What Is a Daily Double?

A Daily Double provides horse racing bettors with the opportunity of increased winnings compared to normal win, place, and show bets. To win, you must pick the winners of two races in a row that are specified on the program as Daily Double races. You can usually win a larger amount of money with a Daily Double than if you were simply picking the winner of a single race.

Daily Double Bet

Horse racing stands as a sport which has always possessed a strong wagering element to it. It’s a sport that’s been in existence for hundreds of years, and for pretty much all of that time span, people have been betting on the races.

To the sport’s newcomers, the system of betting can be a bit confusing. They might know how to bet a horse to win a race, but their knowledge might not go further than that. Many people get intimidated by all of the different terminology associated with betting on horse racing, and they stay away for that reason.

But all it really takes is a quick tutorial to show you the ins and outs of just about any horse racing wager you can make. That goes for straight bets, which include just a single horse in a single race. But that also goes for exotic bets, which include multiple horses over a single or even multiple races.

Winning a Daily Double Horse Racing Bet

The Daily Double stands as perhaps the most popular of all exotic wagers. It may be because the concept is so simple. To win a Daily Double, you have to pick two winning horses, usually consecutively on a given program.

That might sound easy in theory, but winning a Daily Double takes some skill and, sometimes, a little bit of luck. You have to know how to handicap the races and come out with the horse that will win the race. And you have to do that in two consecutive races, which narrows your odds considerably.

Those odds get particularly difficult when the number of horses in the races set up for the Daily Double is particularly high. That’s why you can usually expect to win a decent amount of money when you pull off this wager successfully. In fact, Daily Double horse betting can pay you hundreds or, on rare occasions, thousands of dollars for just a small wager.

To increase your odds, you can include multiple horses within each particular race of the Daily Double on your ticket. Of course, the more horses you include, the higher the amount you have to bet. And raising your bet raises your risk and cuts down on your potential profit.

You also have to keep in mind that most tracks only have Daily Double races once or twice per day. For that reason, track officials will often try to designate their most evenly-matched fields for the Daily Double races, making it even harder for you to diagnose the winner. But the financial reward might make up for the difficulty, whether you’re betting at the track or on a top gambling website.

In the following article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the horse racing wager known as the Daily Double. We’ll explain how to bet Daily Doubles, how you can make the bet online or with a betting teller, what your costs and potential payback might be, and how that’s determined. Finally, we’ll explore some betting strategies that will improve your chances of winning the Daily Double.

How Daily Double Bets Work

The Daily Double stands as one of the most popular bets within a larger group of wagers known as exotics. Exotics separate themselves from other horse racing bets by including more than one horse that has to perform as you predict. Because of that requirement, your odds for winning an exotic bet are narrower than if you were picking just a single horse in a single race.

Of course, longer odds mean you have a chance to win more money on a single bet. That’s the main lure of exotic wagers for horse racing bettors. If you hit a couple of exotics a day, you can expect to make a profit even if you lost a bunch of others.

Daily DoubleMany exotic wagers take place during a single race. The exacta, trifecta, and superfecta wagers require you to pick the first two, three, and four finishers in a race, respectively. They also pay much better than win, place, or show, which are also known as straight bets.

The Daily Double is an exotic wager as well, but it takes place over two races. And the basic gist of it is that you have to pick two consecutive winners at the same track. If both of the horses that you pick win, you win the bet.

For example, imagine that you picked a 2-4 Daily Double at a specific track. To win that wager, first you would need the #2 horse to win the first race designated for the Daily Double. Then, you would need #4 to win the second race.

Except on rare occasions (which we’ll tell you about later), you will not win the Daily Double if only one of the two horses wins. If you’re a football bettor, you might recognize a similar requirement in a two-team parlay. In that case, you need both of the teams on which you wagered to cover their bet or else you lose the whole bet.

It’s important to note that most tracks limit their Daily Double wagering to only certain races on the card. For example, a track might include an Early Daily Double, often on the first two races of the day. Then, they might also include a Late Daily Double, usually including the last two races.

Some tracks include more Daily Double races throughout their programs. It’s generally up to staff management. But the bottom line is that you can’t make a Daily Double wager unless the races you’re planning on including are designated by the track to be part of a Daily Double.

You should also be aware that, to win Daily Double horse betting, you must have the official winner of each race.

