Fun with Superfectas
Level: Intermediate
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder

In my Kentucky Derby wagering strategy piece, I originally intended on including a portion on dime superfectas, until it came to my attention that the minimum wager for superfectas on both Oaks and Derby day was $1. A dime super box can be a fun and profitable approach on any race day, not just a big one, so I’ve modified what I originally included just a bit.

If you like at least four horses, the dime superfecta box should be calling your name. For $2.40 you can make a nice score if some of your selections are have decent odds. You’ll have to place this one either at a wagering terminal or using your online wagering account, so make sure you’ve got either of these options available to you once you’ve decided on this approach.

No Clear Single
Obviously, boxing four horses is easy, add an extra horse and it works out to be $12. But another attractive option is the five horse part wheel. Don’t let that description scare you, it’s easy. Let’s say you like numbers 1, 2 and 3 the best and think 4 and 5 could do well but not necessarily win. You’d put 1, 2 and 3 in every position and 4 and 5 in second through fourth position.


All this coverage is a mere $7.20. Or for the same price, select two only two horses on top, add a third in second position, add two more in the third position and four more in the forth position for a total of nine horses in the mix. It would like this in terms of amount of horses in each position:


Each horse is carried down through the forth position so your first two horses are also in position two, three and four. It looks like this:

A nine horse dime superfecta for $7.20

Only $7.20 for nine horses! This gives you a lot of coverage and can be a nice score if it works out.

One on Top
This is also a fun and inexpensive way to play either an overwhelming favorite who looks to tough to beat or a strong opinion regardless of the odds. Put the fav/strong opinion horse on top and others below. Even if your top selection is a short price, if any of your other selections have juicy odds you can still do pretty well, especially if the second place finisher is a bomb!

A few examples with one horse on top:

1x4x4x4 = $2.40
1x5x5x5 = $6

Repeat Ticket
Another interesting consideration when using the dime super is that it can be a strategy for avoiding “signers”, or tickets that pay more than $600 thus surpassing the threshold where you have to pay taxes on your winnings. Some savvy players will play multiple dime supers instead of $1 or $2 tickets to lessen the likelihood of surpassing that threshold.

No matter how you slice it, the superfecta is fun and affordable way to play with a wide variety of ways to experiment within almost any budget.

Elsewhere of Interest


  • I’ve always found that the methods outlined here are great ways to throw away money. More often than not, at least one and usually two horses in the super are horses you don’t think have a chance are winning, and if they aren’t, the super isn’t going to pay worth a damn anyway because so many people are playing clumsy 4 and 5 horse boxes.

    A long time ago, someone once told me, to play an exotic, you need to have at least two opinions about a race. That’s never more true than in the super, in fact three. The place where I like to use it most is a case where I think the favorite is NOT vulnerable, but the 2nd or third choice is severely pace compromised. If there’s a high odds horse that I think has a chance to bang into the money, then there’s that third opinion.

    Let’s say we have a 10 horse field, and we think A is the likely winner, X is likely to close at a price, and B,C,D,E are likely to be around at the end, with F and G potentially horses who can’t win but might be forwardly placed early before fading.

    I’ll put the one horse I think can win alone on top, and structure 2 tickets so that the X is in the money.

    Ticket 1:

    Cost: $3.00

    Ticket 2:


    You could try to reverse the last two legs of ticket 2 for an extra $2, but your rate of return is diminishing at this point.

    If your matrix doesn’t include one of the top 2 contenders, then go ahead and modify ticket 1 for all legs.

  • Thanks for the ideas Ian. I’m ahead on the year because of these methods and you’ll note that the title of the post is “Fun with Superfectas”, not “Sure Fire Methods to Profit on Superfectas”.

    Best of luck everyone!

  • I’ve just played my first 10 cent superfecta box on tomorrow’s Preakness…5, 9, 7, 4, 6. I understand that they do not have to come in in that order, but am asking if all horses have to come in 1st through 5th place? Also, how would I figure possible winnings based on that combination? Is it current track odds and is it possible to figure?

  • Hi Mary – good luck with your wager!

    Of your five horses, four of them will have to finish 1-2-3-4 in any order. The payout will be dependent on the odds of each horse, which position they finish in and the amount of money in the pool. I’m not entirely sure if one can figure out possible winnings this far out with so many variables, but I’m not a math aficionado!

    At any rate, best of luck, hope you hit it!

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