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Horse race tracks in Ohio

Ohio horse racing has a storied history dating back to 1850. Here, we’ll take a look at the active horse race tracks in Ohio, along with how to place wagers there, what to keep in mind when betting, and more

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Horse racing in Ohio dates back to 1850 when the first harness races were held at the (now defunct) Cleveland Jockey Club. While the racing landscape has shifted dramatically since then (including to allow betting at the tracks), the love of watching races remains throughout the Buckeye State.

Here, we’ve laid out the horse race tracks in Ohio where you can take in races and make your wagers. We’ll also offer some tips to get started with placing a bet and hopefully turn your viewing experience into a profitable day at the tracks!

Horse race tracks in Ohio


The Ohio Horse Racing Commission has issued licenses to seven horse race tracks in Ohio, though you may also find tracks at various county fairs that offer pari-mutuel wagering through an approved teller. Here are the raceways which host thoroughbred and harness races throughout the racing season.

Ohio Race Track

Address

Belterra Park

6301 Kellogg Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45230

Hollywood Dayton Raceway

777 Hollywood Boulevard Dayton, Ohio 45414

JACK Thistledown

21501 Emery Road North Randall, Ohio 44128

Mahoning Valley Race Course

655 N. Canfield Niles Rd. Youngstown, Ohio 44515

Miami Valley Raceway

6000 SR 63, Lebanon, Ohio 45036

Northfield Park

10705 Northfield Road, Northfield, Ohio 44067

Scioto Downs

600 S High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43207

Yes, betting at horse race tracks in Ohio is legal, provided you are at least 18 years old. This age minimum for Ohio horse race betting is younger than the 21+ requirement to participate in sports betting.

How can I place a bet at an Ohio race track?

Placing a bet at an Ohio race track is easy to do, and with the right preparations, it can hopefully turn into a profitable endeavor as well. Here’s how to get started.

  1. Decide on a track: Beyond the seven on-track betting sites, there are also many places that offer off-track betting with simulcast races. If it isn’t convenient for you to make it to the tracks listed above, an OTB location in your area may be an option as well.
  2. Do your research: The best way to set yourself up for success at the race tracks is to study as much about the horses, jockeys, trainers, track conditions, weather patterns, lineages, and betting line movements as possible. While it may take some digging to find relevant information, the more knowledge you can glean before arriving at the track, the better.
  3. Find favorable lines to play: Once you’ve done your research, make a plan for the types of lines you want to play as well as the amounts you wish to wager. Sticking to your plan is important, too, as it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of race day and make haughty wagers if you aren’t careful.
  4. Place your bets: At the track, you’ll need to relay your wager to the teller at the betting window or place your bets at a self-service kiosk. Keep in mind with pari-mutuel wagering that the odds will change depending on the number of wagers placed, so your payout amount won’t be determined until betting closes.
  5. Collect your winnings: If you’ve got a winning wager, congratulations! Go claim your payout at the betting window!

Helpful advice when betting at a horse race track in Ohio

We asked our horse race experts for their most helpful advice when betting at a race track in Ohio. Here’s how they responded and the rationale behind their wisdom.

  • Follow trainers even more than jockeys: Looking at the track record of horse trainers, including what horses they typically train, how many wins and top-three finishes they’ve managed relative to the number of horses entered, and the consistency of performances can all help you to pick winning racers more often.
  • Track conditions are crucial: Knowing how well a horse performs on hard or soft tracks, in the rain, in the mud, or when dealing with temperature extremes can help give you a leg up while doing your research. Track distances are key as well, as some horses may not have the experience of a longer course and could trail off at the end of the race.
  • Know how to find value in fixed odds and pari-mutuel wagering: Fixed odds wagering confirms the amount you’ll win at the time you place the wager while pari-mutuel wagering payouts are dependent on the number of wagers made from the entire field. Finding betting value in both betting markets will help make the most of your bankroll.
  • Balance favorites with longshots: On average, horses that open as the favorite win roughly 30-35% of the time while the second-favorite horse wins around 18-21%. That means somewhere between 44-52% of the time, the winner will be a horse outside the projected top two. Within reason, being able to balance betting favorites against horses with longer odds on your betting slip will help increase your chances of winning while also upping the size of the payout.
  • Gamble responsibly and know when to walk: It may seem like basic advice, but unfortunately, gambling addiction is a serious condition that can cause a multitude of problems for those suffering from addiction as well as their family and friends. If you are at a higher risk of developing a gambling problem, it’s far better to stay away than to attempt to “tough it out” and play anyway. Even if you aren’t engaging in problematic betting behaviors, it is always better to walk away than to chase losses and let your debts snowball.

FAQ

Are there any horse race tracks near Cleveland?

Yes, there are horse race tracks near Cleveland. The closest is JACK Thistledown Racino, which is roughly 15 miles from downtown Cleveland. Northfield Park is also roughly a half-hour drive away.

Which is the newest horse race track in Ohio?

The newest horse race track in Ohio is somewhat up for interpretation; the Mahoning Valley Race Course opened on September 17, 2014, though it did so on the grounds of the Beulah Park track which had opened in 1923. The newest course that wasn’t built to replace a prior track is Northfield Park which opened on December 18, 2023.

Which OH horse race track is the most popular?

By betting handle, Northfield Park is the most popular OH horse race track. In 2022, the venue saw a total handle of more than $33 million, with $7.5 million coming from live racing wagers and $25.6 million in simulcast betting handle.

Can I bet on sports at Ohio horse race tracks?

Yes, you can bet on sports at Ohio horse race tracks. While the sportsbook typically operates in a different building, you can find a retail sportsbook at each of Ohio’s on-track betting venues.

Is there an age restriction for entry into Ohio horse race tracks?

No, there is not an age restriction for entry into Ohio horse race tracks. However, you will need to be at least 18 years of age to place a wager and collect any winnings. If you’re planning to make bets, you should have a photo ID on your person before going to the betting window or self-service kiosk.

Are there any membership or VIP programs at Ohio race tracks?

Yes, some Ohio horse race tracks will offer membership and VIP programs for returning bettors. These programs typically run in partnership with the betting operator that manages the racebook. For example, MGM manages Northfield Park, so horse race bettors there can participate in MGM Rewards.