Note that there are times when a horse will come across the line in first but may not be deemed the official winner. Judges or stewards at the track may occasionally disqualify a horse based on its actions during the race.

For that reason, you might be able to win a Daily Double even if your horse comes across the line second as long as the first-place finisher has been disqualified. That’s one of the reasons why you should never give up on a bet until a race is complete. Only when you see the word “official” on the screen, accompanied by prices for the winning wagers, can you assume that the wager has been settled.

You also have to realize that you must pick both halves of the Daily Double before the first race is held. In other words, you can’t pick the first race, wait to see if you’ve won or lost, then pick the second. Both picks have to be prior to the beginning of the first half.

Special Daily Double Races

Most of the time, Daily Doubles will consist of two races back-to-back on the same racing program. For example, the Early Daily Double might be races 1 and 2. Or the Late Daily Double could be races 3 and 4.

Occasionally, you might run across a special Daily Double that’s included as part of a track’s wagering fare. In these cases, the Daily Double races might be separated on the program. And, on special occasions, the Daily Double might consist of two races that are held on different days.

For Example:

The Kentucky Derby, which is the most famous race in America, is held on the first Saturday in May each year at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. It features three-year-old, mostly male horses. And the day before that, Churchill Downs hosts the Kentucky Oaks. That race is the equivalent of the Kentucky Derby but is restricted to three-year-old female horses.

Since those races are tied in together so closely, Churchill Downs traditionally offers an Oaks-Derby Daily Double. You have to pick the winners of both races and have your bet laid down before the beginning of the Oaks on Friday. That’s one example of a Daily Double that takes place over multiple days, not just multiple races.

How to Make a Daily Double Wager

There are different ways to get a bet Daily Doubles on horse races. You can make your bet in person at a track or at an off-track wagering (OTW) facility. Or you can do it online at one of the many top gambling websites that cater to horse racing.

If you do it online and wish to make a Daily Double wager, you’re still generally restricted to the races that are designated by the track in question for that purpose. To make the bet, you’ll need to create an account at the site you’re planning to use. You can then go to the page for horse racing and use the different links to get to where you need to go.

The good thing about doing your horse racing wagering online is that you won’t have to worry about the pressure of anybody else waiting in line behind you or anything like that. You can take your time and be extra careful that you make the bet as intended.

If you choose to go to a track or OTW facility to do the betting in person, you can still use a self-bet kiosk and get a similar experience as Daily Double betting online. But some people are a little wary of technology. Should you fall into that category, you can always do your thing at a teller window.

Tellers are the employees who take care of the betting information for you. You tell them the specifics of your wager and pay them the amount you want to bet. They, in turn, will print out a ticket for you with all of the information about your bet. If you win the bet, you then bring the ticket back to them. They will pay you the amount you’ve won. It’s as simple as that.

But first, you need to know what to tell them when you walk up to the window. Here’s an example of what a sample Daily Double bet might sound like:

“At Santa Anita, Race #1, I’d like to bet $2 on the 3-5 Daily Double.”

In that sentence, you provided the five pieces of information the teller will need.

  • The track you’ll be betting
  • The race you’ve chosen
  • The horses you predict will win
  • The amount of money you’ll be betting
  • The type of bet you’re making

You have told them the track (Santa Anita) and the race number (#1). You don’t have to say both races for the Daily Double, since they will be able to assume that, if the first race is #1, the second race is #2.

You’ve also given them the numbers of the horse that you want to bet (the #3 in the first and the #5 in the second). Keep in mind, you should always tell them the numbers of the horses you want to bet and not the names. There’s no way a teller can know the names of every horse in every race that can be bet at any given time. Besides, they punch in the numbers for your ticket.

The $2 wager is the minimum amount usually allowed in horse racing. You can probably get away without including that piece of information, as the teller will likely assume it will be $2 unless you tell them otherwise. But it’s still a good idea to be clear.

Odds and Payback for Daily Double Bets

Many people believe that the odds for a Daily Double are based on the win odds for the horses involved. For example, you might assume that if you pick favorites to win both races, your odds for the Double would be short. And, if you go with a pair of long shots and they win, you might expect that a big payoff is coming your way.

While those are pretty good educated guesses, you should realize that there’s no relation between win betting and Daily Double betting. Both belong to separate betting pools. And betting pools are at the heart of horse racing’s wagering system, also known as pari-mutuel wagering.

