Once you have taken the time to look over the racing program and the professionals’ advice, it is time to start figuring out which bets you would like to place for the upcoming race. At this point, some people like to spend some time on the paddock to see the horses being walked from the stable to the track, as it adds to the horse racing experience and occasionally one might notice something about a horse that influences the way they bet, such as a horse that appears sluggish or one that seems like it is in exceptional shape.
While there are a variety of bets, the following are the most common bets, and are more than enough for beginners. To keep things fun and not risk too much money, most beginners make $2 bets. Never bet more than you can afford to lose. The point is to have fun, not to go home without money you need to pay your bills.
Win Bet – A bet that the horse you chose will win the race.
Place Bet – A bet that the horse you chose will come in second (a place bet is also a winning bet if the horse you chose comes in first).
Show Bet – A bet that the horse you chose will come in third (a show bet is also a winning bet if the horse you chose comes in first or second).
Win, Place, and Show Bet (a.k.a. Across The Board Bet) – Bets on the first, second, and third place finishers; each act as a separate bet.
Exacta Bet – A bet on the exact first and second place finishers in exact order.
Trifecta Bet – A bet on the exact first, second, and third place finishers in exact order.
Daily Double Bet – A bet on the first place finishers in two consecutive races.
Box Bet – Any of the above bets can be boxed for an additional wager. For example, instead of paying $2 for an Exacta bet that requires the horses to finish in an exact first and second place order, you can pay $4 for an Exacta Box bet, and you will win the Exacta bet regardless of which of the two horses comes in first.
The following is the correct way to place a bet with a betting clerk:
To place a $2 Win bet on horse number 7, you would say, “<Track Name>, $2 to Win on Number 7″.
To place a $2 Exacta Box bet on horse 2 and 5, you would say, “<Track Name>, $2 Exacta Box on Numbers 2 and 5″ (keep in mind that this is actually a $4 bet since you are boxing the bet).
The reason why you need to start out with the <Track Name> is because you can bet on horse races at many tracks from the horse track you are currently at, so you need to specify the track to the betting clerk.