Major Horse Racing Bets

As with many sports, in horse racing there are a number of different bets you can place on the outcome of a particular event. Many of these are very straightforward, such as the win bet, but some are a little more complicated. A lot of people who enjoy horse racing betting will stick to simple wagers and ignore the more advanced bets that are typically much harder to get right. However, the advanced bets will generally offer much more in the way of potential winnings and can be very lucrative indeed.

The terms used for the different types of bets vary a little, depending on what part of the world you live in. Below, we have listed the most commonly-used types of horse racing bets and have provided a description of what they are in essence. Some of these bets are traditionally the sort you would only have been able to place with parimutuel betting, but these days most online horse racing betting sites offer a full range of them as well. Horse racing bets can be broadly divided into the following three categories:

  • Straight Bets
  • Exotic Bets
  • Multiple Bets

Straight Bets

Straight bets are straightforward wagers that can be placed on the outcome of a horse race. These are the most commonly-placed bets and are usually offered by any bookmaker or betting firm. Generally speaking, if you are new to horse racing betting, it's a good idea to stick to these bets in the beginning.

Win Bet

This is without doubt the most popular bet in horse racing. The term "win bet" is universal, meaning the same everywhere. Quite simply, you are betting on which horse you think will win the race. If your horse does win, you get to collect. If it doesn't, your bet loses. This bet is sometimes referred to as "betting on the nose."

Place Bet

The place bet is another very simple bet, but it has slightly different conditions depending on where you are. In America, with a place bet you are betting that your chosen horse will come either first or second, so you get a return provided that your horse finishes in the first two places. In most other parts of the world, a place bet is when you are betting that your chosen horse will finish "in the places." This is a board term used to describe the positions that result in place bet payouts, and the number of positions depends on how many horses are in the race.

As an example, if there were between five and seven horses running, then the top two positions would be "in the places." If there were between eight and fifteen horses running, then the top three positions would be "in the places." For races with sixteen horses or more, the top four positions are "in the places." These numbers are general guidelines, and the exact conditions can vary depending on the type of race and location. Place bets offer lower payouts than win bets, but they obviously have a better chance of earning a return.

Show Bet

This is a type of bet used in horse racing in America, a bet that your chosen horse will place in the top three positions. The potential payouts are lower than a place bet.

Across the Board

This is another type of bet used in America. It's basically three bets combined into one: a win bet, a place bet, and a show bet. If your chosen horse wins the race, then all three parts of the bet pay out. If your chosen horse comes in second, just the place and show parts of the bet pay out. If it comes in third, only the show part of the bets pay out. If it finishes outside the top three positions, the bet is a loser.

This is a good bet to make if you want to try and get the higher returns a win bet offers but still want a pay out if the horse finishes second or third. A $5 across the board bet will actually cost you $15, because it's essentially three separate bets on the win, place, and show.

Each Way Bet

The each way bet is a combination of a win and place bet used in most other parts of the world. Your total bet is effectively divided into two halves: half of it going on your chosen horse to win and half on your chosen horse to place. If your horse wins, both halves of the bet pay out. If your horse finishes in the places, just the place half of the bet pays out.

Exotic Bets

Exotic bets are wagers that are a bit more complicated than the straight bets mentioned above and are harder to get right. The upside of these bets is that if you do get one right, you can usually expect a good return on your initial stake.

Exacta Bet

An exacta bet requires you to predict the two horses that will finish in the first two positions. To collect on the bet, you must get both horses right and in the correct order. An exacta bet is also known by the following names: perfecta bet, exactor bet, and dual forecast.

Trifecta Bet

This wager goes one step further than the exacta bet. To win, you need to correctly predict the three horses that will finish in the top three places in the right order. This bet is also known as a triactor bet and a tricast bet.

Reverse Exacta

A reverse exacta is similar to the exacta, but you don't need to get the horses in the right order. As long as you correctly predict which two horses will finish in the top two places, you can collect. The reverse exacta is also known by the following names: reverse perfecta, reverse exactor, reverse forecast, and quinella.

Reverse Trifecta

A reverse trifecta is a bet on which horses will finish in the top three places, in any order. If your three chosen horses all finish in the top three, you can collect on this wager. The reverse trifecta is also known as a reverse triactor or a combination tricast.

Multiple Bets

The exotic bets mentioned above are sometimes referred to as multiple bets, because they involve making multiple selections in one race. However, the term multiple bet technically refers to a wager in which you make multiple selections across different races. The bets listed below are examples of multiple bets.

Double Bet

This is basically a two win bet on two different races combined into one bet. You would select a horse in each race, and if both win their respective races, you can collect on your bet. The odds will effectively be those of your two selections multiplied together, and you can win decent money with double bets. They are, of course, harder to get right than single win bets.

Treble Bet

This is an extension of the double bet. You must select a horse in three different races, and you need each to win their race to collect on the bet.

Accumulator or Parlay

These terms are used for a bet involving four or more selections of winning horses in different races. As with a double or treble bet, all of your selections must win their races in order for you to collect.

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