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Welcome to Horse Racing 101, where you can learn all the basics of having fun betting on horse racing. If you don't see the answer to a question that you have, please submit your question to The Biscuit at the Horsemen's Park webpage. Please click on the links below to go to the section that you're interested in.

 


Pari-Mutuel Wagering means, literally, a mutuel wager or “betting among ourselves.” All the money that is wagered worldwide on a particular race and bet type (see “Types of Wagering” for the different bet types) is put into a separate electronic pool. The race track where the race is being conducted is merely a broker for the transaction and deducts a fixed commission or “takeout” from that pool. The takeout is retained by the track and a percentage of it becomes “purse money,” the money for which the horses compete. The racetrack has no fiscal interest in the actual “official” order finish of a race. The track’s share (the takeout) remains the same no matter who wins a particular race.

 

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Win – Your selection must finish 1st.


Place – Your selection must finish 1st or 2nd.

Show – Your selection must finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd.

Daily Double – You must select the winner of two consecutive races.

Quinella – You must select the first and second horses in any order.

Exacta – You must select the first two horses to finish in the exact order.

Trifecta – You must select the first three horses to finish in exact order.

Superfecta – You must select the first four horses to finish in exact order.

Pick 3 – You must select the winners of three consecutive races as designated in the program.

Pick 4 – You must select the winners of four consecutive races as designated in the program.

Pick 5 – You must select the winners of five consecutive races as designated in the program.

Pick 6 – You must select the winners of six consecutive races as designated in the program.

 

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Tell the Mutuel Clerk these five things in this order:
1. What track you want to bet on.
2. What race number (unless betting on the current race).
3. How much you want to bet.
4. What kind of bet you want (win, place, show, exacta, etc…)
5. The number of the horse.

FOR EXAMPLE:  “Santa Anita, race 5, $2.00 to win on number 7.”

1. A voucher may be purchased from any Mutuel Clerk or Self-Service Terminal (SST).
2. Choose the track you wish to to wager on.
3. Choose the race number you wish to bet.
4. Choose the amount you wish to bet.
5. Choose the type of wager you would like to make.
6. Choose the number (s) you wish to bet on and /or the respective combinations you want to make by using the numbers and wager types.
7. Print ticket when completed wager.
8. Remember to check your tickets and press “FINISH” to get your remaining balance in the form of a voucher.

 

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If you have made a winning wager, take it to any mutuel window after the race is declared official to collect your winnings. Try to avoid cashing winning tickets within five minutes prior to a race, especially if you do not plan to wager on that race. Many people prefer to wait until the last few minutes of a race to place their wagers, and cash tickets. You may take full amount in payment or wager back all or part of it on upcoming races.

If your are unsure whether you have a winning ticket, do not hesitate to have it checked at any window.

 

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The Internal Revenue Service requires reporting of payouts on wagers that exceed odds of more than 300 to 1 and pay in excess of $600.  IRS regulations also require automatic withholding on IRS payouts that exceed $5,000.  There is no withholding on payouts less than $5,000.  IRS tickets cannot be cashed for guests who do not provide proof of a social security number and a picture ID.

 

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1. Wager on the favorite - The favorite is the horse with the lowest odds or the one on which the most money has been wagered. Favorites win approximately one third of the time.

 

2. Check the local papers, the Daily Racing Form and the program handicappers' sections - The observations and advice of a recognized expert are generally a good guide for the newcomer. They offer a popular shortcut for the newcomer and a helpful learning tool for developing handicapping skills.

3. Purchase a tip sheet - These are prepared by professional handicappers and may provide useful wagering selections.

4. Look in the program for a list of jockey and trainer standings which include the number of wins to date -

5. The top riders generally ride the best horses, and the hot trainers generally have a high win percentage.
View the horses - Watch the TV monitors while the horses are in the paddock and in the Post Parade.

