Today, many punters grow interested in wagering on horse races, but many of them do not know their way around betting on such events, and sometimes, even diehard fans of the sport are not fully familiar with the various ways in which they can tear into betting on such events.

When gambling enthusiasts want to tackle some of the more complex bet types available when wagering on horse racing, they might be ready to go for wagers that cover several runners simultaneously, which is precisely the case with trifecta bets.

Because of the difficulty of correctly predicting the exact order in which the top three finishers will cross the finish line, the payouts winning trifecta bets promise to award can be quite lucrative. Thus, if gambling enthusiasts are looking to get a more sizeable return on their investment, trifecta bets are among the best options they have no matter if they are keen on wagering on virtual races or prefer the real thing.

The Ins and Outs of Trifecta Bets

As gambling enthusiasts might already know, not all bets they can decide between when wagering on horse races combine high-profit potential and simplicity. In spite of the fact that trifecta bets are not the most straightforward horse racing bet type, it is still among the most chosen options, and for a reason.

Trifecta bets are also known as triple, and such bets will be on the list of options gambling enthusiasts can select from not only when wagering on horse races but also when betting on greyhounds.

Making a trifecta bet involves selecting the first, second, and third-place finishers in the exact order. If the chosen selections finish in the order punters have picked, they will get a payout. If the horses finish outside the top three positions or cross the finish line in a different order from the one gambling enthusiasts have picked, their ticket will lose. The tricky part about these exotic bets is that even if just one of the selections punters have made turns out to be inaccurate, their trifecta bet will lose.

Let’s suppose that punters have decided to make a 2-5-6 trifecta bet. In order for this ticket to win, horse #2 should win the race, horse #5 should become a runner-up, while horse #6 should take third place. If punters’ prediction about the order of finish is accurate, they will get the respective payout. Yet, if we assume that horse #5 wins the race, while horses #2 and #6 take the second and third positions, for example, their ticket will lose.

Punters should remember that the outcome of their trifecta bets will be determined according to the official order of finish, which is to say that they should not give up on their bets too soon. Even if gambling aficionados see that a horse takes one of the top three positions, this runner might be disqualified or placed in another position under certain circumstances, which is to say that the official results are what they should look forward to seeing.

When making a trifecta bet, gambling enthusiasts will need some information, including the track and the race they will be betting, the numbers of the horses they will tie in their trifecta bet, and the amount of money they will put at a stake. Of course, they will also be asked to pick the bet type they want to go for.

No matter how appealing the returns winning trifecta bets promise to bring might be, punters should bear in mind that nominating the horses to come first, second, and third in their precise order can be difficult to achieve.

Types of Trifecta Bets

As we explained earlier, making a trifecta bet involves picking the runners that will make up the top three at the end of the race, and, most importantly, specifying the exact order in which they will cross the finish line. In fact, trifecta bets, along with exacta, superfecta, and daily double, are among the exotic bets that are offered for just about any race.

Before they give trifecta bets a shot, punters should know that there are several ways in which they can play these bets. Depending on their preferences, gambling enthusiasts can go for straight trifectas, box their trifecta bets, or opt for a trifecta wheel.

Straight Trifecta Bets

Unless they do not say otherwise or pick another option, tellers and the horse race betting platforms will assume that gambling enthusiasts want to play their trifecta bets straight. Straight trifecta bets work exactly in the way we described already, meaning that in order to cash such a bet, punters need to guess the three best finishers in the race in their exact order.

Bet TypeRequirements to winOdds of winning
TrifectaThe chosen horses must finish first, second, and third in the exact order in order for punters to get a payout.Very challenging to win

This means that such bets are one step further from exacta and quinella bets, and therefore, the risk punters need to take will be significantly higher. When making a straight trifecta bet, gambling enthusiasts need to specify the runners that will come first, second, and third, and they need to come precisely in that order in order for such bets to win.

If we go back to the 2-5-6 trifecta again, the only occasion on which this bet will be a winning one will be when horse #2 wins the race, horse #5 comes second, and horse #6 crosses the finish line third. Thus, even if the order in which the horses cross the finish line is 2-6-5, punters’ tickets will still be losing one. If gambling enthusiasts are looking for a way around this requirement, they should consider boxing their trifecta bet.

Trifecta Box

A common way of playing trifecta bets is to box the three horses punters have picked, and such bets are also known as combination tricasts. When compared to straight trifecta bets, their boxed counterparts are considerably easier to win, but their cost is higher because, in practice, gambling enthusiasts will make multiple bets at once. When boxing their trifecta bets, punters will effectively cover all possible finishing orders of the runners they have picked.

Thus, instead of backing just one finishing order at a time, punters will improve their chances of winning by covering all the orders in which the chosen three horses can make up the top three positions. Let’s suppose that gambling aficionados want to box a 6-1-4 trifecta bet, these are all occasions on which their ticket will bring them a payout:

  • 6-4-1
  • 6-1-4
  • 1-6-4
  • 4-1-6
  • 1-4-6
  • 4-6-1

As you can see, when boxing a trifecta bet, you will not cover just one possible but six instead of just one, meaning that getting a win will be far more likely. Punters should bear in mind that if they wish to box their trifecta bet, they will also be required to make a larger bet. In this case, since punters are effectively making six selections, their boxed trifecta bet will cost them $12. The returns gambling enthusiasts will be in for when making a boxed trifecta bet will not be reduced and will be the same as the ones straight trifecta bets award.

