How to Read Racing Cards

Written by laura hageman
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Race cards are used most commonly for horse races, but they are also used for racing greyhound dogs. These cards offer detailed information about each runner in order for a person to place a bet on who they think will win the race. These cards differ a little, but for the most part they offer the same kind of information such as what place the runner placed in during their last race and the distance of the race. Learning how to read the race cards is easy and once you understand what the numbers represent, then you can determine which runner is really the best to place a bet on. In the steps below the horse race cards are explained.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Read the upper part of the race card. Begin to read the information from left to right hand corner. On the left, it will show the time of the race. In the middle, there will be the name of the race and in the right hand corner, there will be the distance of the race. This information is important when placing your bet on a betting slip.

  2. 2

    Look below the time of the race. This will be the place the horse came in during their last race. You will want to look for a low number in order to place your bet on that particular horse. Most horses that have a high number, such as 6 or a 7, will have a higher chance of not winning the current race against a horse that placed first or second previously.

  3. 3

    Continue to read below the recent placing of the horse. Another number will appear--that is the horse's number. The number will be on the horse and will be where they stand in the line before the race as well. There are typically 20 to 30 horses racing.

  4. 4

    Look towards the right side of the horse's number. There will be the horse's name in bold letters. Below the horse's name is the trainer's name which is in smaller letters. The jockey's name will be listed right next to the trainer's name. This is sometimes more important to look at when placing a bet. The jockeys that are well known for winning a race will tend to ride horses that will win races.

  5. 5

    Notice the colours on the right side of the horse's information. The colours of what the jockeys will be wearing and the horse will be shown on the right side under the column of the distance of the race. This is used to help recognise the horse and jockey during the race.

Tips and warnings

  • When placing bets, always be sure to include the time of race and distance along with the horse you select to win the race.

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