Basics of Horseplay
The two main types of wagers.
Straight wagers (These wagers only involve
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
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.
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!
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:
Indicate the track you want to wager on.
Indicate the Race Number, unless it's the current
Indicate the Amount you wish to wager.
Indicate the Type of bet you wish to make.
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."
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What To Say At The Track
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
Apprentice: A jockey who has ridden for less
than a year and who receives weight allowances.
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
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
Bullet: Fastest workout of the day at a
Call to the post: A special call played on a
Bugle used to signal the horses to the starting
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
Dam: The mother of a horse.
Distaff: A race for female horses.
Driving: Strong urging by jockey.
Early foot: Good speed at the start of a
Entry: Two or more horses representing the
same owner or trained by the same person and
running together as a single betting entity.
Filly: A female horse less than 5 years old.
Furlong: An eighth of a mile.
Gelding: A neutered male horse.
Handicapping: This is the study of factors
in the past performances which determine the
relative qualities and abilities of horses in a
Handle: Money wagered.
Inquiry: Official investigation of rule
Juvenile: Two-year-old horse.
Lasix: Diuretic medication given to horses
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.
Off track: A track that is not fast.
Overlay: A horse whose odds are greater than
its potential to win.
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.
Roan: Horse with white hairs
mingled throughout its coat.
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.
Turf course: Grass covered race course.
Underlay: Horse whose odds are more
promising than his potential to win.
Valet: A person who helps jockeys keep their
wardrobe and equipment in order.
Weight: The assigned weight for a horse,
including the jockey, equipment and lead weights
Workout: Exercise session at a predetermined
Yearling: A horse that is one year old. The
universal birthdate of horses is January 1.
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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.
To win, you must select the winners of two
designated, consecutive races by placing the wager
before the first of the two races.
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:
State the race number and the track where the race
is being run
State the amount you wish to wager.
State the type of wager you wish to make.
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
Approximate Payoff for
a $2 Win Bet
Odds Pays Odds Pays
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
ITEMS TO CONSIDER WHEN WAGERING AT THE RACES
Here are some simple tactics which may be helpful to the
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.
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.
Purchase a tip sheet. These are prepared by
professional handicappers and may provide useful
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
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
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).
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