So you’ve made you choice on which horse or horses you want to bet on. Great, but how to bet it? There are many different ways to wager at the track or local OTB.
FOR THE BEGINNER: Win, Place, or Show bets. The Win Bet your horse must win the race. With a Place Bet your horse can come in 1st or 2nd. The Show Bet your pick must finish 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in order to cash the ticket. Or you can opt to bet your pony ‘Across The Board’. Separate Win, Place, and Show bets on the same horse. Keep in mind that if your horse finishes first the payoff for a Win bet is almost always bigger than a Show or Place bet.
INTERMEDIATE: Most tracks offer many bets besides the basics mentioned above. These multi-horse, multi-race bets are called ‘exotic’ bets and there payoffs can be much higher- sometimes in the hundreds or thousands of dollars. That said, you can play:
Exacta; Pick the the first two horses in the correct order. Most people prefer to box the exacta, meaning the first two horses can finish either way. You can put multiple horses in an exacta box. For example, you can do a 3 horse exacta box with horses 3-5-7. If the 3, 5, or 7 come in 1st & 2nd in any order you win. Be aware that the more horses you put in the wager the more expensive the bet becomes.
Trifecta; In this wager you pick 3 (or more) horses to run 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. And just as in the exacta, you may box a trifecta as well, so that they can finish in any order of the top three. You can use more than 3 horses if you feel strongly about more than three horses. This wager can be pricey but the payoffs can be LARGE.
Daily Double; You must pick the winner in each of two consecutive races. Again, you can pick multiple horses in each leg of the Daily Double. Back in the day race tracks would only have an early and late Daily Double- meaning the first, and last two races on the card. Today most tracks have a rolling DD in which you can begin the wager on any given race.
ADVANCED: Superfecta; Pick the first four horses. The same principles of exacta and trifecta wagering apply.
Pick 3, and Pick 4. Pick consecutive winners in 3 and/or four races in a row. Most tracks these day offer a rolling pick 3 (beginning on any race) and two pick fours on the racing card.
The risk, reward factor is a lot larger with these ADVANCED type wagers but it offers a real opportunity to CASH BIG !