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In Horse Racing, What Is a Trifecta Bet?

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  • Written By: L. S. Wynn
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 06 July 2014
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Horse racing is an exciting sport that owes much of its popularity to the betting that often accompanies it. Visitors to horse racing venues can bet on location, and absentees can bet over the internet or at many casinos. When you bet on a horse, you choose whether you predict it will win, place or show (first, second or third place). If the horse you selected does as good or better than you anticipated, you are a winner.

A trifecta is a particular type of bet that is very difficult to win, but it yields very high returns. To successfully win a trifecta bet, you need to specify the horses that finish in the top three spots in the exact order in which they finish. So if the horse you selected to show (3rd) actually places (2nd), you don't win anything.

There are other types of trifectas that allow some flexibility in the finishing order, but the pay-outs are significantly lower. In a 'standout trifecta,' for example, you must accurately specify the horse that will win, and then select which two horses will come in second and third irrespective of the order. To win a 'box trifecta' you simply need to specify the three horses that will win, place and show, irrespective of the order.

The term "trifecta" is making its way into colloquial speech. Some basketball announcers are using "trifecta" to refer to a 3-pointer, and people are using it more generally to refer to any three successes. A student studying for final exams, for example, may say "I did well on my first two exams, and now I am going for the trifecta!"

Other types of bets in horse racing include:

  • Quiniela or Reverse Forecast: A bet placed on two horses to finish first and second in any order.
  • Perfecta, Exacta or Straight Forecast: A bet placed on two horses that must finish in the order you specified.
  • Superfecta: A bet placed on four horses to cross the finish line in the order you specified.

Discuss this Article

anon313404
Post 9

How can I determine if my ticket is a winner?

comfyshoes
Post 8

@Anon16465 - I just wanted to say that I have never bet on horses, but I did go to a Jai Ali game and bet on the players. The games are really fun and fast paced.

I remember that my mother wanted me to bet the number 6-2-4. She wanted it to be a trifecta because she felt that this would determine the best order for winning. When I placed the bet, I got confused with a trifecta and a trifecta box, but somebody there explained it to me.

Because the trifecta has higher odds the payoff is a lot higher than the trifecta box. Well, I placed the bet as a trifecta box and the numbers came in in the exact order that my mom had wanted me to bet.

Because I placed the bet as a trifecta box the payoff was only $250, but if I would have bet it as a trifecta the payoff would have been $1,000. I felt sick afterward but I learned the definition of a trifecta and will never forget it.

anon164665
Post 7

box 4 horses in a trifecta - 4*3*2=24

box 5 horses - 5*4*3=60

nbkt8i4
Post 5

if i want to bet four horses out of a possible 10 horse field and do it as a superfecta wheel what would it cost? ex. all 964 964 964 all

gsmullis
Post 1

How many bets do I need to box 4 horses in a trifecta in a race? And how many to box 5 horses?

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