Horse racing has a long and rich history in New Hampshire.
It began in 1906 when the Rockingham Park racetrack opened. Legendary horses, including Seabiscuit, raced there.
Unfortunately, Rocking Park closed in 2016, making way for a shopping mall. With no greyhound tracks or off-track betting (OTB) offices, opportunities for live betting in the Granite State have disappeared.
The good news is that you can still place bets at racetracks from around the world via your computer or mobile phone.
Online betting sites are legal in New Hampshire and provide access to a vast range of races.
Also, there is a live racetrack within reach. Saratoga Springs, NY, hosts thoroughbred and harness racing and offers simulcast betting.
You can also bet via simulcast at Surrey Park, near Boston, though live racing no longer takes place there.
This page takes you through the lively history of horse racing in New Hampshire. You’ll find out more about how to bet online and the out-of-state racetracks which are close to state lines.
A federal carve-out to the 2006 internet gambling laws means that betting on horse races is available online. It is possible in any state where the statutes would allow live horse racing wagers.
In New Hampshire, betting on horses is legal, even though there isn’t anywhere to place your bets physically.
Three sites dominate online horse race betting: TVG, BetAmerica and TwinSpires allow you to access the pari-mutuel pools at the racetracks.
Pooled betting (pari-mutuel betting) differs from sports betting.
Instead of betting on lines, you contribute to a pool of money that is split among the winners.
For example, if you bet the win, the stake of every win bet on every horse goes into a pool. If you win, then your return is a share of this pool with all the other bettors who chose the winner.
Win bets are the most popular, although just one of many ways to wager on horse races. You can bet the show or place for individual horses.
You can bet the finishing order of between two and four horses, or “box” your bet for any order finishes. You can also bet on the outcome of several races via pick 5/6 bets.
You can choose from three main betting sites to access the pari-mutuel pools, watch the races on embedded video and view past performance data.
While the type of bet you can place is the same, each of the sites has a distinctive style, and the bonuses, plus extras, they offer will vary widely.
Below is an overview of what to expect at these horse betting sites:
If you are going to have only one racetrack within easy reach, then Saratoga Springs would be on your shortlist.
This track is one of the oldest racecourses in the country and plays host to many of the biggest equine talents via their thoroughbred racing schedule.
Saratoga is situated just north of Albany, in New York. The track there has a history going back to 1863. In those days, there were only four days of racing per year. It has gradually expanded to include 40 racing days spanning mid-July through September. Races include both thoroughbred and harness events.
While many other courses have opened and closed, Saratoga has been notable for its consistency, with only a handful of years missed in its 156-year history.
The list of horses that have run at Saratoga reads like a who’s who of the equine world.
They include Secretariat, American Pharoah and Gallant Fox. Big races taking place at this track include the Travers Stakes, Alabama Stakes and Whitney Handicap.
Saratoga has three tracks, a 50,000-capacity grandstand and hosts steeplechase races as part of their schedule. This track briefly appeared in the James Bond movie Diamonds are Forever.
Only one other venue allows betting close to New Hampshire: Suffolk Downs, close to Boston.
Although live betting at this venue ended in 2019, you can still bet via simulcast from the site. You can watch live races from across the country while you bet via the pari-mutuel pools.
New England was home to several successful racecourses, which included Rockingham Park in NH, Suffolk Downs in MA, and Narragansett Park in Rhode Island.
Unfortunately, the last of these (Suffolk Park, near Boston) closed for the last time in 2019. The site will become a housing and retail development.
Rockingham Park got off to an unlikely start. Its debut meeting was in 1906. While it drew huge crowds from inside and outside the state, there was a significant omission: betting.
At that time, all forms of betting were illegal in New Hampshire. Despite the crowds, there would be no followup meeting for many years.
The Great Depression triggered gambling laws in many states. Increased need for tax revenues and a softening of the Prohibition Era politics led to regulating pari-mutuel betting throughout New England.
Rockingham Park reopened in 1933, once again attracting huge crowds and reaped many successful years of thoroughbred racing.
One of the best racehorses of the century, Seabiscuit, raced at Rockingham Park in 1935 and 1936.
This was not the end of the ups and downs for this New Hampshire racetrack. By the 1970s, interest in the events was on the decline. Furthermore, the grandstand was destroyed in a fire in 1980.
There were efforts to revitalize the track, but interest steadily declined.
The last race took place in 2007.
All that remains of what was once called “the Finest Little Racecourse” is a giant shopping mall. This closure left Suffolk Downs, near Boston, as the last remaining New England racetrack.
That too closed in 2019. You can still bet via simulcast from the Suffolk Downs site.
Despite having a colorful history, there aren’t any live horse races anywhere in NH.
There are two ways you can place bets on horses these days. The first is to travel. The infamous Saratoga Springs track is nearby, and you can bet via simulcast at the former site of Suffolk Downs.
The other way to bet is to go online. Three major horse racing betting sites welcome bettors from New Hampshire. They feature the ability to wager from tracks across the country (and selected international fixtures).
You can watch the races, check databases for the latest form, and enjoy bonuses and promotions to keep your bankroll topped up. While these can’t make up for the lack of live racing in the Granite State, they do offer horse racing fans a lot of opportunities to place bets.