Betting on the outcome of horse races can be fun and profitable and is still massively popular in many parts of the globe. In today’s horse racing betting landscape, punters will enjoy greater convenience of the bet placement and a wide variety of betting platforms to decide between, which makes wagering on the sport all the more attractive.

Naturally, while punters are at the track or are placing their wagers over the Internet, they want to be free from doubt that they are in the best position of winning. As it turns out, punters find it challenging to determine the best way to wager on horse racing or how to tell the difference between the straight and exotic wagers.

When the variety of horse racing bets is concerned, punters will be presented with a considerable assortment of options to decide between, as there are wagers that cover just one race and such that tie in several selections. Because of this, it is ill-advisable to jump in and start placing real-money bets off the cuff. In this article, we will provide a breakdown of the exotic and straightforward bet types punters might be given a choice from.

Straight Horse Racing Bets

Straight bets are also referred to as traditional horse race bets, and are the most frequently used wager types by bettors who are interested in wagering on horse races. It is easy to see why most punters, especially the inexperienced ones, prefer to stick to these wager types as straight bets are much more straightforward than exotic wagers.

Win Bets

The least complicated of all horse racing bet types is the win bet. It is the most appealing wager type for many gambling enthusiasts, and there is a good reason why, as placing such a bet merely involves picking the horse you think will win the race. Yet, picking the horse that is above all others might seem like a walk in the park, but punters should remember that win bets are the most challenging to hit when compared to the other straight horse racing bets.

If the horse gambling enthusiasts have picked is first past the post, they will get a payout, which will be determined by the staked amount and the odds at which the bet is made. Naturally, punters will lose the staked amount if the horse they have picked does not finish first in the race.

Speaking about payouts, fans of horse racing betting should be aware that the way their potential returns will be calculated might vary between the sports betting sites because, while some bookies offer fixed-odds betting, others rely on the pari-mutuel system. Seeing bookmakers that offer payouts based on the opening prices is not excluded as well.

Place Bets

While making a place bet, gambling aficionados are required to choose a horse they think will finish first or second in the race. Since the horse needs to finish in one of the top two positions for punters to win, gambling enthusiasts will have better chances of making a correct pick when compared to win bets, for example. Because of this, the returns winning place bets offer are not that thumping.

An important thing gambling aficionados should keep in mind is that even if the horse they have picked wins the race, they will not be paid at the rate win bets pay.

Punters should remember that place bets will only be offered, provided that there are at least five contenders in the race they want to have a flutter on. Thus, if the contenders are four or fewer, sports bettors’ only option will be win bets.

If punters want to give the place bet a try, they should bear in mind that the rules according to which such wagers are placed might vary depending on the country they live in and the betting platform they are using the services of. Thus, on some occasions, place bets will win, provided that the horse finishes in one of the top places. The number of top places will vary based on the number of contenders in the race and the type of the race.

Show Bets

As compared with the place and win bet, the show bet is the least challenging bet to get right. Betting that the horse will show means that it will finish first, second, or third in the race, which is to say that punters’ chances of making a correct guess are pretty strong. Because of this, such bets pay less than the other traditional horse racing bet types.

In order for punters to place show bets, they should look for races in which there are at least eight contenders.

Across the Board

This wager type is not that widely available, but if punters happen to find a horse racing betting site, which offers this option, they should know that they will be allowed to tie in a place, win, and show bets. It is important to note that these three straight bets should all be placed on the same horse, and if the horse wins the race, punters will be offered a payout for all three parts of the across-the-board bet. Yet, if the horse takes the second position, gambling enthusiasts will only be paid for their show and place bets. If the horse ranks third, however, the show bet will be the only one to pay.

Each Way Bet

While placing an each-way bet, punters will effectively combine win and place bets into a single bet. Thus, gambling enthusiasts are placing bets that the horse they have picked will win the race or will finish in one of the top two positions.

It is worth mentioning that if they want to make a $10 each-way bet on a horse, punters will ultimately have to stake $20 because of the two selections such bets contain. In the event that both picks are correct, punters will get payouts for the win and place bets. Yet, if just one part of the wager hits, gambling aficionados will collect the respective payout. If the horse does not finish in the places, punters will lose the staked amount.

Exotic Horse Racing Bets

Punters who are ready to try their hand at more advanced horse racing bet types will not be left without options as there is a slew of exotic wagers for them to decide between. While some exotic wagers take place within a single race, the outcome of others will be determined over the course of several events.

As the rules according to which horse racing bets are placed vary across the different parts of the world and the sports betting sites, punters should also remember that the names of some of the exotic bets might also differ. Thus, exacta bets might also be referred to as dual bets, trifecta bets are also known as tricast bets, while quinella bets might also go under the name reverse forecast.

Exacta Bets

While making exacta bets, gambling enthusiasts need to pick the horses they think will finish first and second in the race. Punters will only get a payout, given that they do not only get it right about the horses that will finish first and second and that they predict their correct order. It goes without saying that this makes it more challenging to win exacta bets when compared to merely picking a winner or winning a place or a show bet. Owing to this, the returns winning exacta bets offer are more whopping.

Most of the time, exacta bets will cost sports bettors $2, but their price might vary based on the bookie. As with most other exotic horse racing bet types, while making exactas, punters will be offered the opportunity to key such wagers. Boxing exacta bets might work best for bettors who are keen on wagering on horse racing when they are convinced that two of the horses are strong favorites, but they cannot decide about the order they will finish in. Thus, while boxing exactas, punters will cover multiple opportunities in a single bet.

Naturally, this opportunity comes at a cost, and the payouts box exacta bets provide are half of what regular exacta bets will offer.

