Wagering 101

Basics of Horseplay

The two main types of wagers.

  1. Straight wagers (These wagers only involve one horse):

    Win: You collect only if your horse finishes first.The minimum wager is $2

    Place: You collect if your horse finishes first or second. However, if your horse wins, you only collect the Place payout. The minimum wager is $2.

    Show: You collect if your horse finishes first, second or third, but you collect only the Show payout. The minimum wager is $2.

    Across The Board: You are wagering on a horse to Win, Place and Show. You receive one ticket for all three wagers. If your horse wins, you receive Win, Place and Show payouts. If your horse finishes second, you receive Place and Show payouts; and if your horse is third, you receive the Show payout. Because you are actually placing three wagers, the minimum wager is $6.
     

  2. Combination or "Exotic" wagers(These wagers involve two or more horses):

    Daily Double: To collect, you must select the winner of two races. For example, you must select the winner of the first race and the second race. Of course, you must place the wager before the first of your two races!

    Exacta: To collect, you must pick the horses that finish first and second in exact order. For example, if you play a 3-5 exacta, the #3 horse must Win and the #5 horse must Place (come in second) for you to collect.

    Exacta Box: Is made to guarantee the outcome of the first two finishers regardless of which horse wins. For example, if you box the #3 and #5 horses and either the #3 or the #5 horse wins and finishes second, you win.

    Trifecta: Is similar to an exacta, except you must pick the horses that finish first, second, and third in exact order. This is a challenging wager that often yields large dividends.

    Trifecta Box: Is made to guarantee the outcome of the first three finishers regardless of which horse wins. For example, if you box the #3, the #7 and #5 horses and either the #3 , #7 or the #5 horse wins, finishes second and third, you win.

    Pick 3: To collect, you must pick the winners of three consecutive races. And, of course, you must make your selections before the first race of your Pick 3 wager. An excellent wager that offers great excitement and opportunity to score Big!

    Superfecta: Is similar to an exacta and trifecta, except you must pick the horses that finish first, second, third and fourth in exact order. This is also a challenging wager that often yields dividends even larger than the trifecta.

Where do I go to collect my winnings?

So, you've made a winning wager. After the race has been declared official, simply take your ticket to any of the mutuel windows or self betting terminals to collect. If you decide to keep your ticket and cash out at a later date, please check with your local track to determine ticket expiration dates. Each state has different guidelines to cashing tickets.

How To Make A Bet?

Locate a mutuel window and indicate the following:

  1. Indicate the track you want to wager on.

  2. Indicate the Race Number, unless it's the current race.

  3. Indicate the Amount you wish to wager.

  4. Indicate the Type of bet you wish to make.

  5. Indicate the Number of the horse(s), as shown in the program. For Example: "Lone Star Park, fifth race. Two dollars to win on number 6."* Note-It is very important to check your tickets for accuracy before leaving the window. Once you leave the window and the race begins, you cannot change your ticket, Also, never tear up your tickets until the race has been declared "official."

BACK TO TOP

What To Say At The Track

A

Across the board: A win, place and show bet on a horse.

Allowance: A race other than a claiming event for which the racing secretary drafts certain conditions.

Apprentice: A jockey who has ridden for less than a year and who receives weight allowances.
 

B

Backside: The racetrack's barn area.

Bay: A color ranging from tan to dark chestnut with black mane, tail and points.

Beyer speed rating: A measure of performance popularized by Andy Beyer of The Washington Post.

Bounce: An exceptionally poor performance on the heels of an exceptionally good one.

Broodmare: Female horse used for breeding.

Broodmare sire: A sire whose female offspring become producers of exceptional performers.

Bullet: Fastest workout of the day at a particular distance.
 

C

Call to the post: A special call played on a Bugle used to signal the horses to the starting gate.

Chestnut: A color ranging from light gold to deep red. Also, a small, horny growth on the inside of a horse's front legs.

Claiming race: A race in which the horses are for sale at a price specified before the race. Claims are made before the race and the new owner assumes possession immediately following the race.

Colt: An ungelded male horse 4 years old or younger.
 

D

Dam: The mother of a horse.

Distaff: A race for female horses.

Driving: Strong urging by jockey.
 

E

Early foot: Good speed at the start of a race.

Entry: Two or more horses representing the same owner or trained by the same person and running together as a single betting entity.
 

F

Filly: A female horse less than 5 years old.

Furlong: An eighth of a mile.
 

G

Gelding: A neutered male horse.
 

H

Handicapping: This is the study of factors in the past performances which determine the relative qualities and abilities of horses in a race.

Handle: Money wagered.
 

I

Inquiry: Official investigation of rule infractions.
 

J

Juvenile: Two-year-old horse.
 

L

Lasix: Diuretic medication given to horses which bleed.
 

M

Maiden: A horse that hasn't won a flat race in any country.

Mare: A female horse 5 years old or older.

Morning line: The starting odds set by the track handicapper.
 

O

Off track: A track that is not fast.

Overlay: A horse whose odds are greater than its potential to win.
 

P

Paddock: Structure or area where horses are saddled and kept before going to the track.

Pari-mutuel: System of wagering where all the money is returned to the wagerers after deduction of track and state percentages.
 

R

Roan: Horse with white hairs mingled throughout its coat.
 

