NOTE: Some links on this page are compensated by Amazon or other merchants. If you purchase through them, we may earn a small commission - at no extra cost to you.

Horse Racing Board Game: A Frenzy of Fun!

horses racing

If you’re looking for things to do at the lake, you can’t go wrong with the Horse Racing Board Game. This is one of our absolute favorite games to play at the lake. Actually – not only the lake! We’ve been known to travel with it.

The Horse Racing Board Game is great to play when waiting for food to grill, relaxing after a long day, or when you’re just hanging out and wanting something fun to do.

And if you’re having a Kentucky Derby party – the game is an absolute must-have!

This horse racing game is really easy to learn, and it’s fun for all ages.

This horse racing game is really easy to learn, and it’s fun for all ages.

The game moves fast and it’s strictly chance. So if you’re looking for something strategic and in-depth? Nope. This isn’t that game. The Horse Racing Board Game is light-hearted, fast, easy and fun.

Horse Racing Board Game Rules

So how does a person play this fun game? There are a few variations, but we’ll share how we play – which is also the most popular version.

Object of the Horse Racing Game

The object of each player is to have their horse reach the finish line first. Winning players of each round divide the “pot” (money or chips) collected during that round.

How Many Players Can Play the Horse Race Game?

Any number of people can play, but we’ve found four to be an ideal number: Four people can play with one deck, have lots of fun rivalry, and fit comfortably around the board.

Two CAN play, but you’ll be bored out of your minds. Three is fun to pass the time. More than four is a party!

What You’ll Need to Play

  • Game board – The “Track”
  • Game pieces – The “Horses”
  • Deck of cards – The “Bets”
  • Two dice – The “Race”
  • Small bowl – The “Pot”
  • $3.00 in change per player ($1 each in quarters/dimes/nickels) OR poker chips

Ghronior Finish Line Horse Racing Board Game

(click image to see on Amazon)

Grhonior Finish LINE Horse Racing Board Game Race Board Game is Equipped with 11 Luxury metalcraft Horses Thickened Pine Game Chessboard Including 2 Sets of dice and 2 Boxes of Cards

How to Play the Horse Racing Game

  1. Remove Jokers, Aces and Kings from the deck. The remaining cards (2 through 12) are a player’s “bets” on the horse of that same number. Jacks and Queens equal 11 and 12.
  2. Line up all horses on the starting gate.
  3. Shake both dice to determine four “scratch” horses. (These horses won’t race.)
    • To the bottom row (worth 20 cents), move the horse that matches the total on the dice. (For example, if the dice total 8, move the #8 horse to the bottom, – or 20-cent – scratch position.) Roll and do the same for the next row from the bottom (the 15-cent scratch position), then 10-cent, then 5-cent scratch.
    • When you’re done, you’ll have four horses lined up behind the starting gate, and that’s where they’ll stay throughout the round.
    • For this round, they represent the penalty when players have a card or dice roll matching that horse number.
    • NOTE: Not everyone assigns different penalties to the scratch horses. We find it’s a lot more fun and adds to the game.
  4. Deal the cards, one to each player, till all are dealt evenly. Put any remainders in the discard pile till the next round.
  5. All players review their hands.
    • For any card that matches a scratch horse, pay the corresponding amount to the pot. For example: If a player’s hand contains a 6 card, and the #6 horse is on the 15-cent pay square, the player puts 15 cents into the pot for that card.
    • Do this for all cards in the hand until all scratch cards are paid. Put the scratch cards in the discard pile.
  6. All remaining cards should match the running horses.
    • Each card is a player’s “bet” on that horse and a share of the pot if it wins. For example: If the #10 horse wins the race, anyone holding a 10 card will split the pot with any other player holding a 10 card.
  7. Player to the left of the dealer rolls the dice first. If the dice equal a scratch horse, pay the corresponding amount to the pot. If the dice equal a running horse, move that horse one square forward.
  8. The dice continue clockwise around the board, one roll per player, until a running horse reaches the finish line (the last open space on its run.)
  9. The pot is split between any players with a bet (a card) that matches the winning horse. Players with more than one matching card (example two 8’s for the #8 winning horse) collect a winning share for each card.
  10.  Players are “out” when they don’t have enough money left to complete the round.
  11. After a round is finished, a new round begins at Step 2 above.
  12. The game ends when either: 1) one player has with all the money; or 2) players decide to stop playing. In that instance, the player with the most money is the winner.

What is the Best Horse Racing Board Game?

We’ve looked around, and there are many variations on the Horse Racing Game. Our favorite is the version shown in this post.

