Explanation of Horse Race Wagering


Horse racing is a popular sport and, according to Horse Racing Sport, it polled seventh out of 20th in an online survey about the popularity of different sports. There are numerous wagering terms used in horse racing, but the most popular ones are win, place, show, exacta, trifecta, superfecta, quinella, daily double, pick 3 and pick 4.

Win, Place, Show

  • Bettors can wager for specific horses to win a race. This bet can be disadvantageous if the bettor wants to wager on a favorite horse because the risk tends to be much higher with lower returns. For instance, a favorite horse at 7-5 means that, if the horse wins, for every $5 the bettor puts on the horse he gets back $7. Place means you bet the horse to finish first or second, while show means the horse can also finish third.

Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta

  • An exacta bet is wagering on the horses that will finish first and second. This can be played straight, meaning you choose who will finish first and who will be second, or boxed where either horse can finish first or second and you'll still win. A trifecta is picking the three finishing horses and superfecta is picking the first four horses to finish the race. The trifecta and superfecta can also be played straight or boxed.


  • Quinella is the same as the exacta box because it chooses the first two horses to finish a race in any order. Boxed bets are more expensive than straight bets because they have multiple bets within. For example, a boxed exacta bet wagers for horse A to win or place second and also for horse B to win or place second, while a straight exacta bet wagers for horse A to win and horse B to place second.

Daily Double, Pick 3 and Pick 4

  • Daily double extends beyond just one race to two as the bettor chooses the two horses that will win in two consecutive races. Although daily double usually occurs the first and second races of a race day, it can be any two consecutive races. In pick 3, bettors wager for the three winning horses in three consecutive races. In pick 4, bettors wager for the four winning horses in four consecutive races. All picks must win or the bet is lost.

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