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Horse Racing Betting Guide

The first thing to know about betting on horse racing is that the odds are based on a parimutuel system.  Unlike casino gambling, the bettors are playing against each other, not the "house".  Before the advent of parimutuel wagering, horse race betting was done with bookmakers, or "Bookies". 

Under the parimutuel system, all players are betting against each other rather than the house. Once betting starts, the odds are determined by dividing the pool of all money bet by the amount of money bet on each horse in each betting category – win, place, show, exactas and so on. Before the odds are calculated, the race track takes a percentage and taxes are deducted. The total of all deductions from the pool depends on the track and the type of bet. At most tracks the deduction from the win, place and show pools are significantly less than the deductions from the exotic wagering pools for bets such as exactas, daily doubles and triples.

So, to make money at the racetrack you have to be a better handicapper than the other gamblers you are playing against.  You need to look at the odds and determine if a particular horse provides a betting value based upon your handicapping.

Types Of Horse Racing Bets

    Learn about Handicapping Strategy
Win If you bet a horse to win, the horse must come in 1st place.
Place If you bet a horse to place, the horse must come in 1st or 2nd.
Show If you bet a horse to show, the horse must come in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd.
Exacta You have to pick the 1st and 2nd place horses in the race.     MORE EXACTA INFO
Trifecta You have to pick the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place horses in the race.MORE TRI INFO
Superfecta You have to pick the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place horses in the race.
Daily Double You must pick the winners of two consecutive races, usually the 1st and 2nd race.
Pick 3 You must pick the winners of three consecutive races.
Pick 4 You must pick the winners of four consecutive races.
Pick 6 You must pick the winners of six consecutive races.
Box A "Box" is a term that is usually applied to exactas, trifectas, and superfectas.
  If you liked horses #1 and #7 in a race and wanted to play a $2 exacta, you would
  ask for a $2 Exacta Box on #1 and #7.  The bet would cost you $4 and give you
  a ticket with exacta combinations for 1-7, and 7-1.  If you wanted to use 3 horses
  in a $2 exacta box, it would cost you $12 and give you 6 combinations.  By adding
  horse #2 to the above example, you would ask for a $2 exacta box on 1,2, and 7.
  Your exacta box ticket would have the following combinations:
  1-2, 1-7, 2-1, 2-7, 7-1, 7-2   The same principle applies to trifectas and superfectas
  but the cost of the ticket rises exponentially as more horses are added.
  Number Of Horses
  2 3 4 5 6 7 8
$2 Exacta Box $4 $12 $24 $40 $60 $84 $112
$2 Trifecta Box   $12 $48 $120 $240 $420 $672
$2 Superfecta Box     $48 $240 $720 $1,680 $3,360