettors a look at up and coming stars.

It’s like following an underrated college player who turns into a surprisingly good professional: who doesn’t like being able to tell their friends that they saw Tom Brady before he got famous?

Following the Black Caviar Lightning, trainer David Eustace told the Sydney Morning Herald that Coolangatta’s owners would look to bump up to more prestigious races like the United Kingdom’s Royal Ascot now that the filly has an established track record of success.

Photo: Ernie Belmonte, Past the Wire

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