What is the Best Type of Bet in Horse Racing

One of the biggest reasons why horse racing is so popular, apart from the excitement that the sport brings is the ability to bet on horses. It is hard to imagine horse racing without betting, in fact, that is one of the biggest reasons why horse racing exists today.

Betting on horses makes the two-minute event even more exciting to watch, and on top of that, you can earn an incredible amount of money on a single bet thanks to the many different types of odds.

With that said, horse racing betting might look difficult to understand for newbies, but the truth is, it is very straightforward, at least when we talk about the types of bets.

Therefore, we will go through some of the most popular types of bets, and choose which bet is the best when it comes to creating your strategy for horse racing betting.

Betting Types

Standard Wagers

Standard wagers are one of the most popular types of bets today. Just because they are simple to understand and people who are not that familiar with horse racing, choose the win/place/show wagers. The minimum bet amount is usually $2 and since the outcome is quite straightforward, you cannot win a life-changing amount of money.

Win Bet

This is the most straightforward wager in horse racing, and it is choosing which horse will win the race. With many participants to choose from, the win bet has different odds for all the horses that are on the start line.

If you decide to bet on the favorite where the probability is high, you should expect a lower return on investment. In 2015 a $2 bet on the favorite paid off $7.80.

The win bet is used for safer bets and it is perfect for people who don’t feel comfortable risking their money.

Place Bet

The place bet is another type of bet from the standard wagers category, and just like the win bet where you have to choose a horse that can finish both first or second place.


The Show wager is the lowest paying bet since it allows you to choose a horse that can finish in 1st,2nd, or 3rd place.

Exotic Wagers

If you want to spice things up, exotic wagers are the perfect way to bring some excitement to a horse racing event. 

Exotic wagers allow betting on multiple horses, either within a single race or across multiple races. Since the probability of exotic bets is higher, you should expect a larger return on your money.

Single-Race Exotics

Exacta Bet


Exacta bet is very similar to the Place bet, but instead of choosing the two top finishers in the race in whichever order, you need to choose the top two finishers in the correct order.

If you mastered the art of standard wagers, an exact bet is perfect for making horse betting more exciting.


Quinella is a less common wager that allows you to choose the top two finishers in a race but in whichever order.


If you want to add another layer of complexity, you can choose the trifecta bet. This bet allows you to choose the top three finishers in a race in exact order. If you get them right, you are in for a big win.


If you are feeling lucky and you want to experiment with your betting strategy, superfecta is the perfect bet with high odds that has a low probability. While placing the superfecta bet you need to choose the top four finishers in a race in the exact order.

Super Hi-Five

Lastly, we have the super high 5 which is as you’ve guessed, choosing the first five finishers in a race in the correct order. The probability of this bet is very low, which is why it is often avoided by professional bettors.

But if some kind of miracle strikes and you manage to choose the top five finishers in exact order, you’ll win a lot of money. In a super hi-five bet on the Kentucky Derby in 2015, someone won $6,658.3 for $1.

Multi-race (horizontal) exotics

Exotic wagers can also be placed on multiple races by choosing winning horses in two or more consecutive races. This is a fun way to maintain interest throughout the entire afternoon of races.

Daily Double

The double exotic bet is quite straightforward and involves choosing a horse that will win two races back-to-back.

Pick 3

As the name suggests, this bet allows you to choose the winners of three straight races. It is a quite fun bet with a great payout.

Pick 4

Same as the one before, the Pick 4 bets allow you to choose a quartet of consecutive winners.

Pick 5

Choosing five consecutive winners is not easy. But if you are feeling lucky, you can pick a winning horse of five different events and hope for the win.

Which Bet is the Best?

When it comes to choosing which bet is the best, it all comes down to personal preference. In other words, it depends on your betting strategy.

For the people that want to play it safe, they should start with straight wagers. Straight wagers involve less risk, but at the same time, the payout is significantly smaller compared to exotic bets for example.

Additionally, if you plan to bet a lot of money, it is probably wiser to go with bets with a higher probability.

On the other hand, exotic wagers are great for making horse racing more exciting to watch. Most professionals bet smaller amounts on exotic wagers and hope for a big win.

There isn’t a perfect bet on horse racing. It all comes down to the type of events, contenders, research, and betting strategy. However, it is nice to diversify your bets in a way that most outcomes of a race are covered.

So, before making a bet, make sure to do your research and try to find patterns that can help you accurately predict the outcome.