S

Sealed Track: A sealed track is a dirt track that has been packed down. Dry tracks are sealed so that water runs off the track, reducing the amount of precipitation absorbed into the surface. Wet tracks are sealed to provide a safe and even racing surface.

Silks: Jacket and cap worn by jockeys.

Sire: Father of a foal.

Stallion: Uncastrated male horse.

Stud: Stallion.
 

T

Turf course: Grass covered race course.
 

U

Underlay: Horse whose odds are more promising than his potential to win.
 

V

Valet: A person who helps jockeys keep their wardrobe and equipment in order.
 

WXYZ

Weight: The assigned weight for a horse, including the jockey, equipment and lead weights if needed.

Workout: Exercise session at a predetermined distance.

Yearling: A horse that is one year old. The universal birthdate of horses is January 1.


BACK TO TOP


Wagering Information


STRAIGHT OR BASIC WAGERS


There are a number of different wagers you can choose when wagering at the track. All of these variations stem from one core premise: Bettors receive payouts based on the first, second and third place finishers. Or, in racing terms, they are based on Win, Place and Show.

Across The Board

You are wagering on a horse to Win, Place and Show. You receive one ticket for all three wagers. If your horse wins, you receive Win, Place and Show payouts. If your horse finishes second, you receive Place and Show payouts; and if your horse is third, you receive the Show payout. Because you are actually placing three wagers, the minimum wager is $6.


Daily Double

To win, you must select the winners of two designated, consecutive races by placing the wager before the first of the two races.


Exacta

You win by selecting the first two finishers, in exact order, in a designated race.

HOW TO PLACE A WAGER


Here's how to place your wager at the mutuel window:

  1. State the race number and the track where the race is being run

  2. State the amount you wish to wager.

  3. State the type of wager you wish to make.

  4. State your choice or the program number of the horse(s) on which you want to wager.

For Example: "Louisiana Downs, fifth race, five dollars to win, on number 2."


Always make sure to check your tickets for accuracy before leaving the mutuel window, and be sure to hold on to your tickets until the race is declared "official" to ensure that you won't throw away or tear up a winning ticket.You may also choose to place your wager using one of the automated selfservice machines located throughout the facility. Ask a representative for assistance.


HOW TO COLLECT YOUR WINNINGS


If you have made a winning wager, take it to any mutuel window after the race is declared official to collect your winnings. You may take full amount in payment or wager back all or part of it on upcoming races.


If you are unsure whether you have a winning ticket, do not hesitate to have it checked at any window. Also, try to avoid cashing winning tickets within five minutes prior to a race, especially if you do not plan to wager on that race. Many people prefer to wait until the last few minutes before a race to place their wagers, and cashing in during that time can slow the process. There is ample time between each race to cash your winning tickets.
 

Approximate Payoff for a $2 Win Bet

Odds Pays Odds Pays

1-9

$2.20 2-1  $6.00
1-5 $2.40 5-2 $7.00
2-5 $2.80 3-1 $8.00
1-2 $3.00 7-2 $9.00
3-5 $3.20 4-1 $10.00
4-5 $3.60 9-2 $11.00
1-1 $4.00 5-1 $12.00
6-5 $4.40 6-1 $14.00
7-5 $4.80 7-1 $16.00
3-2 $5.00 8-1 $18.00
8-5 $5.20 9-1 $20.00
9-5 $5.60 10-1 $22.00


THE DAILY PROGRAM


As a fan, your one real necessity is the day's Official Program. The program lists vital information about each day's races, including the official numbers of horses for wagering, and helps you make informed wagering selections.

ITEMS TO CONSIDER WHEN WAGERING AT THE RACES


Here are some simple tactics which may be helpful to the newcomer:

  1. Wager on the favorite. The favorite is the horse with the lowest odds or the one on which the most money has been wagered. Favorites win approximately one third of the time.

  2. Check the local papers, the Daily Racing Form and the program handicapper's selections.The observations and advice of a recognized expert are generally a good guide for the newcomer. They offer a popular shortcut for the newcomer and a helpful learning tool for developing handicapping skills.

  3. Purchase a tip sheet. These are prepared by professional handicappers and may provide useful wagering selections.

  4. Look in the program for a list of jockey and trainer standings which include the number of wins to date. The top riders generally ride the best horses, and the hot trainers generally have a high win percentage.

  5. View the horses. Watch the TV monitors while the horses are in the paddock and in the Post Parade.

GLOSSARY OF TERMS


Entry - A horse entered in a race is called an entry. And on rare occasions, two or more horses are said to be "coupled" and run as an "entry," comprising a single wagering unit. A wager on one horse of an entry is a wager on both.
Furlong - One-eighth of a mile or 220 yards. Races are measured in furlongs.

Infield Odds Board
- The board in the infield of a racetrack is called the totalisator board and displays up-to-date odds along with the dollar amounts wagered on each horse in a race.

Morning Line - Approximate odds printed in the program and posted on the Infield Odds Board before wagering begins. This is a forecast of how the morning linemaker believes wagering will occur in a particular race.

Paddock - The area at the racetrack where the horses are saddled and viewed prior to a race.

Post position - A horse's position in the starting gate, numbered from the inner rail outward.

Purse - The amount of prize money distributed to the owners of the first five or six finishers in a race (varies by state).

BACK TO TOP