If you are new to horse racing and don’t quite get how to bet or how much to bet, the following information should help you get started.
ADVICE: Start small, then MAYBE increase your bets once you get comfortable.
At the majority of wagering locations (physical track or off track betting) the minimum straight win, place or show wager is $2. The final winning prices are all based on a $2 wager.
STRAIGHT $2 WAGERS
WIN: You win if your horse finishes First.
PLACE: You win if your horse finishes First or Second.
SHOW: You win if your horse finishes First, Second or Third.
An easy way to calculate your winnings is to multiply the winning price by half of your wager:
Based on a winning price of $5.40, your winning ticket would come to:
$100 Wager: 50 x $5.40 = $270
$50 Wager: 25 x $5.40 = $135
$10 Wager: 5 x $5.40 = $27
$5 Wager: 2.5 x $5.40 = $13.50
$2 Wager: 1 x $5.40 = $5.40
This is the area where wagering can get tricky, but certainly more rewarding. Exotic wagers are more difficult to predict than Straight Wagers. However, the potential payouts are significantly greater. (Not all racetracks offer the following exotic wagers, so be sure to look at the top of the form or program for each each to ensure you know what is offered before you head to the window or bet online.
DAILY DOUBLE – You have to pick the winners of two consecutive races. Wagers must be placed before the first of the two races. Minimum bet is $2.00.
PICK 3 – You have to pick the winners of three consecutive races. Wagers must be placed before the first of the three races. Minimum bet is $1.00.
EXACTA – You have to pick the first two horses to finish in exact order in a single race. Minimum bet $1.00.
TRIFECTA – You have to pick the first three horses to finish in exact order in a single race with eight or more betting interests. Minimum bet is $1.00.
QUINELLA – You have to pick the first two horses to finish in either order in a single race. (Easier than an Exacta, because either horse can finish first or second.) Minimum bet is $2.00.
SUPERFECTA – You have to pick the first four horses in exact order of finish in a single race with eight or more betting interests. Minimum bet is $1.00.
BOX – For the exacta, trifecta and superfecta, if you do not “box” the horses you place a wager on they have to finish in the order that you say.
For example, if you go to the betting window and say $2 exacta 2-3. The 2 has to win and the 3 has to finish second. The cost of the wager is $2. If you say $2 exacta box 2-3, then it can come 2-3 or 3-2. The cost is $4.
If you want a trifecta box, you need to say $2 trifecta box 1-4-7 and it can come in ANY order as long as those three horses finish in the top three. The cost is $12.
If you want a superfecta box, you need to say $2 superfecta box 1-2-4-7 and it can come in ANY order as long as those four horses finish in the top four. The cost is $48.
PICK SIX – You have to pick the winners of six consecutive races. Wagers must be placed before the first of the six races. (This is a super difficult wager, but the payouts can be very high!) Minimum bet is $2.00.
PLACE PICK ALL – You win a major payoff if you pick the winner or second-place finisher of the entire card (8, 9 or 10 races). If no ticket contains the winning combination for all races, the payoff will go to the ticket with the highest number of correct selections. Mimimum bet is $1.00.
COMMON RACING TERMS YOU WILL HEAR
Age – Every horse turns a year older on January 1, regardless of the actual day of birth. Two year olds only race against other two year olds. Three year olds normally only compete among themselves but on occasion, they will be entered against older horses as the become more experienced or the owner/trainer feel it is a better option at the time.
Handle – Amount of money wagered on a single race or a full day of racing.
Morning Line – A prediction by the Track Line Maker of what the final odds will be based on how the public wagers. Usually accurate, and helpful in determining the favorites.
Past Performances – Included in a program or racing form will be the history of each horses’ racing performance to date. It will mention where the horse finished, the jockey, trainer, owner, color, the track, condition of the etc.
Post Time – The time the horses are expected to reach the starting gate. This is when a race begins.
Race Card – The schedule of races for a specific day.
Scratch – When a horse is removed from a race in which it was scheduled to run. Depending upon the type of wager you’ve placed, you are entitled to either a refund or your interest will be automatically transferred to the betting favorite.
Simulcast Wagering – The option to watch and wager on the races live via tv broadcast. If you are unable to attend racing at a local track, you can still watch and wager at hundreds of simulcast wagering locations throughout the country.
TYPES OF RACES
Allowance Races - These races are for higher quality horses in which all entered must meet specific entry conditions. The amount of weight a horse carries is set by the racing secretary in order to keep the competition equal. Horses cannot be claiming from these races.
Claiming Races - Horses race with the potential of being bought or “claimed” in this situation by licensed owners for a stated claiming price. Ie. $16,000 or $5,000.
Derby Races – These races are limited only to three-year-old horses. Usually the best on the local track, nationally or even Internationally.
Futurity Races – These races are limited only to two-year-old horses. Usually the best on the local track, nationally or even Internationally.
Handicap Races – The track racing secretary assigns a weight to each horse based on prior racing performance in order to equalize the competition.
Maiden Races – These are for horses who have never won a race.
Stakes Races – These races are for the best on the track and compete for the highest prize money.
If you have any questions with the information provided above, please do not hesitate to contact us. We have been in this industry for over 30 years. We would love to see another horse racing fan!