In the event that gambling enthusiasts are about to go for boxed trifecta bets, they should not consistently cover three horses as they will be allowed to increase the number of covered outcomes. Of course, the cost of their boxed trifecta bet will increase accordingly, and covering five runners, for example, might cost them $120.

In simple terms, the more horses punters tie in their boxed trifecta bet, the higher their chances of snatching a payout will be. This seems only logical, but what gambling enthusiasts should not forget is that when they add four or more horses to their boxed bet, its cost will go through the roof while the potential profit might be rather negligible. Not to mention that there are still occasions on which punters will lose, meaning that risking so much money might not be worth the risk at all.

Depending on the sports betting platform or the track punters have picked, they might be allowed to place a dollar box for a trifecta, which is to say that they will stake $1 per combination. As punters might expect, the reduced cost of the combinations will come at the expense of the returns they will get as they will be half the size of the regular payouts.

Trifecta Wheel

Going for boxed trifecta bets is not the only way to get such great coverage of the possible outcomes, as wheeling your bets is also an option. In fact, wheel trifecta bets fall into several categories, and full wheels are among the best-known and most widely used types. The full trifecta wheel is without a doubt the easiest as gambling aficionados need to select one of the runners to cross the finish line in a specific position and then tie in that selection with all other runners in the race.

Let’s assume that punters think that horse #5 is the runner with the best chances of winning the race, but they cannot say with confidence which horses will take the second and third places. In such cases, gambling enthusiasts can place a 5-all-all wheel trifecta bet. Based on the runners in the race, the cost of full-wheel trifecta bets will vary, and punters should keep in mind that each additional combination they add will cost them $2 more.

The number of combinations they will cover when making a full-wheel trifecta bet will be less than the ones they will cover when boxing their trifecta bet. Obviously, the only weak point of making full-wheel trifecta bets is that gambling aficionados’ choice is based on a single horse, and if that runner does not take the top position, they will lose the staked amount.

If they prefer, gambling enthusiasts can reduce the number of outcomes they will cover by partially wheeling their trifecta bet. In such cases, punters will be required to select the horse that stands the best chance of winning the race and then pick the horses that are odds-on to take the other two top positions. Let’s assume that horse #5 is the favorite, and the other three runners punters have picked are #2, #3, and #4, a partially wheeling their trifecta bet means that they will cover the following outcomes:

  • 5-2-4
  • 5-4-2
  • 5-3-4
  • 5-4-3
  • 5-2-3
  • 5-3-2

As you can see, the number of selections you will cover is reduced to six, which also translate into lower chances of winning. That being said, this approach is far more efficient because punters do not need to risk too much of their funds and put large amounts at a stake. Additionally, partially wheeling trifecta bets gives punters greater freedom because they will have the opportunity to structure their exotic wager in the way they prefer, and, most importantly, in the way they believe will bring them the best results.

When punters make one of the horses the top runner for all their selections and then surround it with different combinations of horses, they will key that runner.

Trifecta Payouts Explained

No matter if punters prefer the thrills and spills of betting on horse races over the Internet or at the track, when picking the outrigger winner of the race, they will see the odds of each runner in advance, which will give them an idea about their potential returns.

When making a trifecta bet, however, punters will not know their odds, and even the operator or the track cannot say for sure what the odds of winning will be for each combination a trifecta bet might be based around. Gambling enthusiasts might already know that horse race betting is based on the so-called pari-mutuel betting system, meaning that the returns punters will collect when making a winning bet will be based upon the size of the pools that are created for each bet type.

Let’s suppose that the trifecta bets that are placed on one of the races is $10,000, and the takeout of the bookmaker is 20%. Thus, the amount the bookmaker will collect will be $2,000, and the remaining funds that will be distributed between the winners will be $8,000. If we suppose that a total of $1,000 are staked on the 2-4-6 trifecta combination, this means that the odds for that specific combination will be 8 to 1 (8,000/1,000). Thus, if punters have placed a trifecta bet on these three runners and they cross the finish line in this order, they will get $8 for every $1 they put at a stake.

As we mentioned already, the base wager for trifecta bets is $2, but this does not mean that gambling enthusiasts should invariably stick to that bet amount. Still, going for a higher bet amount is only advisable when punters are confident in the picks they make.

Even though most tracks and betting sites allow gambling aficionados to put a minimum of $2 at a stake when making a trifecta bet, sometimes, they might be offered the chance to divide that amount between several selections. Thus, if they see that $0,50 trifectas are accepted, punters should not be left under the impression that they can stake that amount per bet as instead, they will need to make four combinations of $0,50 each in order to meet the minimum bet requirement.

Trifecta, Exacta, and Superfecta Bets Compared

The main difference between these three exotic bets is the number of selections gambling aficionados will be required to make. It is important to note that all the three bet types do not go beyond a single race, which is the case with some of the other exotic wagers gambling aficionados can select from.

When compared to the other two bet types, the exacta bet is the easiest to get right because gambling enthusiasts need to correctly predict the top two finishers in the race in their correct order. When placing a trifecta bet, punters need to assess the runners’ chances to finish in the top three in exact order.

Superfecta bets are, without a doubt, the most difficult to get right because gambling enthusiasts need to predict the top four finishers and, most importantly, the exact order in which they will cross the finish line. is a media website dedicated to sports news and reviews of the most popular sports betting sites. Here you will find comprehensive guides on where to bet on football, tennis, NBA, NFL and information about the most popular betting deposit methods.