Dennis Miller’s “Betting 101”


New to horse racing? Take a few tips from Dennis before heading to the betting window!


“Betting 101”

By Dennis Miller

Welcome to horse racing! We are very glad you are taking the time to learn more about one of the greatest sports in the world and want to do our part to help make your experience more fun, as well as successful!

The first thing you may be wondering is, “How do I make a bet?”

Good question. There are basic wagers, as well as more advanced methods. Let’s run through some of the basic language for wagering.

Here is some betting lingo/types of bets:

WIN: You bet on the horse you think will win the race. You collect money only if your horse wins the race.

PLACE: You are betting on the horse to win or finish second. You will collect money back if your horse comes in the first two places, but because the risk is less, the payouts are usually less than the win payout.

SHOW: Your horse must finish first, second or third in order for you to win the bet. Once again, the risk is less than a win bet so the payouts will almost always be less.

ACROSS THE BOARD: In this wager, you are betting our horse to win, place and show. The investment is greater – you are making three bets in one – but the rewards are greater well. For instance, if your horse wins the race, you collect the win, place and show money! If your horse finishes second, you collect the place and show money. Finally if your horse finishes third, you get the show money.
There are many more wagers available to bettors and these are called “exotic wagers.”

DOUBLE: You are betting on the winners of two consecutive races. The basic bet is for one horse in each race, but you can include multiple horses in each race. Each time another option is included in you wager, the cost increases.

QUINELLA: Betting the horses to come in first and second in either order.

EXACTA: Betting two horses to come in first and second in that exact order.

TRIFECTA: Betting three horses to come in first, second and third, in that exacta order.

SUPERFECTA: Betting four horses to come in first, second, third and fourth, in that exact order.

BOXES: If you have a number of horses you feel will finish in the top spots, but are not sure in what order, you can “box” the horses. Basically say in a Trifecta you like three horses but are not sure who will win, you can box them and as long as three horses finish in the top three spots, you win. But since you are increasing the possible chances to win, the cost of the bet is increasing as well. This type of betting can get expensive, but it does increase your chance of winning.

WHEEL: If you feel you know the winner of race, but are not sure who is going to finish second, third, fourth or fifth, you can “wheel” the horse which is when you have one horse to win, with every other horse in the race to finish behind. As long as your pick wins, you will win your bet. For instance, if you bet the No. 2 horse on top with all the other horses underneath as long as the No. 2 wins, you win!

KEY OR PART WHEEL: If you like one horse, but not all the other horses, you can pick one horse to win and then some of the other horses in the race underneath your winner. For instance, say you like the No. 2 to win and want to include the No. 3, 4 and 5 horses underneath, as long as No. 2 wins and the 3,4 and 5 run in the next three spots, you would win!

DOUBLE: You are betting on the winners of two consecutive races.

PICK THREE: Bet the winners of three consecutive races.

PICK FOUR: Bet the winner of four consecutive races.

PICK SIX: Picking the winner of five consecutive races.

SPREADING YOUR BETS: In dealing with the consecutive race wagering, the basic bet is for one horse in each race, but you can include multiple horses in each race. Each time another option is included in you wager, the cost increases.

Now that we have gone over the different types of bets, you are one step closer to becoming a horse player!! Walking up to the betting window is something that typically intimidates the new players. Don’t worry – it really is simple and by using the following steps, you can confidently place your wagers!!

FIRST: Say the name of the track.

SECOND: The race number.

THIRD: The amount of your bet. For Win, Place and Show wagers, the minimum amount is $2. You can usually play exotic wagers (for example, the Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta, Pick 3) for $1 units.

FOURTH: The type of bet.

FIFTH: The number of the horse.

So, if you want to bet on a race at Santa Anita and wanted to bet two dollars on the number 3 horse to come in first in the sixth race, you’d say:

“Santa Anita, race six, $2 to WIN on #3.”

The reason you need to say the name of the track is because there are many tracks being shown from around the country. You can watch those races on monitors throughout the facility. You can bet on those races, too. That’s why you need to tell the teller – the person at the window where you bet – what track your bet is for.

I highly recommend going up to the betting window at least 10 minutes before the start of the race if you are a new player. This allows for more time in case you have any questions. The tellers are all helpful but if you are very close to the start of the race, the people behind you may not be as understanding because they want to get in their bets as well.

Here some interesting statistics for you to know:
• FAVORITES win 33% of the time.
• FAVORITES place (1st or 2nd) 53% of the time.
• FAVORITES show (1st, 2nd or 3rd) 67% of the time.
• The average EXACTA pays about $85 for a $2 wager.
• The average TRIFECTA pays about $655 for $2 wager.
• The average SUPERFECTA pays about $3,850 for a $2 wager.
• The average DOUBLE pays about $96 for a $2 wager.
• The average PICK THREE pays about $600 for a $2 wager.
• The average PICK FOUR pays about $3,480 for a $2 wager. The PICK FOUR is becoming an increasingly popular wager.
• The PICK SIX, although difficult to hit, offers the potential for life-altering payouts. At the 199 Breeders’ Cup, a group from Lexington, Ky., hit the PICK SIX for a record payout of more than $3 million!

The tips above are intended as a guide to wagering performance based on historical results and do not represent actual or implied future performance. Don’t you just love the legal profession?