The most straightforward wager you can make in horse wagering is a straight bet. This is a wager on a single result of a single race. The great element of horse wagering that is different from regular sports betting is that you do not always have to bet on the outright victor. You can place straight bets on the horses that come 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th as well.
Win – The horse must win the race
Place – A horse can finish 1st or 2nd
Show – A horse can finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd
*a horse must run for a bet to be valid
The payouts for each type of straight bet change according to the bet that you take. It is technically easier to win a “show bet”, for example, because of the three different results you can profit off of. Placing wagers on horses to win outright will always reward you with the biggest payout.
EXOTIC HORSE WAGERING GUIDE
Exotic horse wagers are the equivalent of a parlay where you bet on multiple outcomes.
Exacta – A bet on two horses finishing 1st and 2nd in a specific order.
Trifecta – A bet on three horses finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in a specific order.
Superfecta – A Bet on four horses finishing 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th.
Box – You can “box” the above bets so that the predicted outcome is not specific, meaning that in an “Exacta Box” you are betting on the horses who place in the top-2 with no specified order. Boxing an exotic bet increases your chances of winning, but also reduces the payout.
Wheel – This is a bet that generates every combination of exacta, trifecta and superfecta using a single horse as the only constant element along with every other horse in the field. It is an expensive bet compared to most exotics, but is a fantastic way to hedge.
Part Wheel – Functions identical to a wheel bet, but you can remove certain horses from the field. The Superfecta Part Wheel is a favorite when it comes to wagering on the Breeders’ Cup.
The pick bet is a pari-mutual wager type that allows you to place wagers on the winners of consecutive races. Examples would be Pick-3 or Pick-5 (etc.) where you select the winners of three races or five races. A popular version of a pick bet is The Daily Double which is a selection on the winner of one race, and the winner of the race immediately following that race. It is equivalent to a rolling if-bet in sports betting.