Brush Up For The Derby

The Kentucky Derby is three weekends away. For the casual fan of horse racing this may be the only race you bet all year.

If that is you, or someone you know, the Daily Racing Blog brings you this review of the fundamentals.


Win bet – A bet on a horse to finish first.

Place bet – A bet on a horse to finish first or second.

Show bet – A bet on a horse to finish in the money; third or better.

In the money – A horse that finishes first, second, or third.

Across the board – A bet on a horse to Win, Place, and Show. If the horse Wins, the bettor collects three ways; if second, two ways (Place, Show); and if third, one way, losing the Win and place bets. It’s actually three bets.

Morning line – The odds that the track handicapper predicts a horse will go off at.


Exotic (bet) – Any bet other than Win, Place, or Show that requires multiple combinations. Examples of exotic wagers are Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta, Pick 5, Pick 4, Pick 3, and of course the Daily Double.

Daily Double (or Double) – Type of bet calling for the selection of Winners of two consecutive races.

Exacta – A wager in which the first two finishers in a race, in exact order of finish, must be picked.

Box – A betting term denoting a combination bet whereby all possible numeric combinations are covered for certain horses.

Exacta box – A wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are selected. For example, an Exacta Box using horses 2,4,6 would produce a Winning ticket if any two of those three horses finished first and second, regardless of the order (2-6, 4-2, 6-4, etc.

Trifecta – A bet in which the first three finishers must be selected in exact order.

Trifecta box – A trifecta wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are bet upon.

Pick (6 or other number) – A type of multi-race bet in which the Winners of all the included races must be selected. Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, Pick 6 are commonly used by tracks in the United States.

Betting on Horse Racing, Explained | America’s Best Racing


Bounce – A racehorse’s especially poor performance on the heels of an especially good one.

Chalk – Betting favorite in a race.

Chalk player – Gambler who wagers on favorites.

Key horse – A single horse used in multiple combinations in an exotic bet. (DRB uses the Key horse method when betting Trifectas)

On the board – Finishing among the first three.

On the nose – Betting a horse to win only.

Overlay – A horse whose odds are greater than its potential to Win. Professional bettors target overlays, meaning they target bets that offer better than fair Value odds.

Underlay – A horse whose odds are less than than his potential to Win. Betting horses whose odds are worse than fair Value is a poor strategy.

Parlay – A multi-race bet in which all Winnings are subsequently wagered on a succeeding race.

Speed Figure – A metric that rates a horse’s performance in a race, which is determined by a combination of the horse’s performance and the level of competition he/she competed against.

Wheel – Betting all possible combinations in an exotic wager using at least one horse as the key.

That’s it for now. There will be a test on September 5th- Derby Day.

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