Trifecta Bets

Trifectas are much the same as exactas, and as the name suggests, punters need to predict the horses that will take the top three positions. In order for trifecta bets to win, gambling enthusiasts should make an accurate forecast about the order in which the horses will run by the post. Because of the larger number of selections punters will make, the amount they will be required to put at a stake will be larger when compared to exacta bets, for example.

Making an accurate prediction about the horses that will take the top three positions and their exact order will not be a walk in the park, and the enormous payouts such bets offer when they hit go to prove this. As with exacta bets, punters can box their trifecta bets, but what they should take into account is that the returns will be twice less than what regular trifectas offer.

Superfecta Bets

Making a superfecta bet involves predicting the top four horses in the race, which is even harder than making an accurate prediction about the horses that will finish in the top two or three positions. As is the case with the above-mentioned exotic wagers, when placing a superfecta bet, punters should focus on the correct order in which the horses will finish the race, which is to say that they should not expect to win such bets on a regular basis. If punters get it right about superfecta bets, they will be in for a considerable bankroll boost.

Boxing superfectas is an option punters might be provided with, but what they should keep in mind is that taking advantage of it will not come cheap because of the greater range of combinations.

Daily Double

If punters are interested in placing exotic wagers but do not want to focus on a single race, the daily double bets might measure up to their requirements. A horse racing daily double bet is placed on the winners of two consecutive races, and as it turns out, this is one of the most preferred exotic bets. The appeal of this exotic horse racing bet can be ascribed to the fact that it can conceivably bring gambling enthusiasts some handsome payouts for a relatively small stake.

Formerly, punters were only allowed to go for early daily doubles on the first two races in a program but today, most tracks offer this opportunity for every two consecutive races. It is also not excluded to find horse race betting platforms that offer rolling daily double bets. What makes these bets stand out from the crowd is that they continue through the card for every race but the last one.

Pick 3

The pick 3 horse racing bet expands the concept on which the daily double bet is based because gambling aficionados will be required to pick the winners in three consecutive races on a particular program.

Needless to say, pick 3 bets offer more generous payouts in comparison with straight bets that are placed on one horse. In spite of the fact that the payouts might go through the roof, punters should remember getting pick 3 bets right will be tough to achieve.

Pick 4

Pick 4 bets also rely on the concept of choosing the winners in several races in a row, and as the name implies, this time, gambling enthusiasts should focus on four events. On most occasions, such wagers will cost punters around $2, but this will not necessarily be the case with all betting platforms. That being said, punters should be rather careful while making such bets because they can use their entire bankroll in an attempt to get it right about such wagers.

Pick 6

Pick 6 works in the exact same manner as the previous two bet types, and all gambling enthusiasts need to do in order to place such a bet is to pick the winners of six consecutive races prior to the beginning of the first selection the ticket contains.

Naturally, the more races punters decide to add to their bet, the harder it becomes to get it right. Because of the greater risk pick 3 and beyond wagers carry, some tracks attempt to make such betting opportunities more appealing for punters by adding a jackpot element to them, offering a guaranteed amount, or allow it to carry over until the wager hits.

Horse Racing Accumulator Bets

Accumulator bets are a fan-favorite betting option among punters, fans of wagering on horse racing included. Such bets are only available at betting platforms that offer fixed-odds betting, which is to say that they are not that widely available in the US, where pool betting is more widespread.

Horse racing accumulator bets are multi-event wagers that contain several selections that should all be correct in order for gambling enthusiasts to get a balance boost. Accumulator bets are among the high-risk wagers, but the reason why punters prefer to place them is that the potential returns are not to be sneezed at. In order to determine what payout their accumulator bet can potentially offer, sports bettors need to multiply the odds of all selections they have tied in.


Quinella bets have a lot in common with exacta bets because when making such bets gambling enthusiasts will need to pick the two horses that will take the top two positions. The reason why quinella bets are not as challenging to get right as exacta bets is that punters should not focus on the correct order in which the horses they have bet on will cross the finish line.

Because of the increased chances of making a correct pick, winning quinella bets will pay at a lower rate than exacta bets. It is worth mentioning, however, that quinella bets are not as frequently found as the other exotic bet types.

Chances of Winning of the Horse Racing Bet Types

Bet TypeOdds of winningPossible scenarios
Show betVery highPunters only win if the horse finishes the race in the first, second, or third position. Show bets offer modest returns
Place betGoodPunters win if the horse takes the first or second position. Place bets offer more lucrative payouts than show bets
Win betAverageWins bets offer a payout if the horse punters have bet on wins the race. The payout that might come punters’ way depends on the win odds of the horse
QuinellaAverageQuinella bets win if punters make an accurate prediction of the horses that will take the top two positions, no matter the order. The offered payouts are lower when compared to other exotic bets
ExactaChallenging to winExacta bets win only if punters predict the two horses that will finish in the top two positions in exact order. High-risk bets that are not always lucrative as the returns are based on the horse’s odds
TrifectaVery challenging to winTrifecta bets win if punters predict accurately the first three horses to cross the finish line. Trifecta bets offer some truly handsome payout, but punters need a more sizeable bankroll if they want to add more selections
SuperfectaExtremely challenging to winPunters need to predict the top four horses in the race. Such bets offer thumping payouts, but punters need a sizeable bankroll to consistently place them
Daily DoubleHardPunters need to predict the winners in two consecutive races. Punters will stand the chance to collect more whopping payouts if they focus on mid-priced horses
Pick 3Very hardPunters bet on the winners on three consecutive races. The offered payouts might be enormous
Pick 4Extremely hardPunters bet on the winners of four consecutive races. Offer big returns for modest bet amounts
Pick 6Exceedingly difficultPunters bet on the winners of six consecutive races. The potential returns are massive, but such bets do not come cheap 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.