Jim Owens, USA Today Sports.
- The Kentucky Derby is one of the biggest betting events on the sports calendar.
- Learn how to bet on horse racing and the terms to know, like what an Exacta is with our handy guide.
It’s Kentucky Derby weekend, and you want to be a part of the Best Sweat in Sports.
If you are new to horse racing or just need a refresher on how things work with the ponies, no worries. We have a basic glossary of terms below to help you sound like you know what you’re talking about while you’re sucking down those Mint Juleps.
While gambling on sports is still illegal in most stats, betting on the ponies is legal and a celebrated piece of the American fabric — go figure!
How to Bet on the 2019 Kentucky Derby
Where to Bet on Horse Racing
Some state racing associations, NYRA for example, offer an app for users to place bets. There are OTBs (Off-Track Betting shops) around the States.
You could also go to any race track and bet on the Derby — or any race around the country. And in some states, there are select bars with betting kiosks. My favorite spot to bet horses is Churchill’s in Rockville Centre, a beautiful village on Long Island. You’re welcome to stop by any time.
Types of Bets: What is An Exacta?
There are plenty of ways to bet on horse racing, and while they are pretty simple once you get the hang of it, you may hear some weird track-slang thrown around. Here’s a quick rundown of the basics:
To Win: A bet on a particular horse to win. Easy enough, right?
To Place: A bet on a particular horse to finish second.
To Show: A wager on a particular horse to finish third.
Win, Place, Show: A bet on a particular horse to win, place (finish second) or show (finish third). In other words, if the horse you bet on finishes first, second or third you win.
Exacta: A bet on two horses to finish first and second, in order. In other words, if you bet an exacta with the No. 12 horse and No. 20 horse and punch in a 12/20 exacta, the No. 12 horse needs to finish first and the No. 20 horse needs to finish second. This is different from an exacta box (defined below). You can bet exactas with more than two horses.
Exacta Box: An exacta wager, but it doesn’t matter which horse finishes first and which finishes second. Example: If you play an exacta box with the No. 12, No. 20 and No. 7 horse and the No. 7 horse finishes first and the No. 20 horse finishes second, you’re a winner. There’s no limit to the number of horses you can place in an exacta box.
Trifecta: A wager picking the first three finishers in exact order. Basically, an exacta with three horses instead of two.
Trifecta Box: Same concept as the exacta box, except with the first three finishers: A trifecta wager where you don’t need your horses to finish in exact order to win. There’s no limit to the number of horses you can place in a trifecta box.
Superfecta: A bet in which you pick four horses to finish first, second, third and fourth in exact order.