Horse Racing: Basic Bets & Exotics from Kentucky Derby Odds

David Schwab

Monday, April 27, 2015 6:44 PM GMT

Monday, Apr. 27, 2015 6:44 PM GMT

Here's our brief betting guide for the Kentucky Derby at fable Churchill Downs, scheduled for this Saturday, May 2. Everyone will become a horse racing fan for the biggest race of the year!

To get you up to speed on the best way to both watch and place sports picks on this year’s Kentucky Derby, the following is a brief guide of some of the most common horse racing terms used to place wagers on the race.

 

The Basic Bets
The three most basic bets when it comes to horse racing are win, place and show. These terms describe the finishing positions for the top three horses in any race. While the “win bet” is rather obvious, when a horse finishes second they are in the “place” position and when they finish third they are in the “show” position.

The most important thing to keep in mind with these three basic horse racing bets is how each of them pays out. If you bet that on your horse to win a race then the only way you can earn a payout is if that horse comes in first. Many times the simple betting strategy is to wager on the favorite.

If you bet a horse to place, then you can earn a payout on either a first or second-place finish. This is a good way to stretch the odds a bit by betting on a second or third favorite in a race. The “show” bet can offer some solid value in that it will pay-off for either a first, second or third-place finish. This is a good way to add a longshot to the mix that would offer a decent return on a top-three finish.

 

Exactas and Trifectas
Two of the most popular ways to bet on Kentucky Derby horses are through “exactas” and “trifectas.” These are very tough bets to win, but the return on investment can be highly lucrative when you do cash-in on a wager of this nature.

An exacta bet consists of picking the top two horses in a race and a trifecta adds a third horse to the mix for a top three finish. If you place either one of these bets “straight-up” then your horses must finish in the exact order that you picked them. This type of bet has the greatest return, but the degree of difficulty to earn that pay-off is also very high.

The best way to bet an exacta and/or trifecta is to “box” your bet. This will cost you double your actual wager, but with a bet that is boxed, the top two horses (in an exacta) or top three horses (in a trifecta) that you pick can finish the race in any order and you will still win. Keep in mind, that with a wager of this nature that is boxed, you will only win half of whatever the total payout ends up being, but it is still the best way to hedge your bets.

Interested in Cross-Sports Betting? Kentucky Derby & Mayweather-Pacquiao Prop Picks

Other Horse Racing Exotics
There are quite a few other ways you can bet on horses that include picking winners in consecutive races such as a “daily double” or a “pick six.” You can also bet a “superfecta” in which you have to pick the top four horses in the correct order.

If you are the type of bettor that likes to wager on betting odds favorites, then a popular way to add value to this play is to “wheel” your favorite with a few of the other horses in the field. The amount of the wager goes up with each horse you add to this bet, but so does the potential return. 

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