Horse Betting Basics
A "WIN" bet is just what it sounds like: betting that the horse you pick will win the race. You win if the horse wins.
For a horse to "PLACE" it must finish the race either first or second. This bet generally pays less than the win bet but it gives you two chances to win instead of just one.
For a horse to "SHOW" it must finish the race either first, second or third. This bet generally pays less than either the win or place bet, but it gives you three chances to get a return for your investment.
With this bet you must pick the first two finishing horses in the order of their finish. In other words, you must pick the horse that wins and the horse that finishes second.
A "box" on two or more horses in a race means taking all the possible combinations of those horses in each place of finish. If you have determined that two horses are the best in the race but you are not sure which one will win and which one will finish second, then the safest bet is to do the exacta box. You can box more than two horses, but it is very important to remember that with each additional horse you add to the box that the cost of the wager goes up substantially. The formula for calculating the cost of an exacta box is (horses in box x (horses in box minus 1) x dollar amount of bet). A $2 box of two horses would be (2 x 1 x 2) = $4. A $2 box of three horses would be (3 x 2 x 2) = $12. A $2 box of four horses would be (4 x 3 x 2) = $24. As you can see the cost of the exacta box increases greatly with each additional horse. Also remember that you can wager a $1 exacta box. This reduces the amount of your wager by 50% but also reduces your earnings by 50%.
With this bet you must pick the first three finishing horses in the order of their finish. In other words, you must pick the horse that wins, the horse that finishes second and the horse that finishes third. The simplest form of this wager is the Straight Trifecta, which is a single combination of the first three finishers. The minimum bet for a Straight Trifecta is $1. A Trifecta is not offered in all races at all tracks (refer to program). NOTE: This wager is also called the "Triple" at some tracks.
The trifecta box has a $1 minimum bet per combination -- $6 minimum total cost. You can box three or more horses on a single ticket and wager $1 (or more) on each combination.
Example: To purchase a $1 Trifecta Box using four horses, tell the clerk: "$1 Trifecta Box 11-2-3-4."
The following examples are for a $1 Trifecta Box:
3 horse box ( 6 combinations) Cost $ 6
4 horse box ( 24 combinations) Cost $ 24
5 horse box ( 60 combinations) Cost $ 60
6 horse box (120 combinations) Cost $120
7 horse box (210 combinations) Cost $210