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Many horse racing fans are also bettors. Why wouldn’t they be? After all, the only thing better than indulging in your favorite hobby is being able to make a profit from it. Still, the specific terminology used at racetracks for various types of bets can be quite daunting.


Here is a quick guide to some common horse racing betting terms that will ensure you know exactly what you’re doing with your money.


Quick Guide To Key Horse Racing Betting Terms



This is the simplest type of bet. You select a horse, place some money on it, and if that horse wins, you collect a profit that is based on whatever odds your horse had at post time for the race.


Let’s use the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Classic as an example. The winner, Flightline, who was the favorite, went off at odds of approximately .44-1, meaning that anyone who cashed a winning ticket on Flightline earned a profit of $.44 for every dollar they wagered on him.




These are similar to win bets, except that the horse does not have to come in first. To cash in on a place bet, the horse must finish first or second; for the show, the horse must come in first, second, or third. However, you will end up with a lower winning payout on a place or show bet even if your horse finishes first.


Looking back at the Breeders’ Cup Classic, we see that second-place finisher Olympiad went off at odds of approximately 27-1, but those odds only reflect what he’d have paid out if he had won. Instead, a place bet on Olympiad returned approximately six dollars for every dollar wagered; a show bet on Olympiad would have returned a little more than $3.50 per dollar.



Exacta/Trifecta/Superfecta/Super High 5

These are ways to bet multiple horses for multiple finish positions in the same race. An exacta involves picking the first two finishers; likewise, a trifecta is a bet on the first three, a superfecta on the first four, and a super high 5 on the first five.


A Flightline-Olympiad exacta returned nearly $18.00 per dollar bet. A Flightline-Olympiad-Taiba trifecta paid over $83.00 per dollar bet. Adding Rich Strike in fourth made the return over $691.00 per buck, and having Life Is Good in fifth after they earned a $1.00 bettor a cool $1894.00 in profit.


There’s a lot of money to be made on this type of wager, but you have to decide the finish of not just one horse, but multiple horses.



Boxed Exacta/Trifecta/Superfecta/Super High 5

One way to make these wagers easier to attain is to box them. This means that you pick the horses involved, but not their precise finish positions.


If someone had bet a straight exacta on Olympiad and Flightline in that order, they’d have lost. However, if they had boxed the exacta, as long as those horses were the top two finishers, they’d have made a profit.


However, because in boxing the exacta the bettor is increasing the amount of possible winning situations, the bets cost more. A betting calculator is a great tool for determining the total cost of a multi-horse wager.




In some races, a bettor is sure of the winner but has multiple selections for who will finish behind that horse. Therefore, they may wish to key the horse they select to win, locking that horse into the win position while keeping their options open for place and show.


Many punters felt this way about the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Flightline was considered a lock to win, but few could agree on who would finish behind him. They would then key Flightline above their multitude of options for second and third.



Daily Double/Pick 3, 4, 5, 6

These types of wagers involve picking winners for more than one race. Usually, these races are consecutive races on a card, but for some special events, two non-consecutive races are coupled.


One example of this is the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. If a bettor had selected Forte in the Juvenile in addition to Flightline, they would have won more than $12.00 per dollar bet.




This is every bettor’s favorite word- it refers to the amount of money they get when they cash a winning ticket!


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