Trifecta Bet

A Trifecta Bet is picking horses to finish first, second and third. Place a straight trifecta, trifecta wheel or trifecta box. Each trifecta variant has its own mechanics and cost. This tutorial explains how to place each trifecta bet. See example trifecta cost tables below.

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A winning trifecta bet can result in a substantial payout. Remember, picking the top 3 horses is less likely.

Chapters

  1. Straight Trifecta
  2. Trifecta Box
  3. Trifecta Wheel

First, let’s define a trifecta bet.

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Straight Trifecta Bet

Choose 3 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. Choose "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.

Example Ticket:

$1 Straight Trifecta on Horses 6-1-8 means you are betting $1 that horses 6, 1, and 8 will finish first, second and third in order.

Trifecta Box Bet

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A Trifecta Box bet is picking any number of horses to finish first, second and third. Final order does not matter.

Your trifecta box bet wins if any of your horses finish in the top 3 in any order.

The trifecta box costs more than a straight trifecta because you must pay for each possible finishing combination.

Cost: $1 per Combination

Trifecta Box Cost

H = Total number of horses being boxed.
C = Cost per Combination, usually $1.

(H) x (H – 1) x (H – 2) x (C)

A 3 horse trifecta box costs $6 for 6 combinations: 3 x 2 x 1 x $1.

Tip

Racebooks will calculate trifecta box cost for you. See also this calculator.

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

  1. Choose "Trifecta Bet".
  2. Horses will be listed on the left. The next "ML" column contains the odds.
  3. Select 3 or more horses to finish first, second and third. Final order does not matter.
  4. You must select “Box” wager. This indicates the bet is a Trifecta Box.
  5. Notes: Sportsbook will calculate box cost automatically.

Example Ticket:

A 4 Horse Trifecta Box on Horses 6-1-8-3 means you are betting $1 that any combination horses 6, 1, 8 or 3 will finish first, second and third in any order. This trifecta box costs $24 for 24 possible finishing combinations.

Trifecta Wheel Bet

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A Trifecta Wheel bet is picking sets of horses to finish first, second and third. Each set is called a key. Each key contains 1 or more horses.

Two Trifecta Wheel Bets

Trifecta Full Wheel – Put one horse in the 1st key with all other horses in the 2nd and 3rd keys. Alternatively, wheel 1 horse in the 2nd or 3rd keys with all others in the remaining keys.

Trifecta Part Wheel – Put one or more horses in one key with your own sets of horses in the remaining keys. The part wheel does not include all other horses.

Trifecta Wheel Details

A horse can be included in multiple keys. This is common for heavy favorites. They are more likely to finish in the top 3 than a longshot.

A trifecta wheel bet requires a specific finishing order from 3 sets of horses. Note that a trifecta box bet requires any order of 3 or more horses.

Your trifecta wheel bet wins if a horse from the 1st key finishes first, a horse from the 2nd key finishes second, and a horse from the 3rd key finishes third.

Cost: $1 per Combination

Trifecta Wheel Cost

This calcuation is more complicated because the same horse can included in multiple keys. Racebooks will calculate your trifecta wheel cost automatically.

Trifecta Wheel Combination Calcuation
A = Number Horses Key 1
B = Number Horses Key 2
C = Number Horses Key 3
AB = Number same horses in Keys 1 and 2.
BC = Number same horses in Keys 2 and 3.
AC = Number same horses in Keys 1 and 3.
ABC = Number same horses in KEys 1, 2 and 3.

(A x B x C)- (AB x C) – (BC x A) – (AC x B) + (ABC x 2) = Combinations

Multiply combinations times cost per combination.

Tip

Racebooks will calculate trifecta wheel cost for you. See also this calculator.

Example Ticket:

7 Horse Trifecta Part Wheel. 1-2 with 2-3-4 with 5-6-7 costs $15.

  • 1st Key – Horses 1 and 2
  • 2nd Key – Horses 2, 3 and 4
  • 3rd Key – Horses 5, 6 and 7

Notes: 2 is in both 1st and 2nd key. 0 horses are in all keys.

Example Cost Calculation:
(A x B x C) = 2 x 3 x 3 = 18
– (AB x C) – (BC x A) – (AC x B) = – (1 x 3) – (0 x 2) – (0 x 3) = -3
+ (ABC x 2) = (0 x 2) = 0
18 – 3 + 0 = 15 Combinations x $1 = $15

Trifecta Betting Reference

$1 Trifecta Box

3 horses = $6
4 horses = $24
5 horses = $60
6 horses = $120
7 horses = $210
8 horses = $336
9 horses = $504
10 horses = $720
11 horses = $990
12 horses = $1320

$1 Trifecta Full Wheel with N Horses

Read as 1 with N Horses

3 horses = $6 (1 with 3 horses)
4 horses = $12 (1 with 4 horses)
5 horses = $20
6 horses = $30
7 horses = $42
8 horses = $56
9 horses = $72
10 horses = $90
11 horses = $110

References: Trifecta Betting


winningponies.com/help/wager-types.html
twinspires.com/wagertypes
sportsbetting21.com/trifecta-betting