What are the Different Types of Horse Betting

There are many different types of horse betting. Let’s fill you in.

Key Points

– There are many more wagers available than just picking the winner when it comes to horse betting. 

– Some horse bets cost as little as $0.10 and have been known to have some pretty large payouts.

Different Types of Horse Betting

While the sports betting world continues to grow, betting on horses has been around for what seems like forever. Most sportsbooks also have a racebook and offer betting on horses at tracks all over the U.S. and the world.

There is a variety of different types of horse betting that the average bettor might not be aware of. Understanding these bets is one of the keys to having success when betting on horse racing.

Straight Bets

The most common types of horse betting are straight bets. There are three types of straight bets – Win, Place, and Show.

A ‘Win’ bet is exactly as it sounds. You are betting on a horse to win the race. The Place bet is on a horse to finish in either first or second place. The Show bet is on a horse to finish in the top three – first, second, or third place.

Often, more experienced horse bettors will bet on a horse to Win and they will also bet the horse “across the board.” This means that the bettor will wager on the horse to Win, Place, or Show.

This way, if the horse wins, the bettor collects the Win, Place, and Show money. If the horse gets second, the bettor gets the Place and Show money. If the horse finishes third, at least the bettor collects the Show winnings.

Did you read our last article? We talked about how the Derby winner Rich Strike won’t run the Preakness.

Exacta Horse Bets

The Exacta is one of many exotic bets in horse betting. You can bet the Exacta two ways – Straight or Boxed.

In a straight Exacta bet, a bettor wagers on two horses to finish in first and second place. The horses must finish in the exact order chosen by the bettor. If the bettor likes the No. 2 horse to win and the No. 6 horse to come in second, he can bet the Straight Exacta.He wins when the two horses finish first and second.

Now, if you like those two horses but don’t know which one will win, you can also Box the Exacta. In this case, the order of finish doesn’t matter. As long as the No. 2 and No. 6 horses finish in first and second place, the bet is a winner.

Trifecta & Different Types of Horse Betting

The Trifecta is similar to the Exacta except in this case the bettor is choosing the first three places. Bettors can also Box the Exacta.

Sticking with the above example, the bettor likes No.2, No. 6, and also No. 9. Betting a Straight Trifecta, the bettor wagers on No.2/No. 6/No. 9 in that order. If they finish in that order, the bet wins. 

The Trifecta can be boxed as well. Boxing No.2/No.6/No.9 is a winning bet as long as those three horses finish first, second, and third regardless of order.

Betting the Trifecta can lead to some large payouts. Take the 2016 Belmont Stakes as an example. A simple $2 Trifecta wager on Creator (1st), Destin (2nd), Lani (3rd) paid out $2,751.


You may have figured it out by now, but if you haven’t the Superfecta is a bet that wins when the bettor correctly identifies the horses that will finish first, second, third, and fourth in a race.

Like the other exotic bets mentioned so far, the superfecta can be boxed. As long as the chosen horses finish in the top four regardless of order, the bet is a winner.

Bettors can find many sportsbooks that will offer $0.10 superfectas. Bettors can box the superfecta for $2.40 (24 possible finishing combinations at $0.10 each). These are popular bets and offer large payouts. They are difficult to hit though.

Daily Double

Many sportsbooks will carry Daily Doubles where bettors attempt to successfully pick the winners of two consecutive races. Minimum bets are typically $1, but a horse betting Daily Double is not always offered on all races.

More Different Types of Horse Betting – Pick 3/Pick 4

Like the Daily Double, sportsbooks will also carry the Pick 3 or Pick 4. In these types of horse bets, bettors win when they pick the winner for three or four consecutive races. 

Some tracks will even offer Pick 5 and Pick 6 bets. These are much harder to hit and, as a result, will offer much larger payouts. The minimum bets on these types of bets is as low as $0.10 at most sportsbooks.