Top 5 Favorite Wagers
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder

Sign at a track that reads "Betting Slips Here"

We asked our regular voters about their favorite wagers, how do they like to play and why? If you’re looking for some new ideas on wagering approaches, look no further!

We assigned points for each vote 1-5 and calculated a total to arrive at the final list. In some cases the answers were specific approaches (wheeling, boxing, etc.) or amounts so we’ve rolled all the wager types up to the basic wager. For example, votes for dime superfecta box, superfecta box and superfecta wheel all roll-up to superfecta.

And the winners are (including their score):

1. Exacta (7)
Cited by our panelists as a relatively easy and affordable way to make a nice score, the exacta wins by a comfortable margin!

2. Win (5)
The original and stand-by, gimmicks may come and go but our panelists still play to win.

3. Trifecta (4.2)
A great way to hit it big or play when there’s an overwhelming favorite that looks tough to beat, the trifecta brings up the bottom of the trifecta.

4. Pick 4 (4)
Coincidental that the Pick 4 is fourth with four points, no? Our panelists liked it the best of all multi-race exotics.

5. Pick 3 (3.6)
Last but not least, the still challenging Pick 3 makes it easier to maximize your bankroll for a decent score than other multi-race exotics.

Other wagers receiving votes include:

Superfecta (3)
Win-Place (1.4)
Daily Double (1)
Win Place Show (.08)
Pick 6 (.08)
Derby/Oaks Double (.04)
NYRA Grand Slam (.04)
Show Parlay (.04)

And last but not least, here’s what our panelists had to say about their selections…

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  • This is so helpful! Thank you! I was totally stymied in the Wood on Saturday, didn’t have any idea how to bet the race when Eskendereya looked that sure. I’m a fan of the WPS, so glad to see some veterans play it too. Switching from exacta boxes to WPS at the Breeders Cup at Monmouth helped me leave a winner that day, and I’ve clung to it since. (Nostalgia, much?) I still want someone to hold my hand for my first superfecta–I get confused by the math.

  • Glad to hear it! We have a few more wagering strategy posts going up this week, but in general we’ll definitely be focusing on demystifying some of these approaches. They’re not easy to figure out on ones own (without blowing a lot of money!).

  • Theresia Muller

    Just a follow-up comment, I believe that the wager that is best for you depends on where you stand on the risk/return spectrum. If you start predominantly playing wagers which are not suited to your personal risk/reward profile you will not enjoy yourslef as much (and probably will be less succesful). Think of all the potential wagering in a spectrum starting with show wagers on the onside (aka low risk/low return) and going all the way over up to the high risk/high return Pick 6. As you move along that risk reward spectrum the hit frequency will decrease and the expense of each wager increases results in much more erratic cashflows. If you like the feeling of cashing regularly and like maintaining a more modest bankroll, you would probably be more comfortable on the lower risk/lower return side of the spectrum, whereas if you have the discipline and mental tenacity to take some tough stretches and also have the requisite capital.

  • Great points Theresia!

  • Great article! Please have more of these, maybe with examples from actual races so we can see the thinking behind choosing a specific strategy to a specific race.

  • Thanks for the feedback Mainetraduh! We have a few pieces like this coming out in the next few days but in general we will be certainly be looking to have more articles that address specific scenarios, options/approaches, etc.

  • I found it very interesting that no one mentions the Super High 5 (offered at several tracks) or the place all offered at SA (maybe elsewhere, but that is where I bet it.)

    If I’m betting on their money (which means riding a profit from the last time I wagered) I love to take a chance at the Place All. Fun, good payoffs and even if your “lock” gets beat often you can still be live at the end of the day. The Super High 5 is difficult, and a 5 horse box $120 somewhat dear, but the payoffs can be amazing.

  • Interesting, thanks for pointing those out!

  • If I bet $1 superfecta 3/8/5/10 box
    would I have won anything?

  • Hi Rex – If that wager was on the 2014 Preakness the answer is no, but you were only off by one horse! The order of finish for the superfecta was: 3,10,8,2. Good try!

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