Types of Horse Bets | Learn The Basics of Horse Racing Wagering

You can place a wager that a horse will win if you are betting on it. You can place a bet on the horse finishing second. If you wish to bet that a horse will finish third, place a bet on him to win.

Straight bets are easiest to understand

Win bet

The horse must win the race. Straight bets have the best odds. You can cash your ticket if your horse wins the race.

Place bet

The odds of a horse running first or second are bets. Although the odds of winning are lower than the win wager, you can still cash your ticket if your horse comes in first or second.

Show bet

Straight bets have the lowest odds. You can cash your tickets if the horse you choose to place a bet on is not running.

Bet across the board

These are all three types of bets. This makes it much easier to place your wager when you’re at the window. The teller will say, “I want to place a bet of two dollars on the number two horse.” You have placed a bet of two dollars on the two-horse race winner, placer, or show with one ticket.

Six dollars will be charged. You can also place straight bets on combination, such as win/place or show. Each combination of these bets will be charged separately.

Although exotic bets can be difficult to win, the payouts are usually higher than straight bets.

Exotic wagers let you place multiple wagers on different horses within a single wager. Exotic wagers are usually more difficult than straight wagers and require more skill and knowledge about horse picking.

Exotic wagers offer higher returns than straight bets. Exotic wagers can be more complicated, but they offer higher risks and greater rewards.


You can place an exacta wager by picking your two favourite horses from the starters field and placing them in order. You can place an exacta bet if you think the seven horses will win, and the five-horse (come in 2nd), respectively.

Make this bet by going to the teller and saying, “I want a two-dollar exacta 7”. The seven-horse winners and five-horse places must be completed. You lose if you use any other combination.

Exacta Box

An exacta box is a wager that either one of your exacta picks will run first or last. In our example, the seven winners and the seventh placers in the race will win you your ticket.

An exacta box contains two bets. A two-dollar exacta box will cost you four dollars. The 7 and 5 are the first and second, regardless of their order.


Although a quinella can be played the same way as an exacta, it is only one bet. A quinella costs two dollars and an exacta box costs four. An exacta box will usually pay more because it costs more.


Trifecta betting is similar to exacta, but it involves three horses. Make your wager by choosing three horses that you think will win/place/show and placing them in the order you choose.

You can place a trifecta wager by going to the window and telling the teller your race number. To cash your ticket, the horses must finish in the same order. You lose if you use any other combination.

Trifecta Box

Trifecta box betting allows you to win if any of the three horses you bet on finishes 1, 2, or 3. It doesn’t matter what order you choose. Trifecta boxes are more expensive because they allow for more bets. A trifecta box of two dollars would cost twelve dollars, for example.


Superfecta is a combination of a trifecta or an exacta. It includes four horses. To cash your ticket, they must finish in the same order as you selected.

Superfecta Box

This works exactly the same way as the exacta box and trifecta except that it is limited to four horses. Combinations can increase in number, which results in higher costs. Some tracks allow for smaller wagers in superfecta boxes.

Keying horses

This is when you take a horse that you love and place multiple horses under it. You could, for example, love one horse and then like three horses. Let’s just say you love three horses.

The one horse could be a key in an exacta wager over the 2,3,4. This scenario would allow you to cash in a ticket if one horse wins the race and the other horses place 2,3, or 4.

These bets are not a complete list of possible wagers at a track, but they do cover the essentials that you need to have a good time at the races.

Last Updated on November 18, 2021

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