Trifecta Betting on a horse race is a slightly more complicated form of wagering compared to Win, Place, or Show betting. In Trifecta Betting, the general idea is to pick three horses that will finish in the top three positions. After that, you need to determine whether or not you want to specify a certain order of finish (which offers a higher payout), a mixed order of finish (lesser trifecta payout), or any order of finish (least trifecta payout).
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Straight Trifecta Betting
Straight Trifecta Betting is what most people think of when they hear the word "Trifecta" at the horse track: choose three horses in a given race, and then determine the order in which those horses will finish. If your guess is correct, and your horses finish 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in your predicted order, you will win your trifecta bet. Keep in mind that the odds of winning a straight trifecta bet are somewhat remote, unless there are less than 8 horses in a race. If you do win, however, you will collect a substantial payout.
All straight trifecta bets require a $2 minimum bet.
Example: $2 Straight Trifecta on Horses 6-1-8 means you are betting $2 that horses 6, 1, and 8 will finish first, second, and third in consecutive order.
Trifecta Box Betting
A Trifecta Box wager is a variation on the Straight Trifecta bet, which allows the horse bettor more room for error. With this wager, the bettor picks three horses which must finish first, second, and third in any order. In other words, with Trifecta Box betting, it doesn’t matter the exact final positions of your three horses, as long as they finish in the top three overall.
All Trifecta Box Bets cost a minimum of $1 per finish combination, for a total of $6 for a complete Trifecta Box.
Example: A $1 Trifecta Box on horses 9-6-2 means that there are 6 different possible winning combinations (see below) so your total wager is $6. The bet wins if horses 9,6, and 2 finish in the top 3 in any order.
Trifecta Box Combinations on horses 9,6, and 2 at $1 each:
Finishing 9-6-2 = $1
Finishing 9-2-6 = $1
Finishing 6-2-9 = $1
Finishing 6-9-2 = $1
Finishing 2-9-6 = $1
Finishing 2-6-9 = $1
Total Wager = $6
Trifecta Horse Betting
Trifecta Wheel Betting
Trifecta Wheel Betting is yet another form of Trifecta Betting, which allows the bettor the most flexibility in terms of finish order and horse preference. Unlike a Trifecta Box Bet, Trifecta Wheel Betting lets a horse bettor "key" or lock in a certain horse or horses to finish 1st, then a second "key" or lock in for a certain horse or horses to finish second, and finally a third "key" or lock in for a certain horse or horses to finish third.
Once the race is over, if any of the horses in your "first key" finish first, and any of the horses in your "second key" finish second, and any of the horses in your "third key" finish third, you have a winning ticket.
The cost of the Trifecta Wheel is determined by how many different possible combinations there are for the horses you choose.
All Trifecta Wheel Bets cost a minimum of $1 per combination.
Example 1: You believe horse 8 will win the race, and that horse is your first key. Next, you believe one of horses 4-12-9 will finish second, and that set is your second key. Finally, you believe one of horses 4-12-9 will fiinish third, and that set is your third key. This bet wins if horse 8 wins, follwed by any horse of 4-12-9 in second, followed by any horse of 4-12-9 in third. This bet would cost $6.
Trifecta Example #1 Wheel Combinations on horses 8 then 4-12-9, then 4-12-9 at $1 each:
Finishing 8-12-9 = $1
Finishing 8-9-12 = $1
Finishing 8-4-9 = $1
Finishing 8-9-4 = $1
Finishing 8-4-12 = $1
Finishing 8-12-4 = $1
Total Wager = $6
Remember, since you only keyed one horse to win, this horse MUST WIN or else the rest of the wager is null and void.
Example 2: You believe either horse 5 or 7 will win, follwed by either 5 or 7 in second, followed by one of 4-1-3-9-2 in third. This bet wins if either 5 or 7 win, then 5 or 7 place second, then one horse of 4-1-3-9-2 finishes third.
Trifecta Example #2 Wheel Combinations on horses 5-7 winning, then 5-7 second, then 4-1-3-9-2 third at $1 each:
Finishing 5-7-4 = $1
Finishing 5-7-1 = $1
Finishing 5-7-9 = $1
Finishing 5-7-3 = $1
Finishing 5-7-2 = $1
Finishing 7-5-4 = $1
Finishing 7-5-1 = $1
Finishing 7-5-9 = $1
Finishing 7-5-3 = $1
Finishing 7-5-2 = $1
Total Wager = $10
Trifecta Horse Betting
Trifecta Betting General Reference Tables
3 horse $1 trifecta box = $6
4 horse $1 trifecta box = $24
5 horse $1 trifecta box = $60
6 horse $1 trifecta box = $120
7 horse $1 trifecta box = $210
8 horse $1 trifecta box = $336
9 horse $1 trifecta box = $504
10 horse $1 trifecta box = $720
11 horse $1 trifecta box = $990
12 horse $1 trifecta box = $1320
Trifecta Wheel, with one horse key and various other horses
$1 trifecta wheel 1 horse with 3 horses = $6
$1 trifecta wheel 1 horse with 4 horses = $12
$1 trifecta wheel 1 horse with 5 horses = $20
$1 trifecta wheel 1 horse with 6 horses = $30
$1 trifecta wheel 1 horse with 7 horses = $42
$1 trifecta wheel 1 horse with 8 horses = $56
$1 trifecta wheel 1 horse with 9 horses = $72
$1 trifecta wheel 1 horse with 10 horses = $90
$1 trifecta wheel 1 horse with 11 horses = $110
Don’t forget one other crucial element in this table: the odds on each horse to win the race. Based on the chart above, Lookin at Lucky was a relative favorite, hence the single digit payouts. First Dude was more of a long shot, hence the double digit PLACE payout. Finally, Jackson Bend was considered to have less chances to win than Lookin At Lucky, but more than First Dude, hence the SHOW payout that is in between the values of Lookin at Lucky’s SHOW payout and First Dude’s SHOW payout.
Remember, the longer the odds (or more remote the chances of a horse winning a given race) the higher the potential payout!