If you asked 100 people at the track what you most important part of making money at the races was, you might get 90 people saying that picking the winner is the biggest key. And they’d be wrong. Just like you would be if you didn’t check out some professional bookie reviews before you invest some money at the track. Of course picking the winner is part of playing the ponies, but how many times have you had the winner tabbed but managed to lose money on the race because you missed out on the exacta, trifecta or superfecta.
Finding the right wager often depends on the size of your bankroll and how much you are willing to risk said bankroll. Of course the easiest wager to win is the simple show bet, where your horse only needs to come in first, second or third. The flip side of that wager is that while you will cash often, the payoff will almost always be pretty small.
Next up is the place bet, which might be the most forgotten wager at the track. A place bet means your horse needs to come in first or second.
Then there’s the win wager, which obviously means your horse must cross the finish line first. Even though the exotic bets offer bigger payoffs, the win bet can be part of a long term strategy to make money. So how do you determine whether to lay a big win bet or go deeper and place some exotics. First, you need to judge how strong you feel about that particular horse winning, and then look at the rest of the field. Do you have a strong feeling about the horses to run second, third and fourth, or does it look more like a crapshoot? If it’s the latter, then it might be a good race to just play a win bet and not have to worry about what happens after your horse wins.
Then we come to the more complicated wagers starting with the exacta, where you pick the first and second place horses. The key here is that you need to have the order correct, but you can box the wager. That of course will double the cost of the wager, but it does protect you from those heart-breaking photo finishes and ending up on the wrong end.
The trifecta is also a solid option for making long term profits. Sure, you can score some huge payoffs if you are playing a superfecta (top four horses in a race) or a pick 5 or pick 6 over multiple races. But in those wagers, a fair amount of luck always comes into play and with so many possible combinations you can go a long time between cashing a ticket.
With the trifecta, you need to pick the top three horses in order,and the payoffs can often be in the thousands of dollars. The key to a trifecta paying a big price is to have at least one longshot in there and hopefully two.
One of the best ways to hit a longshot is to key a horse you really like to win (or even in second if the horse finds ways to lose) and then use the “all” option for one or two of the other spots. That adds to the cost of the wager, but also increases your chances of hitting a big longshot too.
With these tips in mind, it hopefully makes things a little easier for you at the races!