Frequently Asked Horse Racing Questions

In the horse racing world there are a lot of questions that people are just getting into the industry have. We are going to cover a few of the basic ones in this article to help out. The handicappers out there have their own language so if you don’t know what some of the general terms are it will take longer to grasp. You might also miss out on some very important information if you don’t know what they are talking about.

1.) What do win, place and show mean?

Win means first, place means second and show means third. If you bet to win the horse must finish first in the race. If you bet it to show the horse can show up either first or second and the bet will still pay even though not as much. If you bet to show then the horse just has to be in the top 3 to payout and the odds are adjusted accordingly.

2.) What is the minimum wager?

Bets to win, place, and show must be at least $, while many wagers such as exactas and trifectas can be made for $1.

3.) How do I know the number of the horse I want to bet on?

Purchase a track program when entering the track. The number next to the horse’s name in the track program is the number you use when wagering.

4.) How do I place a wager and where can I bet on the grand national?

Bets may be made at any window. The proper way to call out a wager, whether straight or exotic, is as follows: amount of the bet, type of bet, and program number of the horse you wish to wager on. For example: $2 to win on number three.

5.) What is the safest wager to make?

If you bet to show and the horse finishes first, second, or third, the ticket may be cashed.

6.) What is a daily double?

The daily double is a wager that requires selecting the winners of two consecutive races. Many tracks used to offer the daily double only on the first two races each day; now, daily doubles are often offered on any two consecutive races.

7.) What is a longshot?

A horse that will pay a big price if it wins is often called a longshot. Depending on what the horse racing odds are will depend on how big the payout is.

8.) What if I have a winning ticket?

Tickets may also be cashed at any window. There is no hurry to cash a ticket; tickets may be cashed at any time. State laws mandate tickets my be cashed for a specified period of time. In many states, this is one year.

9.) How often do favorites win?

This varies but a general rule of thumb is that the favorite in the race. The horse that the most money is bet on to win. Will win approximately a third of the time.

10.) I heard someone say they boxed an exacta. What does that mean?

An exacta involves selecting the first two finishers in a race in the “exact” order. If you box two horses they may finish first or second in either order, and you are able to cash the ticket. If you were going to bet a $2 exacta on numbers five and six, a box would cost $4, but they could finish 5-6 or 6-5. 

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