Can't Lose Bet

I’m just going to come out and say it.

I love ponies!

That’s right YouWager horse racing betting buffs. When it comes to thoroughbred horse racing betting, I’m in like Flynn!

Better yet, I’m going to share my expert knowledge on just how to bet on the ‘ponies’ in an effort to help you make the most out of your thoroughbred horse racing bets moving forward. Let me get started with the most common types of horse racing wagers – the straight bets!

Horses Betting 101: How to Bet On Horses Straight-Bets

Straight Bets


Simply put, when you place a bet on an amount to win, um…you’re betting that your horse will come in first place. If your horse finishes in first, you get to collect. If not, sorry, Charlie!


When you bet on any horse to “place,” you’re betting that horse will come in first or second. If your horse finishes in first or second place, you win! If you wager on a horse to place, the payout is a bit smaller than betting on an amount to win, but you have the added comfort of knowing your wager will be a winner if the horse finishes first or second.


Last but certainly not least, there is a ‘show’ bet. This wager is used on any horse you think can finish first, second or third.  For every $2 bet placed on the horse to Show, you will collect the amount shown in the Show (or third) column for that horse. If your mount finishes either first or second, you will not win any more money than if the horse finished third. The show straight bet is the safest of the straight bets but also offers the smallest return.

Across The Board

When you make an ‘across the board’ bet, you’re making a wager on your pick to win, place and show! This kind of wager is also known as a combo straight bet because you’re basically making three wagers in one. This kind of wagers costs a few more bucks than placing a traditional straight bet. For instance, a $2 across-the-board wager will cost you $6, because you’re making three $2 bets. If your horse comes in first, you get the win, place, and show money. If your horse finishes second, you get place and show winnings. If your horse finishes third, you just get the money for the show finish. While many horse racing bettors love the combo straight bet, others do not as many bettors (not me) perceive it as too expensive and having less profit potential.


This wager is quite similar to an across-the-board bet in the sense that you’re making multiple straight wagers all in a single bet. In a win/place bet, you’re betting your horse to win or place. If your mount wins, you collect both the win and place money. If he finishes second, you collect just the place winnings.

In a place/show bet, you’re betting that your horse will place or show. If your horse finishes second, you collect the winnings for the place and show finish and if your mount finishes third, you collect the winnings for the show finish alone.

Exotic Wagers

Exotic wagers are all the rage in today’s thoroughbred sports betting age! This kind of wager allows you to place wagers on multiple horses in a single event or multiple races. Of course, an exotic bet is a bit more difficult to win than a straight bet, but the return is significantly bigger as well.


You’re betting on two horses to come in first and second in the order you choose. For example, if you placed a $2 exacta on the No. 5 and 7 horse, you’ll win if the no. 5 horse finishes first and the No. 7 horse finishes second. Of course, there is also what’s called a box exacta that allows your horses to finish in either first or second place and you’ll win.

Horses Betting 101: How to Bet On Horses


With a quinella wager, you’re betting on two horses to come in first and second in any order. Um…okay, isn’t that the same thing as the box exacta? Yeah, almost!  The big difference is cost: a $2 quinella bet costs $2 while a $2 box exacta bet will cost you $4. Horse racing bettors know though that the payout for a box exacta is generally more than a quinella bet, so keep that in mind.


This wager is my personal favorite. With a trifecta wager, you pick three mounts to finish first, second, and third in an exact order. If you place a $2 trifecta bet on 4-6-8, you can only collect if the No. 4 horse comes in first, the No. 6 horse comes in second, and the No. 8 horse finishes in third place. Just like an exacta though, you can also ‘box’ your trifecta bet so you can win if your three horses finish in the top three spots in any order.

Boxing a trifecta will significantly increase the cost of your bet because there are many combinations. A $2 box trifecta bet will actually cost you $12 or a $1 trifecta boxed will cost you $6.


This wager is the same as the trifecta, except that you apply it to four horses and not three. You can also box a superfecta, generally for a very manageable fee, which is why this wager has gained so much popularity in today’s online betting times!

If you’re wagering online then your instructions are straightforward and simple. If you’re at a physical racetrack, then you want to tell the teller, the Racetrack and race number, the amount of your wager, the type of bet you’re placing and the horse’s program number

For example: “Belmont Park race No. 6 and $2 on No. 4 to win!