A sport that seemed to be on a slow and steady death march, it appears that there is a bit of a revival underway in Texas horse racing. A 2019 decision by the Texas state government to rebate a portion of state sales tax on equine products such as feed and tack to the horse racing industry has so far generated $25 million that’s been split evenly between thoroughbred and quarter horse racing.
It’s much better news for the sport than what was being recorded prior to this decision. In 2003, the total handle on Texas horse racing reached an all-time high of $1.05 billion. By 2019, it had plummeted to $233, an 80 percent dropoff.
Today, there are four tracks offering live racing in Texas. Sam Houston Race Park, Lone Star Park and the Gillespie County Fair all offer a mix of thoroughbred and quarter horse racing. Retama Park goes entirely with quarter horse racing.
Texas Horse Betting Sites And Mobile Apps
Up until 2011, all forms of advance deposit racing were operating unregulated within the state of Texas. That was the year in which the state government opted to rule them illegal, banning ADW from the state
Popular Online Horse Bet Types & Races
Texas horseplayers can make straight wagers on win (horse must finish first), place (horse must finish first or second) and show (horse must finish first, second or third).
Exotic wagers include the exacta (pick the 1-2 finishers in a race in order), trifecta (pick the 1-2-3 finishers in a race in order), and superfecta (pick the 1-2-3-4 finishers in a race
Multiple wagers start with the daily double, picking the winners of success races. The Pick 3, Pick 4 and Pick 6 take this concept a step further, with the Pick Six, If no one hits all six, the jackpot grows each day. The payoffs can be huge.
Texas Horse Racing Betting Legal Overview
The sport of horse racing is a bit of an anomaly in Texas. While live racing is showing a revival, state lawmakers continue to be resistant to the idea of bumping up the wagering on horse racing by allowing the legalization of off-track betting and advance deposit wagering in the Lone Star State.
Horse racing was a flourishing sport in Texas throughout the 19th century. However, in 1905, the Texas state government banned all forms of gambling, including horse racing. Desperate for revenue during the depression, pari-mutuel wagering was legalized in 1933. However, it was again banned in 1937.
It stayed that way for a half century. Finally, pari-mutuel wagering was again legalized in Texas in 1987. During the 1990s, Sam Houston Race Park in Houston, Retama Park in Selma ,and Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie all opened for business.
Major Horse Betting Events That You Can Bet On In Texas
As part of its Houston Festival of Racing, Sam Houston Race Park offers the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic, a Grade III stakes for fillies and mares four and older, the $200,000 John B. Connally Turf , a Grade IIII event for four year olds and up. There’s also the $200,000 Bob Bork Texas Turf Mile for three year olds and the $100,000 Pulse Power Turf Sprint for four year olds and up. The Texas Day of Champions features seven stakes races, each with a purse of $100,000.
Lone Star Park offers several quarter horse stakes events. The Texas Classic Futurity, a Grade I stakes race for two-year-olds with an estimated purse of $1 million. There’s also the Dash for Cash Futurity, a Grade II stake for two-year-olds with a $400,000 purse. As well, there’s the $200,000 Dash For Cash Derby for three year olds, the $400,000 Grade I Texas Classic Derby for three year olds and the $200,000 Grade I Refrigerator Invitational Championship for three year olds.
The Retama ParkDerby for three-year-old quarter horses offers a $100,000 added purse.
Gillespie County Fair: 530 Fair Dr, Fredericksburg, TX 78624. Offering live thoroughbred and quarter horse racing from July-August.
Lone Star Park: 1000 Lone Star Parkway, Grand Prairie, TX 75050. Offering live thoroughbred racing from April-July and live quarter horse racing from September-December.
Retama Park: 1 Retama Pkwy, Selma, TX 78154. Offering live quarter horse racing from June-August.
Sam Houston Race Park: 7575 North Sam Houston Pkwy W, Houston, Texas 77064. Offering live thoroughbred racing from January-April and live quarter horse racing from April-June.
Texas Online Horse Betting FAQs
Retama Park offers bettors at its track the chance to wager on their races via mobile device by signing up for Mbet. The mobile app allows wagering on Retama Park’s live product, but players must be physically at Retama Park to access this service. Lone Star Park, Gillespie County Fair, and Sam Houston Race Park offer year-round simulcasting from tracks spanning the globe.
Online wagering on horses is prohibited in the Lone Star State. Live racing and off-track betting have a minimum Texas gambling age of 21 years old.
Texas does not allow online horse wagering. But you can bet on horse racing at Texas Racetracks in person.