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Horse Racing: How to Make a Win, Place, Show Bet

Win Place Show Kentucky Derby

One of the simplest ways to bet on horse racing, win, place, show is perfect for beginners looking to make their mark in the vast landscape of derbies, Triple Crowns and odds stakes.

If you’re looking to bet on horse racing but unsure where to begin, it’s best to start simple with a straight bet, and make a win, place, or show wager.

How Win, Place, Show Betting Works

This is a simple betting option that can be broken down into three components: Win, Place and Show. Each plays a unique role in (hopefully) netting you some cash. A win, place, show payout will depend on the takeout – more on that below – and how accurate your picks are.

Win Betting

A win wager is as easy as it gets. You win your bet if your chosen horse triumphs. If you bet $100 on a horse that has +500 odds (5/1), you’ll win $500 if that stallion trots past the finish line before the others.

Place Betting

If you bet on a horse to place, your horse must finish either first or second. This bet provides two different options for success, but your payout will be smaller than with the previously mentioned bet type because there’s less risk involved. The riskier the bet, the bigger the payout.

Show Betting

Betting on a horse to show requires your chosen steed to finish in first, second or third place. Since the bet gives you three different ways to win, the payout will generally be less than a victory in place or win. As with the wager above, there is less risk involved with this kind of bet.

Across the Board

Across the board denotes a bet in which your chosen horse must win, place and/or show. Like a parlay bet in other sports, this is several bets combined on one ticket. If your horse wins the race, you get win, place and show payoffs. If your horse finishes second you receive place and show payouts, and if your horse comes in third, you only get the show payout.

This bet is named in reference to the tote board. This is the electronic or alphanumeric display found in racetracks that conveys information to spectators – kind of like a scoreboard you’d find at ballparks and football fields.

Bet on the 2019 Triple Crowns here!

Horse Racing Handicapping Strategies

Whether you’re looking to wager on the Belmont Stakes, Kentucky Derby or a minor race, it’s important for new players to avoid jumping into the deep end of the pool without at least trying to build your bankroll through more traditional bets. Traditional wagering is a lower-risk proposition compared to more complicated bets like the Pick 6. Sure, intricate bets come with a higher payout but if you’re a novice bettor, wait until you’ve won a few win, place, or show bets before moving on to a more complex wager. You wouldn’t dive into the deep end if you didn’t know how to swim. So, stay away from sophisticated bets until you find your footing.

It’s better to cash many small tickets than be knocked out of a multifaceted bet in the first leg of a race. In addition, tracks have a lower takeout rate on win, place, and show betting as compared to exotic wagers like trifectas. This is how racetracks make their money. Like the vig online sportsbooks take, this is the percentage of each pool or bet that the track takes. The percentage taken varies per racebook and can be anywhere from five to 30 percent.

Another handicapping tool is to watch races from the past so you can understand what you’re betting on. If you’re making a show bet on the Preakness Stakes, check out clips from the previous year’s race to get a feel for the track. Then, read up on your chosen horse. The more information you can get on a horse regarding their speed, gait and jockey, the better equipped you’ll be to make a smart pick.

Odd Shark’s horse racing expert Michael Dempsey weighs in:

The win bet may be the forgotten bet. However, it is still a viable option and should not be overlooked. If you tune in to TVG, you would think the Pick 4 and the Pick 6 are the only bets available. Don’t be fooled, you can make money on lower-risk bets. Betting to win, place, and show are also better for your hairline and blood pressure.

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