How to Bet on Horses – Best Horse Racing Bets

Ever wondered how to bet on horses? Horse racing is steeped in a rich history of annual racing events like the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup. Smaller races take place almost daily around the country during peak season.

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Horse racing betting can seem confusing to the first time bettor. There are many different types of bets, strategies, and ways to win. Without a doubt, it’s best to start simple and progress slowly. The following is a brief guide to different types of horse bets.

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How to Bet on Horses

The most basic horse bets are the Win, Place and Show bets. Others include the Trifecta, Superfecta, Exacta, Quinella, Daily Double and Pick bets.

Win Bet

The Win bet is picking the horse that finishes first. Payout depends on the horse’s odds before the race. Win bets on longshot horses will pay more than heavy favorites.

Cost: $2

Place Bet

The Place bet is picking the horse that finishes second. The bet also pays if your horse finishes first.

Place bets usually pay less than a successful win bet unless a longshot horse finishes in the top two.

Cost: $2

Show Bet

The Show bet is picking the horse that finishes third. The bet also pays if your horse finishes first or second.

Cost: $2

Win Place Show or “Across the Board”

Add a win, place and show bet on the same horse into one combination bet.

Some horse bettors place Across the Board bets on multiple horses.

Race results determine your payout. The bet pays the most if your horse finishes first. You would collect on all 3 bets. The bet pays the least if your horse finishes third. You would only collect on your show bet and lose your win and place bets.

Cost: $6 (3 bets x $2)

Win Place Show Bet Outcomes
Horse
Finishes
Winning
Bets
Losing
Bets
First Win,Place,Show None
Second Place,Show Win
Third Show Win,Place
Fourth
or worse
None All

How to Place a Win Place Show Bet
How to Place a Win Place Show Bet

  1. Horses will be listed on the left. The next "ML" column contains the odds.
  2. Click each checkbox in the bet column that corresponds to your horse. In this example, the bettor has chosen Atiello with 6/1 odds to Win. Make sure to click Atiello’s boxes for Place and Show to complete the wager.
  3. Follow this procedure for other horses. Click the checkbox corresponding to each horse and wager.
  4. Notes: You can pick multiple horses for each bet type. These additional wagers cost more money.

Win-Place and Place-Show Bets

Win-Place
Add a win and place bet on the same horse into one combination bet.

Place-Show
Add a place and show bet on the same horse into one combination bet.

Some horse bettors place these bets on multiple horses. Race results determine your payout.

Win-Place bets can be a good substitute for exactas and quinellas. Use this bet when you’re confident there are only 1 or 2 horses that can win.

Cost: $4 (2 bets x $2)

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Trifecta Bet

Select three horses to finish first, second and third. Final order matters.

Your trifecta wins if the horses finish in the exact order you specified.

Cost: $1

How to Place a Trifecta Bet
How to Place a Trifecta Bet

  1. Select "Trifecta Bet".
  2. Horses will be listed on the left. The next "ML" column contains the odds.
  3. Select the first, second and third horses. Final order matters. In this diagram, the first horse has 2/1 odds, the second horse has 10/1 odds, the third horse has 12/1 odds.
  4. Notes: Your 3 horses must finish in the order you specified. Advanced bettors should consider a Trifecta Wheel bet. This bet allows multiple horses to be added to each finishing key.

Superfecta Bet

Select four horses to finish first, second, third and fourth. Final order matters.

Your superfecta wins if the horses finish in the exact order you specified.

Cost: $1 or 10 cents

How to Place a Superfecta Bet
How to Place a Superfecta Bet

  1. Select "Superfecta Bet".
  2. Horses will be listed on the left. The next "ML" column contains the odds.
  3. Select the first, second, third and fourth horses. Final order matters. In this diagram, the first horse has 4/1 odds, the second horse has 5/1 odds, the third horse has 6/1 odds, and the fourth horse has 12/1 odds.
  4. Notes: Your 4 horses must finish in the order you specified. Advanced bettors should consider a Superfecta Wheel bet. This bet allows multiple horses to be added to each finishing key.

Exacta Bet

Select two horses to finish first and second. Final order matters.

Your exacta wins if the horses finish in the exact order you specified.

Cost: $2

How to Place an Exacta Bet
How to Place an Exacta Bet

  1. Select "Exacta Bet".
  2. Horses will be listed on the left. The next "ML" column contains the odds.
  3. Select the first and second horses. Final order matters. In this diagram, the first horse has 2/1 odds. The second horse has 5/2 odds.
  4. Notes: Your 2 horses must finish in the order you specified. Advanced bettors should consider an Exacta Wheel bet. This bet allows multiple horses to be added to each finishing key.

Quinella Bet

Select two horses to finish first and second. Final order does not matter.

Your quinella wins if both horses finish in the top two.

Cost: $2

How to Place a Quinella Bet
How to Place a Quinella Bet

  1. Select "Quinella Bet".
  2. Note the horses in the race, listed on the left. The next "ML" column lists the odds.
  3. Select two horses to finish first and second. Final order does not matter. In this diagram, the two horses have 5/2 and 8/5 odds, respectively.
  4. Notes: Your 2 horses must finish in the top two. Order does not matter. Advanced bettors should consider a Quinella Box bet. This bet allows multiple horses to be included in one wager.

Daily Double Bet

Select the winners of two different races.

Your Daily Double wins if both horses win their races.

Cost: $2

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How to Place a Daily Double Bet
How to Place a Daily Double Bet

  1. Select "Daily Double Bet".
  2. Note the horses in each race, listed on the left. The next "ML" column lists the odds.
  3. Select a horse to win each race. In this diagram, our two horses have 5/1 and 6/1 odds.
  4. Notes: Your 2 horses must win their races. Advanced bettors should consider a Daily Double bet. This bet allows multiple horses to be added to each finishing key.

Pick 3, 4, 5, 6 or More Bets

Pick bets are similar to the Daily Double Bet. Choose the winners of 3, 4, 5, 6 or more races. All selections must be correct to win.

The odds of winning a picking 3 or more race winners is remote. Successful bettors will receive substantial payouts.

References: How to Bet on Horses


https://www.winningponies.com/help/wager-types.html
twinspires.com/wagertypes
https://www.sportsbetting21.com/how-to-bet-on-horses