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Horse Racing Bets

Although horse racing used to be a game of the royals, today it can certainly be described as a sports category that has become mainstream.

Horse racing certainly has its own rules and regulations. Especially when compared to conventional sports betting categories such as soccer or tennis, sports betting fans who participate in horse racing will have to become acquainted to a whole new mindset.

Horse racing shows certain similarities to Greyhound racing and motor sports. Nevertheless, sports betting fans should be aware that there can be major differences with regards to country and bookmaker when it comes to the terms and conditions of how the bets are structured and what qualifies for a payout.

For example, sometimes it may be depending on the number of participating riders if a sports betting supply will actually be generated at all. Yet, the number of required starters may also vary from country to country.

Up next comes a general overview of the most currently available types of horse racing sportsbooks.

Straight or Single Bets


Win: The most simple form of sports betting for horse races,where bettors wager on the winner of a race.

Place: Here the selection will be based upon the placement of the horse, although definitions of which place qualifies for placement might vary from country to country. In some countries, horses which come in first to fourth may qualify for a placement, as long as the required number of starters was present in the first place. Some countries, especially those of British origin, apply a more detailed division for this category into  show and place. Place refers to the first and second place of a race, while show refers to a position among the top three horses to cross the finishing line.

Win-Place / Each Way (usually abbreviated with E/W): This is a combination of the win and place bet, where bettors wager on their personal favorite. The catch of this bet is that bettors will be able to cashout even if only one half of the bet was successful. If the selected horse wins, then obviously the bet is fully covered and becomes eligible for payout. If the horse qualifies for place, then at least the placement part of the bet will qualify for pay out.

The figure is calculated with regards to the betting lines in case the bet is fully covered. If only the placement part of the bet was successful, then a split quota is used to calculate the figure. However, bettors are well advised to check out the specific regulations of their bookmakers in order to prevent misunderstandings when it comes to which place actually qualifies for the respective bet.

→ Win-Place-Show (Across the Board): This variant functions just like a win/place bet, with the exception that the additional option (show) is added. Thus, the selected horse must come in first, second or third. Payout is calculated on behalf of the position of the horse after it crossed the finishing line (usually, win allows for a higher payout than place and place allows for a higher payout than show).

→ Ita and Trita: These variants are used when bettors want to wager on the possibility that a horse comes in second or third. Thus, sports betting fans must predict the exact position that a horse will cross the finishing line on after the actual winner of the race.

Exakta / Perfekta / Forecast / Straight Forecast, Tricast / Trifecta / Trio / Tiercé / Treble Forecast, Superfecta, Superperfecta:

For this type of bet, bettors must predict the first to fifth places in the exact order of appearance, depending on the selected variant. If players decide to bet first and second place, the bet is called forecast. For the first three places, the bet is called tricast, for the first four places superfecta and for the first five places superperfecta. 

handicap bet example
Top image: Excerpt from a sports betting supply for forecast and tricast horse racing. The names of the horses are listed on the left. In the next column, bettors can select which place they believe their favorite contestant will rank in forecast (1st or 2nd) or tricast (1st to 3rd). With this example, bettors may also choose to opt for a general placement within the first 2 or 3 ranks without selecting an exact placement.

Quinella / Tvilling / Reversed Forecast and Triplet: This type of bet is related to the aforementioned, with the difference being that bettors mustn't necessarily predict the exact order that horses have to cross the finishing line on. With this type of bet, customers qualify for payout if their selected horses are amongst the finishers and if they rank within the predefined range.

Place Quinella: This type of bet requires bettors to predict two of the first three places of a horse race. In order to qualify for a payout, the selected horses must  simply rank within the predicted range. Hence, there are three possible options that qualify for a payout: if the selected horses come in first and second, first and third or second and third. Usually, bookmakers offer three individual lines for this type of bet, each of which resemble the multiplier for the respective placement pair mentioned before.

Daily Double / Pick 2, Finishing Bet / Pick 3, Pick 4 etc.: The V stands for Vinnare and is Swedish for winner. This type of bet is popular in the Scandinavian area especially. Also known as „Pick“ in the Anglo American region, the number associated with this bet defines how many separate races constitute the bet. Usually, a maximum limit of 6 bets is set by bookmakers. Generally, bettors are required to wager consecutively on the winner of these races, as a payout is feasible only if all bets were successful.

→ Placepot: This variant also applies to a type of sports betting that requires the bettor to make predictions for up to six separate racing events. To qualify for a payout, the selected horses must each achieve a predefined placement in each of the races. 

Barn Bet: With this special type of sportsbook, bettors don't make a prediction about the finishers of a race but rather on the actual participants of the contest. Here, sports betting fans wager on the group of participants that actually make up the starters of a race with regards to the respective team they belong to. Thus, further specifications of this type of bet with regards to win, place etc. can be selected by the bettor as well.

Head-to-Head Bet: Here bookmakers create a pool of two or more starters for a race. Bettors then wager on one of the contestants of this pool with regards to which horse is going to win the race. Thus, for the actual payout it doesn't really matter if the selected horse actually wins the race as long as it places first compared to the other members of the pool.

→ Combo and Shift Bet: Basically, for this type of bet players are required to place at least two separate wagers which both have to be covered in order for the bet to qualify for a payout. The figure is then calculated by multiplying the wager with the lines of all selected bets. Generally, bettors are allowed to make combinations from several events and betting options. With regards to the shift bet, the catch of this type of sportsbook is that the figure of each successful bet automatically becomes the wager for the next bet.

handicap bet example
Top image: An example betting slip for a shift bet. The separate wagers are placed in chronological order automatically.
However, when it comes to the payout, the calculation is as simple as multiplying the wager with the odds. Some minor differences between the combo and the linking bet can be found as well. For example, if a bettor chooses to place a shift bet and selects a horse which eventually will not participate in the race, then usually bookmakers adapt the odds for this horse and switch them to 1,00. Also, with some variants of the shift bet, only parts of the figure are transferred to become the wager for the next bet. This obviously makes sense from the perspective of the bettor, as he will be able to retain a part of the figure for himself. Bettors who opt for this special variant of the linking bet are left with two possible outcomes: if all single bets are won, the total figure will be smaller. If only some predictions of the pool turn out to be correct however, the bettor will still be able to receive a small payout.