What Are Win/Place/Show Bets in Horse Racing?

What Are Win/Place/Show Bets in Horse Racing?

The sport of horse racing has always been tied to horse betting as well. The main reason the horses run in the first place is to see which one wins the race.

The most basic way to bet on any horse race is by picking the winner. However, there are ways to make money betting on which horse finishes second in the race as well as picking one to finish third.

The official terminology in horse racing for betting on the top three finishers is a Win bet for first, a Place bet for second and a Show bet for third.

What Are Win Bets?

As the name implies, your horse must win the actual race in order to cash in a Win wager. Horse races can have as few as four or five horses entries all the way up to 20 for a major graded event such as the annual Kentucky Derby.

The degree of difficulty in picking a winner depends on the size of the actual field. Since horse betting is based on pari-mutuel wagering, the betting money coming in on a horse to win will dictate their actual odds.

For example, the morning betting line at the track sets the opening odds. Those odds are then moved according to how the public is betting on that race. If a horse opens as a 3-to-1 favorite on the morning line and they are heavily bet leading up to the start of the race, the odds may drop to 2-to-1.

The most important thing to remember about placing a Win bet on a horse race is that the final odds are determined by the total money in the Win pool. The various money pools set the final odds for every horse in a particular race.

If you bet on the No. 2 horse to win at 5-to-1 closing odds, that $2 wager should pay around $10 if your horse goes on to win.

What Are Place Bets?

You can also make a separate bet on a horse to finish second in a race. The Place bet can payoff two different ways with your horse finishing first or second in that race. The amount won is determined by the horse’s closing odds and the money bet in the race’s Place pool.

It is harder to determine the actual payout on a winning Place bet since it is based on those two factors. Everything is calculated after the race is complete. Keep in mind, that you will only receive the Place money for a second-place bet even if the horse you wagered on finishes first.

What Are Show Bets?

By wagering on a horse to finish third in a race, you are giving yourself three different ways to win. If the horse you bet to Show finishes first, second or third in the official running order, you would win the set amount in the Show pool.

The payout on a Show bet is obviously lower than the money pools for a Win bet or Place bet. However, Show bets give you the most opportunities to win.

Betting a Horse Across the Board

By tripling your actual wager amount, you can bet the same horse to Win, Place and Show. This is known as betting them “across the board.”

If they go on to win the race, you would collect money from all three pools. If they Place, you would win second and third-place money. If they Show, you would win the money for just the Show pool.

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