Understand Horse Race Daily Doubles

Backing Winners

The daily double is a popular bet offered at every racebook on the internet and live track. It’s a wager where the punter needs to pick the winner of the first two races of the day. Many books also offer daily doubles on the last two races of the day and/or consecutive races during the middle of the day. Some places also offer rolling daily doubles where the punter chooses any two consecutive races to bet on.

At most tracks, a standard daily double has a minimum wager amount of £2. Daily double wheels generally have a minimum wager amount of £1, but they pay ½ of what the standard daily double pays.

Daily doubles are popular with casual punters because they give people a chance to turn a very small wager into a nice win. For serious handicappers, the daily double is attractive because the takeout (track commission + taxes) is roughly ½ of what it would be versus betting on each race individually. This is because the daily double has its own betting pool, and commission is only taken when the market is closed (after the second race). When you bet on each race individually, the commission is paid on each race individually.

Daily Double vs. Parlay Bets

For those with enough experience, you may be wondering what the difference is between a daily double and a parlay bet, which is a very good question. The daily double was originally invented as a marketing concept to attract more betting. Since most casual punters don’t understand what a parlay is, the tracks invented the term ‘daily double’. This allowed the tracks to give a simple explanation of ‘pick the winner of the first two races and win more money’. People understood this, so it became popular.

Since there are a lot of casual punters selecting horses based on funny names or lucky numbers, there is a lot of dead money in the daily double pools. This usually translates into a slightly higher payout on daily doubles than parlay bets – especially when favourites win. Since a large percentage of the money is being bet on longshots that rarely win, there is more money in the pool for common winners (favoured horses).

The parlay is also subject to two takeouts, one after race #1, and one after race #2 – which contributes to lower payouts as well. For these reasons, the daily double offers very good value to punters.

Early Daily Doubles

At every horse racing track and online racebook, the early daily double is on the first two races of the day. This gets people right into the action, and gives them something exciting to root for. The problem with the early daily double is that there is less predictability versus later in the day. This is because the worst or most inexperienced horses are usually run early in the day. Of course less predictability means that it’s harder to win the early daily double.

Late Daily Doubles

Late daily doubles usually consist of the final two races of the day. These tend to be better horses with more experience, so the predictability is higher than the early daily double. Late daily doubles are popular because they give punters a final chance at a big score before heading home.

This is an advantage for people betting online, because there might be dozens of other tracks running for several more hours. Because more races can be wagered on, there’s generally less feeling of desperation for online punters than those at the track who will be heading home when the daily races are complete.


Rolling daily doubles are just like early or late daily doubles, except these are for races running throughout the day. For example, you could bet on races 3-4, 4-5, 5-6, and so on. Rolling daily doubles aren’t as popular with casual punters as early and late daily doubles. This is partially because a lot of casual punters don’t know they can make these bets, and partially because the middle of the day is when people are settling in with friends, eating lunch, or having a drink.

Early in the day, the excitement level is high. Late in the day, people want to finish off their day with some fun bets. While there is still good value in rolling daily doubles, the payouts at live tracks will often be 5-10% less than they are for early and late daily doubles. At online racebooks, this isn’t necessarily true because online bettors aren’t leaving all at once – keeping the betting more consistent throughout the day. Online punters also tend to be more aware of the different betting options than casual punters who ran to the track for some fun.


In daily double wheels, multiple horses can be taken on a single ticket. For example, if you think horse #5 is going to take the first race, but think horses #2, 4, and 7 all have a shot at the second race, you could take all three of them. So, you’d have #5 in the first race, with 2, 4, 7 in the second. To have a winning ticket, you would need horse #5 to win the first race, then 2, 4, or 7 to win the second race.

As mentioned above, daily double wheels generally have minimum wager amounts of £1, and each combination will cost you £1 more. In the example above, there are three possible winning combinations (5-2, 5-4, 5-7), so this bet would cost you £3. If you added a second horse to race #1, you’d have 6 possible winning combinations (5-2, 5-4, 5-7, X-2, X-4, X-7), so this bet would cost £6. Since these bets are ½ the price of the standard daily double, they also pay ½ the prize.

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