 

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Odds Pay   Odds Pay   Odds Pay
1-9 $2.10   3-5 $3.20   7-5 $4.80
1-5 $2.40   4-5 $3.60   3-2 $5.00
2-5 $2.80   1-1 $4.00   8-5 $5.20
1-2 $3.00   6-5

$4.40

  9-5 $5.60
 

 

Odds Pay   Odds Pay   Odds Pay
2-1 $6.00   4-1 $10.00   7-1 $16.00
5-2 $7.00   9-2 $11.00   8-1 $18.00
3-1 $8.00   5-1 $12.00   9-1 $20.00
7-2 $9.00   6-1 $14.00   10-1 $22.00

 

Odds – The odds on the tote board are based on win wagers. They reflect the odds to $1 unless otherwise indicated. It is easy to calculate approximate payoffs. If the odds are “4” (as in 4-1), double the odds and add your $2 wager. For example, a $2 win bet on a 4-1 horse will pay $10 (4 x $2 = $8) + your $2 wager = $10.

 

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Multiple Wagers consist of Daily Doubles, Pick 3’s, Pick 4’s, Pick 6’s and Place Pick All’s. The larger the number of bets the harder it is to pick, as well as the greater the payoff. For these bets, it is recommended to take several combinations of horses in each race to increase your chances of winning (although it does increase the cost).

 

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Daily Double - You must correctly select the winners of two consecutive races. Both horses must win in order to collect. The Daily Doubles are most often held on the first two races and the last two races of the day. The minimum bet is typically $2.00. However, some tracks allow $1.00 Doubles.

Pick Three - You must correctly select the winners of three consecutive races. All three must win in order for you to collect. Typically the minimum bet is $1.00.

Pick Four - You must correctly select the winners of four consecutive races. All four must win in order for you to collect. Typically the minimum bet is $1.00. However, some tracks allow .50 cent Pick Four’s.

Pick Six - You must correctly select the winners of six consecutive races. All six must win in order for you to collect. The minimum bet is $2.00. This is the ultimate jackpot wager in the racing industry.

Place Pick All - You may win a major payoff if you correctly select a horse to finish first or second in every race on the entire race card (8, 9 or 10 races). If no ticket contains the winning combination for all races, the payoff will go to the ticket with the highest number of correct selections. The minimum bet is $1.00.

“Grand Slam”- Select a horse to finish either first, second or third in three consecutive races and then the official winner in the next race. This bet is currently available on the New York Circuit.

 

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Race 3
Race 4
Race 5
YOUR TOP SELECTIONS
7
5
3
but you also like:
9-6
1-3
4-2
 
Race 3
Race 4
Race 5
Cost
TICKET 1
7
/
5
/
3
$2.00
TICKET 2
7
/
1,3,5
/
2,3,4
$18.00

TICKET 3

6,7,9
/
5
/
2,3,4
$18.00
TICKET 4
6,7,9
/
1,3,5
/
3
$18.00
So if 7,5,3 Win (your top selections) all your tickets will be winners. You win all four tickets instead of one.

 

Actual layouts will depend on how many potential singles there are among the top-rated contenders and how many logical back-up possibilities there are in each race, including the races with potential singles. At the bottom line all decisions must be funneled through the limitations of the player’s bankroll.

 

 
Race
Race
Race
Race
Race
Race
3
4
5
6
7
8
YOUR TOP SELECTIONS
6
4
3
1
7
8
but you also like:
-
-
4-2-6
-
5-6
1-3-5
Figure your ticket out before you go to the window.
 
Example with 3 Singles
 
Total
1
x
1
x
4
x
1
x
3
x
4
X   $2
$96
Race 3
Race 4
Race 5
Race 6
Race 7
Race 8
(48 Combinations)
 
Example with 2 Singles (you like 2 horses in the 6th race instead of 1)
1
x
1
x
4
x
2
x
3
x
4
X   $2
$192
Race 3
Race 4
Race 5
Race 6
Race 7
Race 8
(96 Combinations)
 
 

Many race tracks have at least one or two available Pick 3’s or Pick 4’s on a card. Some tracks also offer one Pick 6 per card. If there is available Pick 3/4/6 to bet on, there will be a note of it on the first race (or leg) of the wager. The payoff for one of these bets will be shown on the results of the last leg of the wager. For Pick 3’s and Pick 4’s, if nobody has the required number of races correct, they will typically pay out for people who missed one less race. For example, if nobody predicted a Pick 4 correctly, people who had 3 of 4 correct will get paid. In addition, the payoff results would indicate a payoff for “Pick 4 (3 of 4 correct)”. For a Pick 6, typically the track will also give a small payout to bettors who had 5 of the 6 correct. However, if nobody had all 6 correct, the majority of the Pick 6 pool will be carried over to the next racing day, making the subsequent Pick 6 pool even larger.

 

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