How to Place a Bet: What to Tell the Mutuel Clerk

To place a bet, tell the mutuel clerk:

  • The name of the track
  • The race number
  • The amount of your bet
  • The type of bet
  • The program number of the horse

    Like this: "Turfway Park, race 8, $2 to win on #4" or "Turfway Park, race 6, $2 Exacta, #4 and #9."

    If you're new to betting, make your bets early so you won't delay others who want to get their bets in before wagering closes. And be sure to check your ticket. You can change a bet or correct an error before you leave the window, but never after you leave.

    Ways to Bet
    Win: Bet a horse to finish first.

    Place: Bet a horse to finish first or second.

    Show: Bet a horse to finish first, second, or third.

    Across the board: Bet a horse to win, place, and show. If the horse wins, you get win, place, and show money. If it finishes second, you get place and show. If it comes in third, you get show.

    Exacta: Bet the first two finishers in a race in exact order.

    Exacta Box: Bet two horses in a race to finish first and second in either order.

    Trifecta: Bet the first three finishers in a race in exact order.

    Trifecta Box: Bet three horses in a race to finish first, second, and third in any order.

    Superfecta: Bet the first four finishers in a race in exact order.

    Daily Double: Bet the winners of two consecutive races designated by the track.

    Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 6: Bet the winners of three, four, or six consecutive races designated by the track. How much will a Pick 3 bet cost? Use this formula, with "#H" being the number of potential winners you’re picking in each race (each "leg" of the three-race bet):

    #H 1st leg x #H 2nd leg x #H 3rd leg x $ bet = cost of bet
    Example: 4 horses x 3 horses x 2 horses x $1 = $24

    You win if one of your 4 horses wins the 1st leg AND one of your 3 horses wins the 2nd leg AND one of your 2 horses wins the 3rd leg.

    Wheel and Part Wheel, or Key: A Wheel bets on one horse with all other horses in the race. A Part Wheel bets on one horse with some of the others. Continuing the example, an Exacta Wheel picks one horse to win and every other horse to place, while an Exacta Part Wheel bets one horse to win and some of the others to place. The horse you pick to win is your key horse.

    Wagering Words to Know
    Coupled entry: If one owner owns two horses in a race, they run as one entry; a bet on one is a bet on both. Regardless of post positions, they are 1 and 1a, 2 and 2a, etc., in the program.

    Odds: Odds show the bettors' opinion of a horse’s chances to win and determine the payoff. Use this formula: amount of your bet x odds + your original bet = winnings

    Odds-on: Odds of less than 1-1. A winner at 1-5 pays $1 for every $5 bet, or 20 cents on the dollar. So a $2 bet returns 40 cents plus your original $2, or $2.40.

    Even money: Odds of 1-1.

    Long shot: A horse that bettors believe has relatively little chance of winning. The odds are long, so the payoff is great. A $2 winning bet on a 20-1 long shot returns $42!

    Pari-mutuel: Means "among ourselves." Unlike at a casino, you don't play against the house. You play against all the other bettors. The track gets a set percentage but has no stake in the outcome of a race. In fact, we love it when you win big.