Pari-mutuel wagering doles out winnings based on the amount of money that has been wagered on a specific bet. Fewer bets on a specific outcome make for higher payoffs and vice versa. In addition, your odds on a specific bet won’t be settled until the race begins and all the money is in.

So, how does pari-mutuel wagering work in tandem with a Daily Double bet? Well, let’s take a look at an example.

Imagine there was a total of $5,000 bet on a Daily Double race at a particular track. The first thing that happens is that the track takes their cut. That comes in the form of the takeout, which is represented by a percentage of a particular pool.

Let’s say that the takeout for Daily Double wagers at this track sits at 20%. Right off the bat, $1,000 of the $5,000 wager will be taken out, since $1,000 is 20% of $5,000.

That leaves $4,000 in the Daily Double pool. Of that, $200 has been placed on a 2-3 Daily Double. To figure out the odds, divide $4,000 by $20. You end up with 200, which means that the odds on that particular Daily Double is 200 to 1.

If you made a $2 wager on that combination, you would end up getting $400 back in return, plus your $2 wager. After all, 200 to 1 means you’ll get back $200 for every dollar you bet.

Most tracks don’t include a Daily Double odds page as part of their broadcasting to bettors, at least before the first race. But you can know what your payout will be before the second part of the Double if you’ve already completed the first part. You’ll see a page with the number of the winning horse, followed by the numbers of the possible second winner in the Double.

It will look something like this:

Daily Double Odds

  • 1: 10-1
  • 2: 25-1
  • 3: 40-1
  • 4: 8-1
  • 5: 12-1
  • 6: 75-1

What that is letting you know is that #2 won the first half of the Daily Double. If #1 fills out the second half, it will pay off at 10 to 1. The #2 in the second half would pay 25 to 1, #3 at 40 to 1, and so on. When you see a chart like this, it will remove the guesswork out of what you will get paid once you have that first leg out of the way.

One other thing to consider when you making Daily Double bets is that you don’t necessarily have to make those bets with $2 all the time. That’s just the minimum. If you choose, you can bet more than that.

Your pay would then be measured by your base bet. For example, imagine that you wanted to bet $5 on a Daily Double. Let’s say that you pick the right numbers and the payoff listed on the board is $12.

Remember that the payouts that are listed on the board are always based on a $2 wager. Doing a little math will show you that the Daily Double in this case paid out at odds of 5 to 1, since there was $10 profit returned on a $2 wager. You can then apply those odds of 5 to 1 to your $5 bet and know that you’ll receive $25 on top of your original bet for winning.

You don’t have to do any of this math either. If you’re betting in person, the math will be done by the telling machine and it will calculate your payout. The same goes for when you’re Daily Double betting online.

But it’s always a good idea to learn how horse racing bets are paid out. That way, you can know for sure which wagers are the best for you as a bettor.

Winning a Daily Double With Just One Horse Correct

On rare occasions, you might get away with winning a Daily Double even if you only pick one of two winners. The payouts are based on pools. If there’s a particular combination for the Double with no bets on it, that pool doesn’t exist and can’t be paid.

As an example, let’s imagine that you bet a 1-3 Daily Double. The #1 horse wins the first race, but #9 wins the second race. Usually, that would mean a loss.

But what if #9 was such a long shot that nobody included it in their Daily Double wagers? The track would still have to pay something out to bettors after their takeout. What they would do is pay off to everyone who had the #1 in the first half of the Double, regardless of who they had in the second half.

You would get paid for your 1-3 bet. Of course, it also means those who bet 1-2, 1-4, 1-5, and so on would get paid as well. As a result, your pay would probably be much less substantial than you would normally expect for a Daily Double, but at least you would get something.

Strategies for Betting the Daily Double

As far as handicapping horses to decide who might win a particular race included in a Daily Double bet, there are many ways to do that. It can depend on what type of horse racing you’re betting, whether it’s Thoroughbred or harness or jump racing. There are many different variables that go into it, variables which you can learn about here.

As far as a Daily Double bet is concerned, there are a number of different ways to increase your chances of winning. When you do this, you’re generally going to have to increase the size of your wager. But you’ll give yourself more of an opportunity to possibly collect a significant payout.

Here are some of the top strategies you can utilize to help your chances of winning a Daily Double wager.

Keying a Horse

Let’s say that you look at the races included in a particular Daily Double and see one race where you think there’s a single horse that stands above the rest. But, in the other, you can’t decide between several horses. That’s the perfect opportunity to key a horse.

