How to get into horse racing in Ohio


Welcome to the captivating world of horse racing in Ohio, where the air crackles with excitement and the thundering hooves of majestic steeds enchant spectators.

Ohio has a rich history of horse racing and is home to several prominent racecourses, breeding programs, and training facilities. Here, we will guide you through the essential steps to immerse yourself in the exhilarating world of horse racing. By the time you finish reading, you’ll be galloping toward an unforgettable experience.

Choosing the Right Track for Your Racing Passion

The Ohio sports betting and racing scene is diverse, offering a range of racecourses that cater to different interests and budgets. Depending on your preferences, you can choose from Thoroughbred, Standardbred, or Quarter Horse racing events. Let’s take a closer look at some of the state’s most prestigious tracks.

Belterra Park Gaming & Entertainment Center

Situated in Cincinnati, Belterra Park is a premier entertainment destination that offers both Thoroughbred racing and gaming. With live racing events running from April to October, the track provides a thrilling experience for racing enthusiasts.

Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs

Located in Columbus, Scioto Downs is a top-notch Standardbred racecourse and gaming facility. Boasting a long history dating back to 1959, Scioto Downs features live harness racing from May to September.

Mahoning Valley Race Course

Nestled in Austintown, Mahoning Valley Race Course is a Thoroughbred racing gem. This relatively new track, which opened in 2014, hosts live racing events from late October to late April, allowing fans to enjoy the sport during the cooler months.

Northfield Park

Just outside of Cleveland, Northfield Park is a legendary Standardbred racetrack that has been a staple of the Ohio racing scene since 1957. This popular venue offers year-round live harness racing, ensuring non-stop excitement for fans.

Brushing Up on the Fundamentals of Horse Racing

To fully appreciate the excitement of horse racing, it’s essential to understand the basics of the sport. Familiarize yourself with the types of races, the different breeds of horses, and the wagering options available. This knowledge will enhance your experience and allow you to better engage with other racing enthusiasts.

Types of Races

Ohio’s racecourses feature a mix of Thoroughbred, Standardbred, and Quarter Horse races. Thoroughbred racing is the most popular and prestigious type, featuring horses that excel in speed and stamina. Standardbred racing, also known as harness racing, involves horses pulling a driver in a two-wheeled cart called a sulky. Lastly, Quarter Horse racing showcases the fastest horses in short-distance sprints.

Wagering Options

Horse racing offers a variety of wagering opportunities for fans to engage with the sport. There are two main types of bets: straight wagers and exotic wagers. Straight wagers are simple bets on a single horse, such as win, place, or show.

Exotic wagers, on the other hand, involve betting on multiple horses in various combinations, like exactas, trifectas, and superfectas. Start with straight wagers to get comfortable before exploring exotic bets.

Connecting with the Ohio Racing Community

One of the most enjoyable aspects of horse racing is the sense of camaraderie among fans. Engaging with the Ohio racing community can deepen your appreciation of the sport and open up new opportunities to learn and grow as a racing enthusiast.

Social Media and Online Forums

Follow your favorite racecourses and industry influencers on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay updated on news, events, and promotions. You can also join online forums and discussion groups to share your thoughts, insights, and experiences with fellow horse racing enthusiasts.

Networking at the Racetrack

Attending live races is a fantastic way to meet other racing fans and make lasting connections. Strike up conversations with fellow spectators, as well as trainers, jockeys, and track staff. Building these relationships can lead to opportunities to learn more about the sport and gain insider knowledge on the local racing scene.

Racing Clubs and Organizations

Joining a racing club or organization can provide a more structured and immersive way to engage with the Ohio horse racing community. Many clubs offer members exclusive benefits, such as access to behind-the-scenes events, educational seminars, and social gatherings. Ohio Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners, Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association, and the Ohio Quarter Horse Association are just a few organizations to consider.

Learning from the Experts

To further deepen your understanding of horse racing, consider seeking out expert guidance. Attend seminars, workshops, and conferences on topics such as handicapping, breeding, training, and racing history. These events can provide valuable insights and offer a chance to learn from industry professionals.

Additionally, consider subscribing to horse racing magazines and newsletters, such as BloodHorse, Thoroughbred Daily News, and Harness Racing Update. These publications provide in-depth coverage of the industry, keeping you informed on the latest news, trends, and insights.

Embracing the Racing Lifestyle

As you become more immersed in Ohio’s horse racing scene, you may find yourself wanting to take your passion to the next level. Consider exploring ownership opportunities, such as purchasing a racehorse or investing in a racing partnership. This can be a thrilling and rewarding way to participate in the sport and become an integral part of the racing community.


Your journey into the exhilarating world of Ohio horse racing has only just begun. By choosing the right track, learning the fundamentals, connecting with the racing community, and embracing the racing lifestyle, you’ll soon find yourself swept up in the excitement and passion that this magnificent sport has to offer. So, don your finest hat, grab your racing form, and get ready to embark on a thrilling adventure that will leave you breathless with anticipation. The finish line is just around the bend, and the heart-pounding excitement of Ohio horse racing awaits you.

Follow us on Twitter racing365dotcom and like our Facebook page.

Race Cards