WAGERING INFORMATION


How to Wager on Horse Racing

Conventional wisdom holds that a fan will do OK at the racetrack if he or she grabs a tip sheet or a local newspaper and follows the picks of the pros. That may or may not be so, but it is not nearly as much fun as making your own selections and trying to outsmart everyone else at the track. This is the essence of pari-mutuel wagering: each bettor is wagering against all the others making the same type of bet.

Pari-mutuel means that bets by race fans go into a common pool, which is then distributed to the winning ticket-holders after the track’s takeout for the race’s purse, taxes, and track profits, is subtracted. The more fans holding a winning ticket, the less the pay-out will be. This spawned the term “favorite”, which is used to describe the horse that has taken the most money. However, favorites win only about 30 percent of the time. It makes sense for the bettor to study the program with the day’s racing information before making a pick.

Picking winners at the track is one of the most fun and exciting forms of entertainment around, as long as you bet with your head. Those who want to minimize betting risk should stick to less aggressive bets. Those looking to “hit the big one” usually opt for the exotic wagers, such as a trifecta or a pick three. All bets can be fun and profitable if managed correctly. Like playing the stock market, the key words are money management, performance, and value. Use the section below to aid your understanding of betting terminology and rules.

And remember; never bet more than you can stand to lose.

“Straight” wagering:
The minimum straight win, place or show wager is $2. The final winning prices are all based on a $2 wager. For example, if you bet $10 to win, and the win price was $5.00, you would collect a total of $25. The math works like this: [$10(amount bet) multiplied by $5.00(winning payoff) divided by $2(minimum bet denomination) = $25.00].

Win – Your horse must come in first. (On average 30% of favorites win.)

Place – Your horse must come in first or second. (On average 45% of favorites win or place.)

Show – Your horse comes in first, second, or third. (On average 65% of favorites win, place or show.)

Across the board – You are betting win, place and show on one ticket. You’ll collect all three pay-outs if the horse comes in first; place and show if the horse comes in second, and show only if the horse comes in third.

How to Place a Straight Bet
Step 1: State the race number
Step 2: State the amount of the wager
Step 3: State the type of bet
Step 4: State the horse number(s)

For example, if you want to bet $10 to win on the No. 7 horse in the third race, go up to the pari-mutuel clerk behind the window and say, “Third race, ten dollars to win on number 7.” If you want to impress your friends with your grasp of the terminology, simply say “Race 3, $10 win on the 7.”

Approximate Payoff for a $2 Win Bet
Odds
Pays
Odds
Pays
1-9
$2.20
2-1
$6.00
1-5
$2.40
5-2
$7.00
2-5
$2.80
3-1
$8.00
1-2
$3.00
7-2
$9.00
3-5
$3.20
4-1
$10.00
4-5
$3.60
9-2
$11.00
1-1
$4.00
5-1
$12.00
6-5
$4.40
6-1
$14.00
7-5
$4.80
7-1
$16.00
3-2
$5.00
8-1
$18.00
8-5
$5.20
9-1
$20.00
9-5
$5.60
10-1
$22.00
How to Bet Exotic Wagers on Horse Racing

There are multiple wagering options beyond placing Win, Place and Show wagers. These exotic wager types include Exacta, Daily Double, Quinella, Trifecta, Superfecta, Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5 or High 5 and Pick 6.

With exotic wagers, you have the option of playing them by “boxing” a number of horses, “keying” on a specific horse or “wheeling” or “part wheeling” a horse. These types of wagers allow a greater flexibility in placing wagers and managing a player’s bankroll.

Daily Double – The daily double involves picking the winning horse in two designated consecutive races. To win a daily double you must pick the winning horse in each of the two races. Multiple combinations can be used when playing the double. Wheeling and keying horses in any leg of the daily is allowed. All tracks offer the early daily double which involves races 1 and 2. Some tracks also offer a late daily double which is the last two races of the day. Some tracks also offer a rolling daily double which is on any two consecutive races. The wager must be made prior to the start of the first half of the daily double.

Quinella – To win the Quinella wager, you must pick the horses that finish first and second in a single race. Either one can be first and the other one second. This bet is exactly the same as the “Exacta Box”. Although the Quinella has the same function as the “Exacta Box” the payoff can vary substantially. Quinella wagers are entered into their own pool. Not all tracks offer the Quinella wager.

Exacta – To win the Exacta wager, you must pick the first two finishing horses in the exact order of their finish. In other words, you must pick the horse that wins and the horse that finishes second. A popular way to wager with the Exacta is to “box” the horses selected. You may select any number of horse to “box” for an Exacta wager.

