Trotting is the sport of harness horse racing. Trotting focuses on the horse’s gait while pulling a small cart called a sulky. The driver guides the horse from the sulky, navigating and steering the horse’s position to win the race. The horses’ legs move in a rhythmic trot where the right front leg moves in sync with the rear left leg. Alternatively, the left front leg stays in line with the right rear leg. The main goals of the driver is maintaining these trotting gaits while gaining position in both straight line advances or passing opponents during a race.
Pacing is the other form of harness horse racing, but trotting is more popular. Standardbred horses are used for trotting and pacing races. Standardbreds have a calmer temperament, which suits the controlled trotting race form, whereas the fiery spirit of thoroughbred horses fits mounted jockey racing.
Trotting and Betting
Trotting races are most popular in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and North America. Trotting bettors need to be aware of two major factors affecting the outcome of a trotting race:
- Field position
Study the history and statistics of the drivers and horses’ ability to navigate field position. The best position a horse can be in is one behind the leader where advancing toward a win is most possible. For trotting bettors, knowing how well a driver maneuvers into winning position affects how large a wager to place.
Handicapping in a trotting race is the practice of positioning some horses further behind the starting line than others to even out the chances for a fair race where any horse can win. Betting on trotting takes into account a horse’s handicap, raising the betting risk with greater odds, but paying out a higher amount if a handicapped horse is the race winner.
Betting on Trotting Races
Betting on trotting races online combines standard live track bets to make the online trotting bets more clear. The trotting bets include:
- Win: A single wager that wins if your horse finishes first. Bettors frequently place more than one win bet per race to increase chances of winning.
- Place: A single bet on one horse placing, or finishing first, second or third.
- Exacta or Perfecta: A single wager on two horses naming their exact order of finish.
- Trifecta: Wager on the first three horses finishing in an exact order.
- Quinella: Like the exacta/perfecta, a bet on which two horses will finish first and second, but without naming the exact order of the finish.
Trotting betting can be found online at several major sportsbooks. Trotting is listed under Trotting or Other Sports but is separate from Horse Racing.