How Does Horse Betting Work?

October 26, 2020
How Does Horse Betting Work

Horse racing is exciting to watch. It’s even more exciting when you wager on a race, but how exactly does horse betting work?

It’s not like a typical team sports bet where you can bet on one team or the other to win or bet against a point spread. There are numerous horses in a single race. How do you bet on races and more importantly, how can you win on horse betting?

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Horse Betting – Win, Place and Show

There are two categories of wagers that you can place on horse – straight bets and exotic bets. 

Straight wagers are simpler and cheaper than exotic bets. The standard minimum straight bet at a track is $2.

There are three types of wagers. In this type of bet, you are betting on only one horse. You can bet on the horse to win, place, or show.

WIN Bets: You bet on a horse to come in first place. If your horse wins, you collect on your winning horse betting ticket.

PLACE Bets: Betting on your horse to place means you are betting that he will finish first or second. If your horse finishes first or second, you win. Your payout will be less than a straight win wager.

SHOW Bets: A show bet means you are betting on your horse to finish in the top three. You win if your horse finishes first, second, or third. You have a higher chance of winning, but again your payout will be less than a win or place bet.

Horse Betting – Across the Board

You can also place an across the board bet in which you are betting your horse will win, place, and show. It’s actually three bets in one, so it is more expensive ($6). An across the board bet also has less profit potential.

If your horse comes in first place, you get the win, place, and show money. If your horse finishes second, you get the place and show money and a third-place finish gets you just the show money.

There is also the possibility of placing multiple straight wagers in a single bet. A win/place bet is one on a horse to win and place. If your horse wins the race, you get the win and the place money. If your horse finishes second, you get the place money.

You can also do a place/show bet where you’re betting on a horse to place and show. If your horse finishes third you get just the show money, but a second-place finish gets you the place and the show money. These types of bets are also more costly with a minimum of $4.

Exotic Bets – Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta

There are also a number of exotic bets available at the track. These bets allow you to wager on more than one horse in a single bet increasing a bettor’s profit potential. Exotic bets are much harder to win and they are also more expensive than straight horse bets.

EXACTA Bets: You place a bet on two horses to finish first and second. You win when you’re two horses finish first and second in the exact order you selected. This is a much more difficult bet to hit and the payouts can be very high. You can also “box” an exacta and win if your two horses finish first and second in any order.

TRIFECTA Bets: As the name suggests, you are betting on three horses here. You are betting on them to finish first, second, and third in order and only win when they do. A “box” trifecta is also possible though it does increase your cost. A $2 box trifecta will cost you $12 (six bets at $2).

You win a box trifecta if your horses finish first, second, and third regardless of order.

QUINELLA Bets: A quinella bet is one on two horses to come in first and second place regardless of order. You may wonder what the difference between a quinella and a box exacta is. It’s a great question. A quinella is the smarter choice because the bet only costs $2. A box exacta costs $4.

SUPERFECTA Bets: This bet is on four horses to finish first, second, third, and fourth in exact order. Like other exotic bets, you can box a superfecta. At most tracks a box superfecta minimum bet starts at just 10 cents making it more appealing.

Now you know how horse betting works, join a legal US bookie to start wagering.