There are few sports as historic and exhilarating as horse racing. And the most historic and exhilarating of all the horse races is without a doubt the Kentucky Derby. Nicknamed “the most exciting two minutes in sports”, the Derby is an event like no other. Part of what makes this event so electrifying is the act of placing bets on horses.

With the race merely a week away, we at Superior Executive Services thought it might be helpful to shed some light on this subject. While having some past experience with placing bets on horse races will surely help you, it is not mandatory. With a little homework, you can walk up to the mutuel teller, slap down your bet, and walk away feeling confident—getting ready to Google mutuel teller? Pause, we’re going to cover that and more in this blog.

Type of Bets

While there are many different types of wagers, these three are the most common and basic:

Win Bets

As the name indicates, this type of bet hinges upon the horse you choose winning the race. If the horse doesn’t win, you don’t win.

Place Bets

With a place wager, you are betting on the horse you pick to either finish first or second. If this happens, you win.

Show Bets

Similar to place bets, show bet wagers payoff if the horse you pick finishes first, second, or third.

With all three of these types of bets, the minimum wager is only $2.

Exacta Bets

Once you have a firm understanding of win, place, and show bets, it’s time to try an exacta bet. While this type of wager is more difficult to win than a win, place, or show bet, it has the potential to yield some serious payout. To place an exacta bet, you pick a minimum of two horses that you think will finish first and second. In order to win the bet, the two horses you choose must finish first and second in the exact order you chose.

If picking the exact order sounds too challenging and you would like to better your odds, you can “box” your wager, which removes the order requirement, meaning if the two horses you pick, finish first and second, you win regardless of which is first or second. Naturally, when you “box” your bet, you reduce your potential yield.

For both exacta and exacta box bets, the minimum wager is only $2.

Trifecta Bets

Another wager option you’ll have at the Kentucky Derby is to place a trifecta bet. Similar to an exacta wager, it is more difficult to win than a win, place, show, and exacta wager, but it also comes with the potential for a higher payout. As the name indicates, this type of wager is made by selecting a minimum of three horses that you think will finish first, second, and third. In order to win a straight-up trifecta bet, your selected horses must finish in the exact order you pick.

Similar to an exacta bet, you do have the option to box your bet. When you box your wager, this removes the necessity to predict the exact order your chosen horses will finish. While this may increase your chances of winning, it does reduce your potential payout.

To place a trifecta bet, the minimum amount you have to wager is 50 cents. For a trifecta box bet, the minimum wager amount is $3.

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Be on the lookout for our Kentucky Derby Betting Guide—Pt. 2!