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Betting Terminology

Betting doesn’t have to be rocket science. Keep it simple by choosing a horse with a cool name. Or one that’s wearing your favorite color. But if you’re the analytical type who wants to consider a horse’s racing history, learn how to read a Racing Form and try your hand at handicapping.

Placing Your Bet

The easiest way to place your bet or wager is at the counter. Let the teller know the following information:

  • The racetrack (remember, you can bet on races at other tracks)
  • The race number
  • The dollar amount you want to bet
  • The type of bet
  • Your horse’s number

Ex. “At Santa Anita, third race, five dollars to win on number two.”

Types of Bets

There are many kinds of bets. But let’s start with the basic ones:

Win, Place and Show.

Win — If your horse finishes 1st, you win $$$.

Place — If your horse finishes 1st or 2nd, you win $$.

Show — If your horse finishes 1st, 2nd or 3rd, you win $.

Exotic Bets or Combination Wagers

Across the board — Three equal Win, Place and Show bets.

  • If your horse finishes 1st, you win all three bets.
  • If your horse finishes 2nd, you win on the Place and Show bets.
  • If your horse finishes 3rd, you win on the Show bet.

Exacta — Pick two horses in one race. If they finish 1st and 2nd, in exact order, you win.

Quinella — Pick two horses. If they finish 1st or 2nd, in either order, you win. Also known as an Exacta Box.

Trifecta — Pick three horses. If they finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd, in exact order, you win.

Superfecta — Pick four horses. If they finish 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, in exact order, you win.

Daily Double — Two specific races make up the Daily Double. Pick one horse in each race. If they finish 1st in both races, you win. You have to make your bet before the first race.

Pick 3 — Similar to the Daily Double, but for three consecutive races.

Pick 4 — Similar to the Daily Double, but for four consecutive races.

Pick 6 — The biggest bet you can make. Pick the winning horse in six consecutive races. If you win, you win big.

If no one picks all six winners, those picking 5 out of 6 will split 30% of the Pick Six pool. The remaining 70% “carries over” to the next racing day, and will continue to do so each day until someone correctly chooses 6 winners out of 6 races.

Watch and Win

After placing your bet, watch your horse run. If your horse comes in the money, sweet! But don’t plan on buying a private jet just yet. Wait until the race has been declared “official”. Then collect your winnings at any window.

Automated Betting Machines

Once you’re familiar with placing bets, you can try using one of the self-service, automated machines. These easy-to-use machines are available at every track and offer simple directions on how to bet or collect money from a winning ticket. Easy peasy.

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