Rhode Island Race Tracks: Where to Bet on Horse Races in RI

Learn about Rhode Island's race tracks and legal horse race betting options

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Rhode Island, often known as the “Ocean State,” has a rich tradition in the regulated gambling industry, especially when it comes to track-based betting. Rhode Island horse racing has always been a popular draw, with the state granting licenses for such events. 

This ensures that both residents and visitors can indulge in pari-mutuel betting at Rhode Island race tracks. The essence of pari-mutuel wagering is that bettors are essentially competing against one another, not the house.

In addition to horse racing, Rhode Island also permits licensed dog racing in specific cities, providing another avenue for those interested in track-based wagering. 

Most Popular Rhode Island Horse Race Tracks

Rhode Island once boasted notable racetracks such as Narragansett Park and Lincoln Downs. Yet, as these tracks have ceased operations, those in the Ocean State who harbor a penchant for horse racing have to cast their sights northward to neighboring Massachusetts. 

Let’s take a closer look at what Plainridge Park, the only race track in Massachusetts, has to offer:

Plainridge Park

Address: 301 Washington St, Plainville, MA 02762, USA
Phone: +1 508-576-4500

Located within the acclaimed Plainridge Park Casino, the Plainridge Park race track stands as a beacon for horse racing enthusiasts. This renowned track offers a calendar packed with marquee events. 

Among these races, the Bert Beckwith Memorial captures attention yearly. The Stan Bergstein Pace, named in honor of the former president of the Massachusetts Harness Horsemen’s Association, opens its gates to sophomore pacers and boasts a $50,000 purse each September. 

The community of racers and fans also marks their calendars for the $25,000 Guy Smith Memorial Series Final in October, a tribute to the late owner and trainer Guy Smith. As the year winds down, the $20,000 New England Classic in November celebrates the New England harness racing community.

Bettors at Plainridge Park have an array of wagering options to enhance their racing experience. The most common bet types available include Win, Place, and Show, alongside more advanced wagers like Exacta, Trifecta, and Superfecta.

Beyond the live harness racing, which spans from April to November, the track ensures bettors are equipped with detailed daily racing programs. For a more relaxed viewing experience, the Dark Horse Bar promises an unparalleled view of the action complemented by a selection of beverages. 

Plainridge Park horse racing

Culinary delights await at various venues, such as Slack’s Oyster House & Grill, while the outdoor race-side patio introduces guests to the Home Stretch Food Truck, famed for its locally sourced tacos wrapped in handcrafted tortillas.

Outside the realm of racing, Plainridge Park offers an array of entertainment. The casino regularly features promotions, and the dining options cater to a variety of tastes, ensuring a comprehensive experience for visitors.

List of All Rhode Island Race Tracks

Despite its past involvement in racetrack betting, Rhode Island currently does not host any active horse race tracks. This absence underscores the dynamic nature of US gambling laws that differ considerably by state. 

Simulcast Wagering in Rhode Island

Even though Rhode Island doesn’t host its own active horse racing tracks, the state fully embraces the excitement of simulcast wagering. This allows fans of Rhode Island horse racing to indulge in pari-mutuel wagering on both thoroughbred and quarter horse racing events from renowned tracks nationwide. 
Despite the absence of physical Rhode Island race tracks, this method ensures that the rich tradition of racing in the state is celebrated.


For those keen on this immersive experience, here’s a table listing the primary locations for simulcast wagering in Rhode Island:

Bally’s Tiverton777 Tiverton Casino Blvd, Tiverton, RI 02878, USA
Twin River Casino Hotel100 Twin River Rd, Lincoln, RI 02865, USA

Furthermore, many offshore online sportsbooks provide an array of betting options not always found at local land-based venues. These offshore platforms are known to be safe and reliable, ensuring a seamless betting experience for enthusiasts.

Popular Horse Races in Rhode Island with Dates

While Rhode Island might not host its own renowned live racing events, the spirit of Rhode Island racing enthusiasts isn’t dampened. Instead, many look towards the neighboring Massachusetts, which boasts an event that captures the attention of equestrian aficionados far and wide. 
The Massachusetts Sire Stakes (MSS) Championship, held at the picturesque Plainridge Park Racecourse in Plainville, stands as the pinnacle of harness racing in the region. Open exclusively to 3-year-old pacers and trotters, this race has a unique eligibility criterion: only those horses sired by stallions licensed to the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders Association can compete. 

Horse race history

Every October, as the anticipation for live racing builds, the race unfolds, offering not just prestige but a generous purse of $500,000. Drawing some of the nation’s finest harness racing horses, the MSS Championship is a thrilling spectacle that promises intense competition and great excitement for fans and bettors alike.

Here is a list of the most popular horse races in Massachusetts:

Horse Race NameRacing Dates
Bert Beckwith MemorialYearly
Stan Bergstein PaceSeptember
Guy Smith Memorial Series FinalOctober
New England ClassicNovember

Types of Horse Betting Legal in Rhode Island

Rhode Island may not have the live racing heritage like some of its neighboring states, but when it comes to horse betting, it ensures fans aren’t left wanting. Delving deeper into the Ocean State’s offering, here’s a closer look at the common betting types available:

Pari-Mutuel Betting

A cornerstone in horse racing, pari-mutuel betting is where bettors compete against one another instead of the house.

