Win Place Show Horse Betting

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Win Place Show betting are the core elements of any horse racing event. The object is simple: pick a horse that will win the race, that will place second, or will come in third (or show). There are, however, a few important nuances to these bets, which are extremely important if you want to be a successful horse handicapper. Furthermore, always look at the particular horse racing event’s odds before you place a wager. This allows you to see who the public favorite is, while getting a feel for which horses are the underlying competition.

Win Place Show Bets

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Win Bet

If you bet on a horse to "WIN", you’re betting that the particular horse will come in first in a given horse race. The payout for a successful WIN bet is generally worth the risk; but remember, the odds of picking the exact horse to win in a 10-12 horse race can be long.


If you bet on a horse to "PLACE", you’ll have a winning wager if your horse either wins the race or comes in second. While this wager doesn’t pay as much as a straight up WIN bet, the PLACE bet gives you a little wiggle room, allowing for the first or second final position as winning bets at the end of the race.


If you bet on a horse to "SHOW", you’ll have a winning wager if your horse wins the race, comes in second, or comes in third. Of the WIN-PLACE-SHOW betting types, the SHOW wager is the most conservative, offering much lower payouts, since you are hoping to see your horse finish in one of any 3 positions. In races with more than 6 horses, the SHOW bet might make sense, especially in the Triple Crown Horse Racing events like the Kentuckey Derby, where it is common to see more than 12 horses start the race.

Win, Place, Show Payout Example

Next, we’ll take a look at a sample Win, Place, and Show payout chart, based on the 2010 Preakness Stakes.

In this particular race, Lookin at Lucky won, followed by First Dude, and then Jackson Bend. So, based on our definitions of WIN, PLACE, and SHOW, we have the following results table:

Horse Number Horse Name Win Place Show
7 Lookin At Lucky $6.80 $4.60 $3.80
11 First Dude N/A $16.60 $9.20
6 Jackson Bend N/A N/A $6.60

In words, this table means the following:

Horse #7Lookin at Lucky, pays $6.80 for those who picked it to come in first (WIN Bet), $4.60 to come in second or first (PLACE bet), or $3.80 to come in third, second, or first (SHOW Bet)

Horse #11First Dude, pays $16.60 for those that picked it to come in second or first (PLACE Bet), or $9.20 for those that picked it to come in third, second, or first (SHOW Bet).

Horse #6 – Jackson Bend, pays $6.60 for those that picked it to either come in third, second, or first (SHOW Bet).

As you can see, the SHOW bet pays the more modest winnings than WIN or PLACE.

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!

What is Virtual Horse Racing?

Quite simply, virtual horse racing is betting on a simulated "video game" horse race on your computer. Like in real life, bettors are given odds on computer generated horse competitors, and bets can be placed just as if you were watching real horses race. The difference is that you’re watching computer graphics compete instead of real, live animals. Click Here for Virtual Horse Racing!