Horse Betting Terms

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Horse racing may not have the range of markets as the likes of American football or basketball, but there are more than you may think. Below we have taken a look at a range of horse betting terms that relate to a wide range of betting markets.

One thing to note is that each of these horse racing terms is all fairly simple to understand. There are lots, as you can see, but the horse betting terminology is simple to grasp, even for beginners. We’ll start by covering a maximum of horse betting types and follow with some other horse-related terms.

learn horse betting terms before wagering
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Straight Bets

Straight bets are some of the most common horse racing betting types that you can place. They are available in the majority of racebooks and most horse races. In terms of horse racing betting terms, are the ones that you need to be the most familiar with.

Win, Place, Show (Across the board)

The win, place, show bet is a combination of three bets into one. You make a pick and if that horse wins, then you win all three of these bets. If the horse finishes 2nd then you win the place and show bet and if they finish 3rd, then you will only win the show bet.

The odds for each the place and the show bet will be a percentage of the win bet. You can also place these bets individually.

Single Bet/ Straight Bets

The single bet is one of the most popular horse betting types, and this is where you are simply betting for that horse to win the race. No other result will make a return from this market.

Ante Post/ Future

Ante-Post bets are sometimes referred to as “Futures” for US-based horse racing. This is where you bet on a race more than a day before the start of the race. Markets might be open as long as 12 months in advance and as a reward for betting early, punters will often get bigger prices compared to the day-of-race markets. For the Kentucky Derby, for example, bettors have four different opportunities to place Kentucky Derby Futures bets.

It should be noted that a downside to these bets is that should the horse not run, the stake will not be returned


Banker is the horse betting terminology for a pick that is highly expected to win. If a banker is used as part of a permutation bet, then the banker must win to guarantee any returns from the bet. It’s one of the most misunderstood horse betting terms in the industry and as a result, can be costly.


The place bet is where you bet on the horse to finish within a certain number of positions. The number of places that will be paid will be based on the number of horses in the race. A 6-horse race will pay 2 places, 9 horses will pay 3 places and so on. The more runners, the more places paid. There are no additional winnings if the horse wins the race.

Exotics and Combination Bets

Daily Double

The Daily Double is a horse betting term for a bet that requires the bettor to pick the winner of two consecutive races. This is often the first two races of a meeting.

Pick 3

This type of horse bet is an extension of the Daily Double, but includes three races.

Pick 6

The “pick” bets work right up through 4, 5 and then 6 races. Often the Pick 6 comes with a jackpot included as well. For this bet, you need to pick 6 winners from 6 races, usually all in the same meeting.

This is a pool bet, where all wagers combined will be paid as a dividend. If there are no Pick 6 winners, then those picking 5 winners from the 6 races will split 30% of the betting pool for Pick 6. The remaining 70% of the pool will then roll over to the next Pick 6 bet, usually on the next day’s racing. It’s pretty common for rollovers to occur, making these horse betting types of bets some of the most lucrative and therefore, most popular bets going.

This bet is massively popular with Kentucky Derby betting, as one of the highlights of the racing calendar in the US.


The Exacta is originally from the Tote based in the UK but its entry into the US market has made it another of the more popular horse betting terms. This bet is where you pick two horses that need to finish in 1st and 2nd in the exact order.


The Trifecta bet is an extension of the Exacta, above, and for this, you need to pick three horses to finish in the top 3 spots. Again, they need to be in the exact order to win. Read more on what is a trifecta bet.


The Superfecta is another extension of the Trifecta, and for this, you need to pick 4 horses to finish in the top 4 spots in the correct order.


A Quinella is a horse betting term that is used when a punter needs to pick two horses to finish 1st and 2nd in any order.


A box bet is a bet that is placed that covers all possible combination bets for that race.

Wheel/ Part Wheel

Wheel bets are when you choose one horse to finish in a specific position, and then all horses to finish within the remaining positions for that race.
The part wheel is where you need to choose several horses to finish within the remaining positions for the race. These horse betting terms are often used in the more popular races in the country.

SuperHigh 5

This horse betting term means choosing the first 5 positions for the horses in that race.

Each-Way Bet

The each-way bet consists of placing two bets of the same amount on the same horse: one Win bet, and one Place bet. If your selection wins the race, then both bets have won.

Other Racing Terms

OTB / Off – Track Betting

This term is used to describe any type of betting that is not done at the racetrack where the race is happening. This includes, land-based gambling facilities, but also online and mobile racebooks.

Live Betting

This means placing your bet when the race has already started. While this is more popular in other sports, it might be difficult for horse racing because most races last under two minutes.

Bet Minimums

This the minimum amount that can be wagered on the race.


This is the amount of prizemoney that is stated for that race. It is then distributed to the owner of the horses based on finishing positions.


This is the minimum odds for any horses that have not been quoted in the pricing section for that race yet.

Pari-Mutuel Betting

This type of betting includes a common pool that all the participating bettors contribute to. The payoff is calculated based on the amount of that pool. Most horse betting operators offer this kind of wagering.

Morning Line

The morning line is the list of entries announced for a race and their probable odds on that day. The morning line is usually announced a few days before the race itself.


The popularity of online horse betting has been one of the main reasons why there are now so many horse betting terms. They each have different meanings, although as you can see, some of them are very relatable to each other.

Horse racing betting terminology can change ever so slightly and have a huge difference in how they work. Horse betting explained properly makes it a simple sport to master, so take the time to learn and you’ll improve at an alarming rate.