The total wagers for a particular outcome (say, a horse to win) are pooled together. After the venue takes its share, the remainder is divided among the winning bettors.

Win, Place, and Show Bets

These are the bread and butter of horse race wagering. A ‘win’ bet is your pick for the horse that’ll finish first. A “place” bet backs a horse to finish either first or second. And a “show” bet supports a horse to wrap up within the top three.

Exotic Bets

These bets are for those with a taste for higher stakes and bigger rewards. Prominent exotic wagers encompass the Exacta (choosing first and second finishers in order), Trifecta (pinpointing the top three in sequence), and Superfecta (identifying the leading four horses in exact order).

Daily Double

A tactical bet that necessitates selecting winners of two back-to-back races. The catch is to not only spot one victor but to correctly predict the subsequent race’s winner too.

Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, and Pick 6 Wagers

Sequential multi-race challenges tasking bettors with:

  • Pick 3: Foresee winners of three consecutive races.
  • Pick 4: Designate victors in four successive races.
  • Pick 5: Deduce champions in five subsequent races.
  • Pick 6: A true testament to one’s prowess, picking winners in six straight races.

The allure of these wagers intensifies with each race, mirrored by the potential windfall. Especially the likes of Pick 6 can lead to hefty payouts when unexpected outcomes shake the ground.

Thoroughbred Betting

Thoroughbred races, typically observed during live racing events, command widespread attention and wagering. These races showcase the best of the horse racing world, promising thrilling action.

Quarter Horse Racing

Distinct from the long-haul races of Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses are all about speed over shorter distances, usually a quarter of a mile. These rapid-fire races promise a pulse-racing betting experience.

Quarter Horse Racing Ballys

For those inclined towards a broader spectrum of betting possibilities, the safest online sportsbooks provide expansive wagering options not just within Rhode Island, but worldwide. These platforms enhance the betting realm with their diverse offerings and promotions.

Other Types of Gambling in Rhode Island

Rhode Island boasts a diverse range of gambling options, extending beyond just horse racing. The state showcases a blend of casinos, sportsbooks, and other wagering opportunities, creating a rich gambling tapestry.

Down below we present the vast array of betting opportunities Rhode Island presents to both its residents and visitors.

History of Rhode Island Race Tracks

Rhode Island horse racing has a storied past, rooted in the very fabric of the state’s history. While it might not boast the same expansive lineage as some other states, its contribution to the American racing scene remains undeniable.

In the early 20th century, as horse racing started gaining immense popularity across the United States, Rhode Island race tracks began to emerge, adding a unique flavor to the industry. Narragansett Park, in particular, stands out as one of the state’s most iconic Rhode Island race tracks. 

Narragansett Park

Established in 1934, this track quickly became the epicenter of Rhode Island horse racing. The races hosted here were not just events but were grand spectacles attended by the elite and common folk alike.

However, as the years passed, the allure of Rhode Island horse racing began to wane. Many factors, from changing entertainment preferences to economic challenges, led to a gradual decline. Several Rhode Island race tracks, which once echoed with the thunder of hooves and cheering crowds, started to face closure or repurposing.

Today, while live racing might not be as prevalent, the legacy of Rhode Island race tracks and Rhode Island horse racing still lingers. The stories, traditions, and memories embedded in these tracks continue to resonate with many, ensuring that the state’s equestrian history is never forgotten.

Rhode Island Gambling FAQ

Is Rhode Island horse racing legal?

Yes, horse racing is legal in Rhode Island. The state once had two horse racing tracks, Narragansett Park and Lincoln Downs.

Can I bet on horse races in other states?

Yes, you can bet on horse races in other states when you’re in Rhode Island. Rhode Island law allows residents to bet on horse races at licensed racetracks and casinos within the state, as well as online through licensed sportsbooks.

What’s the largest race track in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island doesn’t have its own major race track. Instead, nearby Massachusetts is home to the significant Plainridge Park in Plainville, a top choice for racing enthusiasts in the region.

Can I bet on horse races online in Rhode Island?

Yes, you can bet on horse races online in Rhode Island. In 2018, Rhode Island legalized online sports betting in 2020, and horse racing is one of the sports that you can bet on.

How can I bet on Rhode Island horse racing events?

In Rhode Island, you have the option to wager on horse races at racetracks, OTB locations, or via online betting platforms. These avenues provide a variety of betting opportunities, encompassing both local and national live races.

What’s the minimum age to bet on horses in Rhode Island?

The minimum age to bet on horses in Rhode Island is 18. This applies to both in-person and online betting.

What help does the state of Rhode Island offer to gambling addicts?

The Rhode Island Council on Problem Gambling is a non-profit entity dedicated to offering education, prevention, and treatment services for those struggling with gambling addiction. Their website is filled with valuable insights about gambling addiction. Always remember to gamble responsibly.

How has Rhode Island responded to the repeal of PASPA in terms of sports betting legalization?

Rhode Island was one of the first states to respond to the repeal of PASPA in terms of sports betting legalization. In June 2018, Governor Gina Raimondo signed a bill into law that legalized sports betting in the state. The law allowed sports betting to take place at licensed casinos and racetracks, as well as online.

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