Since the foundation of horse racing, individuals have found excitement in identifying the fastest horses and predicting races’ outcomes. As horse betting has evolved, different categories of wagers and more complex betting practices have appeared, providing betters with opportunities for greater payoffs. However, as with any skill, individuals must first understand the tools and mechanics of placing a bet to maximize their odds of winning. Jorge Hank Rhon, owner of the world’s largest sports betting center Grupo Caliente and the prestigious Hipódromo de AguaCaliente, formerly Agua Caliente Racetrack, possess unique insights into the nuances of horse betting and hopes to educate horse betting newcomers on various wagers.
The straight wager often referred to as the basic wager, is the most common type of bet and consists of three separate categories – win, place, and show. Straight wagers historically have highly affordable minimum bets and with many tracks today offering straight minimum wagers of $1.
Win – A Win straight major requires that the horse selected finish first. On average, the takeout rate for a win bet is anywhere between 15-20%, with the remainder being distributed to the Win tickets. This means that the Win pool is often held separately from the Place and Show pools.
Place – A Place bet is similar to a Win bet, except selections can finish in either first or second place. A Place bet is often viewed as a safer bet; however, the payoffs are smaller than a Win bet as the pool is divided into two ways (first and second selection) rather than one.
Show – The final type of straight wager, the show wager, requires that selections finish in first, second, or third place. While a Show bet is the easiest to cash, it also has the lowest payoff as the pool is divided amongst three groups. Typically, betters who make a selection amongst favorites can expect their ROI to be less than one dollar for every two dollars wagered.
Exotic wagers consist of any wager that does not fall into the straight wager category. Jorge Hank Rhon states that exotic wagers are typically exclusively made by experienced as these types of bets require in-depth knowledge of the race roster and a high amount of risk. There are three distinct variations of exotic wagers, which include – Exacta, Quinella, and Double.
Exacta – The Exacta wager requires betters to pick the first two finishers in a race in their exact order.
Quinella – This type of exotic bet requires that betters only pick the first two finishers of a race without requiring them to choose the order.
Double – Betters must pick the first place winner of two consecutive races.