By “keying a horse,” we mean that you will use it in every possible Daily Double combination. Let’s say that you like #1 in the first race. In the second race, you have it narrowed it down to #2, #4, #6, and #8.

You can key #1 with #2, #4, #6, and #8. That will give you exposure to all of those combinations. In other words, you would win if any of the following combinations came in:

  • 1-2
  • 1-4
  • 1-6
  • 1-8

Needless to say, you have to pay for each of these wagers. A key with four horses used in the other part would cost you $8. After all, there are four combinations each at $2 apiece.

The easiest way to figure out how much a keyed bet will cost is to multiply the amount of horses involved in the race where you’re covering multiple bets by 2.

One Horse and All

HorseThis is similar to a keyed bet but takes it a little farther. Let’s say that you’re pretty sure of a particular horse winning the first race of a Daily Double. You could conceivably play that horse and every other horse in the second half of the Double.

Why would you do this? Well, it could be that you feel so good about the horse in the first race that you want to ensure yourself of a Daily Double win. No matter what horse comes in the second race, you will get the win.

It also gives you the chance to benefit if a surprising horse comes in the second half of the Double. Sometimes, if you only key a horse with a few others, you’ll leave out some long shots. If one of those long shots comes in, not only will you lose the bet, but you’ll miss out on the biggest potential payouts.

That’s where an ALL bet comes in handy. If you get lucky enough to pair the sure thing with a surprising horse, you’re likely to win big. If not, you’ll still be winning the Double as long as you get the second horse right.

What might scare people off about this strategy is the cost. Your cost for the bet, at the minimum $2 level, would be 2 multiplied by the number of horses in the second race. In other words, you are looking at:

  • Six Horses: $12
  • Seven Horses: $14
  • Eight Horses: $16
  • Nine Horses: $18
  • Ten Horses: $20

And on it would go. If two favorites come in, you run the risk of a payout that’s lower than what you originally bet. In addition, you’ll take a bigger hit if the horse that you thought was the sure bet loses.

Keep in mind that an “all” strategy can be used on either end of the Daily Double. In other words, if you were sure of a horse in the second half of the Double, you could pair it with all of the horses in the first half. (Keyed bets can also be used on either end as well.)

Multiple Horses in Each Race

This is a somewhat expensive method of Daily Double wagering, but it can be the right way to play if you feel strongly about certain horses in each race. Wagering in this manner can also let you “throw out” horses in each race. In other words, if there are horses you think have absolutely no chance of winning, you can eliminate them.

Betting multiple horses in each race will bring the cost of your bets up. You just have to decide what’s cost effective for you while still giving yourself the best chance of winning.

For example, imagine that you can narrow it down to #1 and #5 in the first race, then to #1, #2, and #4 in the second race of the Daily Double. You can include all of those horses on your ticket and it would cost $12.

How do you know that? Well, think of all of the possible winning combinations:

  • 1-1
  • 1-2
  • 1-4
  • 5-1
  • 5-2
  • 5-4

There are six combinations, which multiplied by the $2 minimum, comes to $12. To short-hand this process, you can multiply the number of horses you want to include in the first race by the number of horses you want to include in the second race, then multiply that by $2.

Let’s try an example that way. Imagine that you want to include four horses on your Daily Double ticket from the first race and five horses from the second race.

4 times 5 times $2= $40

Test Your Skills at Daily Double Wagering

Does a Daily Double Bet Always Give You the Chance to Win a Lot of Money?

Not necessarily. You might end up with a modest payout if a lot of other people play the same combination as you.

What Is an “All” Bet?

It means you’re betting a Daily Double where you pick one horse in one race and all of the horses in the other.

How Much Will a Daily Double Bet Cost You If You Want to Include Three Horses in the First Race and Four Horses in the Second Race?

$24 (3 times 4 times $2).

Conclusion on Daily Double Horse Racing Bets

Daily Double wagering provides some excitement for people bored with just betting a single race at a time. That excitement really builds if you get the first race right. You go into that second race knowing you’re still alive for a potentially big payoff.

Of course, winning a Daily Double isn’t easy. But it can be much more doable than other types of horse racing bets that require more things to go right. And, by using the right strategies, you can really give yourself a legitimate chance of cashing in a winning Daily Double ticket.