Question by Eric: What are some betting strategies for horse racing?
I’ve done some reading and have been able to come up with a way to pick four possible winners for each race, but I’m not sure how to put everything together to build something like a pick X and other exotic bets. Does anyone have some good resources and strategies how to handicap, I’m sure there is a perference, but I thought there might at least be some general guidelines.

Best answer:

Answer by kmnmiamisax
I like to hedge my bets to make sure that I win at least a little bit of money. I find a group of horses that I think has a good chance. I’ll fit them into an exacta or something, then I’ll put a decent size show bet on one or two of them.

If you want to do an exacta with 4 horses, you’ll probably want to split it up. You’ll probably not win enough to pay off your 4 horse exacta. Instead, I’d do two 3 horse exactas. The way you’d do that is to take your 2 horses you think have the best chance of finishing 1st and 2nd. You use them in both of your exactas. Then you put your 3rd horse in one and your 4th horse in the other. So you’d have an exacta with the 1, 2, and 3 and an exacta with the 1, 2, and 4. So if your 1 and 2 win, you win twice! Your 3rd and 4th horses are likely the longer shots on the toteboard, so if either of those comes in with your 1 or 2, then it will pay a lot. Your 1 and 2 if they come in together won’t pay a whole lot, but you’ll win it twice!

You could do the same thing with a trifecta. You actually have more options there… you can select a single horse to win or you could add in extra horses that you think could show. You could also do a 4 horse tri box… usually the tri pays so much that you can afford to add in an extra horse or two.

When I want to bet a horse to win, I usually do a win place show bet… also called taking a horse “across the board”… It costs , but it ensures that you’re getting some money even if your horse only manages to finish 2nd or 3rd. Usually I’ll put extra on the horse to show in that situation… so if the horse only shows, it will pay back my that I put for it to win and place.

When my bets are successful, I win a lot. When they’re not, I still win some and only lose a few dollars. I think it’s the smartest way to go. On every bet I’ve ever placed, I’ve gone to the window and in the aggregate, I’ve won a lot more than I’ve wagered.

NTRA has a lot of good information for new people who are interested in starting to bet on the races:

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