The standard horse racing bets are very easy to understand, especially compared to the exotic bets.  You may not be in for as big a payday as some of the exotic betting options, but you will be in line to collect your winnings much more often.  The standard bets for horse racing are win/place/show bets, each of which is outlined below.


For this bet to payout your chosen horse must win the race.  You should always check the official results after the race to see if your horse did finish in first.  Even if you are watching the race and it appears that your horse came second there is a chance that the horse in front was disqualified or a photo finish showed your horse winning by a nose.  Never leave a winning bet unclaimed.


For this bet to payout your horse must finish either first or second.  The Place bet obviously won’t payout as much as a Win bet, but when your horse comes in second by a nose you will be happy you put your money on horse to Place rather than Win.


For this bet to payout your horse must finish in either first, second or third position.  Once again Show bets will payout less than either Win or Place wagers, but you will cash much more often with this extra room for error.

Win, Place or Show?

Many people struggle with whether to bet their horse to win, place or show.  The rule of thumb is if you are confident the horse is going to win the race you should be the horse to Win.  This is not only because you will get the biggest return available, but also because the Win odds are what is shown on the toteboard so you can have a general idea of how much you will be cashing if the horse wins.  This allows you to have more information and to make a better judgement call based on the potential payout.

If you are just expecting an underdog horse to have a bigger race than many people anticipate perhaps a Show bet is the way to go because you will get a payout even if the horse comes in third.

All-in-all which bets to place is entirely up to you and the payouts are distributed evenly regardless, so there is no one betting option that will earn you more money over the long run.

You can also make Win-Place (bet on both to Win and to Place) or Across The Board (bet on the horse to Win, Place and Show) bets to cover all of your bases.