Types of Horse Racing Bets

Backing Winners

With all of the different horses and race variations out there, the world of horse race betting can be confusing to many beginners. So a good place to start for beginning horse racing punters is with the most common types of bets. The common wagers that you will see offered in horse racing are Win, Place, Show and Each Way… while Exacta, Quinella, Trifecta and Superfecta are common “exotic” bets.


Few wagers in all of sports betting are as straightforward as the Win bet. Here you simply wager on which horse you think will cross the finish line in first place. It is also worth mentioning that you can place multiple Win bets in a single race, which is nice for punters who want to bet on the favorite and a long shot. As for Win bet payouts, it all depends on the odds for each horse, and here is an example:

Heading For First 9/2
Punters Meal Ticket 8/1
Fields of Green 11/1

Looking at the odds featured here, ‘Heading For First’ is the favorite since punters would win £9 for every £2 bet. On the other hand, those who bet on ‘Fields of Green’ will win £11 for each £1 wagered, making this the long shot horse to win.
Also, as you can see here, the odds used are the fractional odds, common for horse racing and racebooks.


With a Place bet, you are wagering that a horse will finish in either first, second, or third place. Since your bet will win even if the horse finishes in third, the odds offer much lower payouts on these wagers. Using the previously mentioned example with ‘Heading For First’ (9/2 odds), your Place bet odds might only be 1/4, where you are winning £1 for every £4 wagered.


If you understand the Place bet, then the Show wager is also very easy to understand; the only difference is that a horse can finish in the top four places and still make the bet a winner. Payouts for Show bets are a little lower than Place bets since the horse only has to finish in the top four. For example, if you made a Show bet on ‘Heading For First’, you might receive 1/5 odds, where you win £1 for every £5 wagered.

Each Way

An Each Way bet is a combination of the Place and Win bet because you are making the following two separate wagers on one ticket: 1) the horse will win, and 2) the horse will finish in first, second or third place. So if you normally make £5 horse racing bets, you would now need to wager £10: £5 for the Win bet, and £5 for the Place wager. So if you put £10 on an Each Way bet on ‘Fields of Green’ (11/1 odds of winning, 1/2 place odds), and this horse won, you would receive £55 profit for the Win bet (11 X £5), and £2.50 profit for the Place bet (0.5 X £5).


If you make an Exacta bet, you are wagering on the exact two horses that will come in first and second place; if you only get one out of the two correct, you lose the bet. It is worth noting that even though you are betting on two different horses with the Exacta bet, you only wager a single betting unit (unlike the Each Way wager). Odds are tricky with Exacta bets because you are betting on multiple horses in a single wager. So horse tracks/online racebooks provide matrixes for Exacta bets complete with the odds for each horse combination.


Quinella and Exacta horse bets are similar in that you wager on what horses will come in first and second, and the bet loses if one of your predictions does not work out. However, the horses can come in any order and do not have to be exact. Since the ordering does not have to be perfect, winning Quinella bets make smaller payouts than Exactas on average.


Horse racing trifecta bets are similar to Exacta bets, with the lone exception that you are picking the exact horses that will come in first, second, and third place. Since you are picking the top three horses in perfect order, Trifecta bets are generally only recommended for extremely knowledgeable punters. Assuming you are able to win this bet, the payoff is very large, which makes Trifecta bets attractive to some people.


The Superfecta bet is even harder than the Trifecta because you are wagering on the exact horses that will come in first, second, third, and fourth place. Most punters stay away from these wagers because it takes a lot of luck to win them; however, winning Superfecta bets pay out a small fortune. If you are interested in trying the Superfecta, you can look at betting matrixes similar to the ones provided for the aforementioned exotic horse racing bets.

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