Across the Board Horse Racing Board Game

The horse racing game by Across the Board seems to be the most popular, with almost 3,000 great reviews on Amazon. The maple board is beautiful, and for a few dollars more it’s available in walnut, too. (Hey! It would make a FANTASTIC wedding, house-warming or hostess gift!) Also, the racing holes are inserted with metal grommets, which protects the board and gives a nice, finished look.

Across the Board Horse Racing Board Game
  • Maple Veneer Gametop
  • Metal Eyelets Inserted Into Holes
  • Durable Plastic/Rubber Composite Horses
  • Handmade In St. Louis, Missouri. Approximate Dimensions Are 11″ X 21″ X 3/4″. The Board Game Weighs Nearly 5 Lbs.

FINENI Horse Racing Board Game

But the Horse Racing Board Game by FINENI is a hot contender! It doesn’t have the same number of reviews yet, but they’re good ones. Both games are about the same price (at least, as of this writing) and the same size. And the FINENI game is also beautiful. But instead of maple construction, the FINENI game is solid birch. AND… The FINENI game has metal horses. Now, that’s pretty cool!

FINENI Horse Racing Board Game
  • ELEGANT REAL METAL HORSE MINIATURES – These Luxurious Horse Metal Horse Miniatures are made with detailed finishing. Definitely Durable. Elegantly…
  • PREMIUM HORSE RACING BOARD – Specially crafted using High-quality Hard Birch/Beech Wood. 22 inch BIG & FULL Size (21.7” x 11.8” x 0.9”) Board….
  • LUXURIOUS SETS – This set consists of Colorful & Luxurious Real Metal horse miniatures and Premium horse racing board. Additionally, you can have a…
  • CLASSIC FAMILY GAME & SUPER EASY TO PLAY – Horse racing game is so famous for a long time. Roll the dice to dash towards the finish line! The dice…

If your horses run off, FINENI also sells metal replacement horses. They may or may not fit the Across the Board game (if metal horses are important to you). I suppose you could buy one horse and try it.

Horse Racing Board Game DIY

Our introduction to this game was a homemade version at our friends’ house. Melanie’s dad had spent a little time in his wood shop and come up with a pretty snazzy playing board.

DIY Horse Racing Board Game
DIY Horse Racing Board Game

Instead of the grommets in the above games, it had grooves for the horses to run in. And the finish line was angled so the center horses ran longer and the side horses ran less.

We liked the game so much, we wanted to play it at our own house. So when Tim and Melanie came to visit, we trotted out to Randy’s shop and made one of our own. (Our game is shown to the left.)

Instead of horses, we used small wooden dowels, each painted a different color, with numbered tops. We included a corner pads, too – one for dice and one for the pot.

It wasn’t as nice as Tim and Mel’s, but for a quick prototype it wasn’t too bad. And we had a fun time working in the shop together.

DIY homemade Horse Racing Board Game with storage drawer for playing cards, game horses and dice
Horse Racing Board Game DIY

And then we shared the game with our friends Ray and Della. Ray was way ahead of us; he’d already made a beautiful, lacquered Horse Racing Board Game of his own – complete with storage drawer for the dice, cards and game pieces!

Ray’s DIY horse racing board game put ours to shame. But it hasn’t stopped us from enjoying our little homespun version. Here’s what Ray’s version looks like.

What’s especially great about Ray’s board is the storage. That way, everything stays together. So when it’s time to play the game or grab it for a road trip, all the pieces are ready to go.

A Must-Have Game for Your Vacation Lifestyle

Games that involve racing horses are always popular, and the Horse Racing Board Game is no exception. The game is so fun, it’s downright addicting – trust me! It’s easy to play, and it’s a lot of fun for people of all ages.

You can buy your own game today, or you can make your own version with a few simple supplies. Get ready for some horse racing fun today!

What to Do Now

Enjoy what you’re reading? Here’s what to do next:

  • Go ahead and Pin or Share this article right now. Don’t worry, we’ll wait!
  • Leave a comment below
  • Read another blog post here
  • Subscribe to our (almost) famous newsletter:

Join the Newsletter

Subscribe to get our latest content by email.
    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Thanks for stopping by! See you next time. 🙂

    Need the Horse Racing Game Board Rules in a quick printable? We gotcha covered! Just CLICK HERE.


    1. Hi love this game. We call ours The Amazing Race. I made mine out of a leftover cotton drape. It did not cost me anything to make it. The best thing is that it very light to carry. We play for dimes. Start at 10 , 20, 30 then 40 cents for the scratched horses. I will try to send a picture.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *