Horse Racing 101

As you probably know, the win bet is not the only bet you can make at the tracks. There are many bets that you can make, the most basic being the win, place, and show bets. These three bets are commonly referred to as “WPS.” A win bet is just what it sounds like; you are making a bet that the horse of your choice will come in first. Place and show bets are a bit broader. A place bet signifies that you think your horse will finish in either first or second place; a show bet means that you think the horse will finish in the top three. These bets, because they are broader and thus easier to win, will pay a lower amount the vast majority of the time (but not always).

Single race bets

These bets dominated the horse betting scene for the longest time. It wasn’t until recently that the so-called “exotic” bets gained in popularity. Usually offered rarely and only at certain tracks, the multi-horse, multi-race bets that dominate the betting scene now were so rare at one point that they earned the term “exotic” was coined to describe them. The most prevalent of these bets is the exacta because it is the simplest to understand. Because it is so simple, people misleadingly think it is an easy bet to win at. This bet requires that you select the top two horses in the given race in the correct order. Many people will “box” this bet so that they will have both combinations. In reality, this is two bets; one bet for horse A then B, one bet for horse B then A.

You can dig even deeper into the finishing order if you wish. The trifecta is where you select the first three horses in the correct order. A superfecta is an effort to predict the first four horses. As you probably can guess, these become progressively harder to do the deeper you go. It is possible to box these bets as well.

Multi-race bets

If these options weren’t enough to satiate bettor’s appetites, you can also bet on more than one race at a time. These parlays require that you predict the top horse in two, three, or even six races in a row. The daily double, as it is called, requires that you pick the top horse in two consecutive races. This is the oldest of the exotic bets, and was done as a ploy to get people to arrive at the racetrack earlier since it originally encompassed the first two races on a card (hence the term “daily”). The earlier people got to the track, the more money the track was raking in.

The pick 3, pick 4, and pick 6 are obviously harder bets to win. The payouts for the pick 6 can sometimes go into the six figures and it is not uncommon for even a pick 3 to bring in over $1,000.

Now that you know what you can bet on, we will look at selecting which horse you should bet on. Our next course will look into the factors that make one horse look like a more attractive bet than another.

elementary school
Pre-KHorse Racing Basics
KindergartenPari-Mutuel System Betting
1st GradeHorse Racing 101
2nd GradeWhy Pick One Horse Over Another
3rd GradeReading Horse Charts
4th GradeWhy Class Matters
5th GradeSpeed Figures
middle school
6th GradeIntro to Exotic Betting
7th GradeExotics Part II Multi Race Bets
8th GradeSelecting the Right Races
high school
9th GradeThe Morning Line
10th GradeMoney Management
11th GradeBetting Tactics to Avoid
12th GradePerfecting the Craft