EXACTA WAGERING
Minimum Costs
(Based on a $2 Ticket – Full Payoff)
Minimum Costs
(Based on a $1 Ticket – 1/2 Payoff)
Straight Bet
$2.00
Straight Bet
N/A
2 Horse Box
$4.00
2 Horse Box
N/A
3 Horse Box
$12.00
3 Horse Box
$6.00
4 Horse Box
$24.00
4 Horse Box
$12.00
5 Horse Box
$40.00
5 Horse Box
$20.00
6 Horse Box
$60.00
6 Horse Box
$30.00
7 Horse Box
$84.00
7 Horse Box
$42.00
8 Horse Box
$112.00
8 Horse Box
$55.00
9 Horse Box
$144.00
9 Horse Box
$72.00
10 Horse Box
$180.00
10 Horse Box
$90.00
11 Horse Box
$220.00
11 Horse Box
$110.00
12 Horse Box
$264.00
12 Horse Box
$132.00

Trifecta – With this bet you must pick the first three finishing horses in the order of their finish. In other words, you must pick the horse that wins, the horse that finishes second and the horse that finishes third. Tracks that conduct Trifecta wagers allow “keying”,”wheeling” and “boxing” of this wager.

Superfecta – With this bet you must pick the first four finishing horses in the order of their finish. In other words, you must pick the horse that wins, the horse that finishes second, third, and fourth. Tracks that conduct Superfecta wagers allow “keying”,”wheeling” and “boxing” of this wager.

TRIFECTA WAGERING
SUPERFECTA WAGERING
Minimum Costs
Minimum Costs
Straight Bet
$2.00
Straight Bet
$2.00
3 Horse Box
$6.00
4 Horse Box
$24.00
4 Horse Box
$24.00
5 Horse Box
$120.00
5 Horse Box
$60.00
6 Horse Box
$360.00
6 Horse Box
$120.00
7 Horse Box
$840.00
7 Horse Box
$210.00
8 Horse Box
$1,680.00
8 Horse Box
$336.00
9 Horse Box
$3,024.00
9 Horse Box
$504.00
10 Horse Box
$5,040.00
10 Horse Box
$720.00
11 Horse Box
$7,920.00
11 Horse Box
$990.00
12 Horse Box
$1320.00
NOTE: Above costs are based on a $1 Ticket. The $1 box Ticket pays 1/2 of the Full Pay-Off. NOTE: Above costs are based on a $1 Ticket. The $1 box Ticket pays 1/2 of the Full Pay-Off.

High Five ? This is a relatively new wager to the racing industry. In order to win a High Five wager you must pick the first five finishing horses in the order of their finish. In other words, you must pick the horse that wins, the horse that finishes second, third, fourth and fifth. Tracks that conduct the High Five wager allow “keying”,”wheeling” and “boxing” of this wager.

Pick 3 – In order to win a Pick 3 bet you are required to select the winning horse in a set of three designated consecutive races. The wager must be made prior to the start of the first part of the Pick 3. Many tracks offer rolling Pick 3’s. This means each race will be the first leg of the three legs of a Pick 3.

Pick 4 – In order to win a Pick 4 bet you are required to select the winning horse in a set of four designated consecutive races. The wager must be made prior to the start of the first part of the Pick 4.

Pick 6 – In order to win a Pick 6 bet you are required to select the winning horse in a set of the winners of a designated set of six consecutive races. The wager must be made prior to the start of the first part of the Pick 6. This wager is very popular and many tracks have large “carryover” pools if no one has the correct order / winning ticket.

Boxing horses in exotics – A “box” Is when you use multiple horses taking all possible combinations in that particular bet. If you have determined that two, three, or four horses are the best in the race but you are not sure which one will win, run second, third, or fourth the “box” may be your best bet.

Example: A $1 dollar superfecta box using the 1-2-3-4-5. This means four of your five horses must finish in the top four to be a winner.

Keying horses in exotics – A “key” is when you use a single horse to win, run second, or third using multiple horses in front of that runner or behind the runner.

Example: A $1 dollar Pick 3, the 2 horse with the 3-4-5 with the 3-4-5-6. This means the 2 horse must win the first leg of your pick 3 either the 3-4 or 5 must win the second leg and the 3-4-5 or 6 must win the third leg to win your bet.

Wheeling horses in exotics – A wheel is when you use a single horse in a position with multiple horses finishing ahead or in some cases behind the horse your wheeling. In many cases a “wheel” and a “key” can be considered the same thing.

Example: A $2 dollar Exacta, the 1 horse with the 2-3-4. This means the 1 horse must win the race and the 2,3,or 4 must run second to win the bet. Another example might be a $2 dollar Exacta the 2-3-4 horse with the 1 this means the 2,3,or 4 must win and the 1 must run second.

Part wheels – Part wheels are offered at a $1 minimum bet per combination – $2 minimum total cost. Part wheels are when you use multiple horses in different positions.

Example: A $1 dollar Trifecta part wheel the 1-2 horse with 1-2-3 with 1-2-3-4-5 this means the 1 or 2 must win the race the 1-2-3 must run second and the 1-2-3-4-5 must finish third for the bet to win. Same theory applies to the exacta and Superfecta.

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