Horse Racing Guide

Straight Wagers: Win | Place | Show | Across the board

Exotics Wagers: Daily Double wagering | Exacta wagering | Quinella wagering | Boxing horses in exotic bets | Keying horses in exotic bets | Wheeling horses in exotic bets

Straight Wagers (WIN, PLACE, SHOW)

Below are the types of wagers offered on certain races, as well as how much they will cost.


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. Obviously, this bet is a little less risky, so the return will not be as great.


For a horse to "SHOW", it must finish the race either first, second or third. This is a conservative bet, but it still can be profitable, if you pick your spots.


This is a quick and easy way to say that I want to play my horse in all three positions. ($2 Across The Board = $2 to win, $2 to place, and $2 to show). If the horse wins, you collect all three bets. If the horse finishes 2nd, you collect the place and show bets. If the horse finishes 3rd, you will only collect the show bet.

Now that you know what type of bets you will be making, you must decide how much you want to risk for the whole day. It is suggested that you separate your risk money from the money you want to take home. This way, win or lose you can find the enjoyment that makes thoroughbred horse racing one of the most popular spectator sports in the world!

Exotic Wagers

Examples of these are the Exacta, Quinella Trifecta, Daily Double, and Daily Triple/Pick 3. Needless to say, these wagers are all more difficult than WIN, PLACE or SHOW because they require multiple selections to finish in the proper order.

Daily Double

The Daily Double involves picking the winning horse in two consecutive races. All tracks offer the early Daily Double, which involves races #1 and #2. Most tracks also offer a late Daily Double, which is the last two races of the day. Some tracks also offer a rolling Daily Double, which is on any two consecutive races. To win a Daily Double, you must pick the winning horse in each of the two races. Multiple combinations can be used when playing the Double. Wheeling and keying horses in any leg of the Daily Double is accepted.


In the Quinella, you must pick the horses that finish first and second. Either one can be first and the other one second. This bet is exactly the same as the "Exacta Box". Although the Quinella has the same function as the "Exacta Box", the payoff can vary substantially. You must remember that there is no such single wager of an Exacta Box. It is really two separate bets on one ticket. The Quinella wagers are entered into their own pool, separate from the Exacta pool. Not all tracks offer the Quinella wager, but to the best of my knowledge, all tracks accept the term Exacta Box wherever the Exacta wager is offered. If both the Quinella and Exacta wagers are offered, it is wise to check the tote board before making a Quinella or Exact Box wager to see which one offers the greater payoff.


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. Again a exacta can also be played using multiple combinations. Wheeling, keying and boxing horses in exacta┬┤s is a popular bet at the track.

Boxing Horses in Exotics

A "Box" Is when you use multiple horses, taking all possible combinations in that particular bet. If you have determined that two, three, or four horses are the best in the race but you are not sure which one will win, run second, third, or fourth, the "Box" may be your best bet.

Example: A $1 dollar Exacta box using the 1-2-3: This means that two of your three horses must finish in the top two to be a winner. Same example applies to Trifectas (top three finishers).

Keying Horses in Exotics

A "Key" is when you use a single horse to win or run second or third, using multiple horses in front of him or behind him.

Example: In a $1 dollar Pick 3, the 2 horse with the 3-4-5 with the 3-4-5-6. This means that the 2 horse must win the first leg of your Pick 3 either the 3-4 or 5 must win the second leg and the 3-4-5 or 6 must win the third leg to win your bet. The same concept applies to Exactas, Daily Doubles, and Trifectas.

Wheeling Horses in Exotics

A Wheel is when you use a single horse in a position with multiple horses finishing either ahead of, or in some cases behind, the horse you are wheeling. In many cases, a "wheel" and a "key" can be considered the same thing.

Example: In a $2 dollar Exacta, the 1 horse with the 2-3-4. This means the 1 horse must win the race and the 2, 3, or 4 must run second to win the bet. Another example might be a $2 dollar Exacta, the 2-3-4 horse with the 1. This means that the 2, 3, or 4 must win and the 1 must run second. The same theory applies when betting Trifectas and multi race exotics.