How to Bet
How to Bet
Welcome to Horse Racing 101, where you can learn all the basics of having fun betting on horse racing.
Pari-Mutuel Wagering means, literally, a mutuel wager or “betting among ourselves”. All the money that is wagered worldwide on a particular race and bet type (see “Types of Wagering” for the different bet types) is put into a separate electronic pool. The race track where the race is being conducted is merely a broker for the transaction and deducts a fixed commission or “takeout” from that pool. The takeout is retained by the track and a percentage of it becomes “purse money,” the money for which the horses compete. The racetrack has no fiscal interest in the actual “official” order finish of a race. The track’s share (the takeout) remains the same no matter who wins a particular race.
Types of Wagering
When Wagering With a Self Serve Terminal
- A voucher may be purchased from any Mutuel Clerk or Self-Service Terminal (SST). Cash? Winning ticket?
- Choose the track you wish to to wager on.
- Choose the race number you wish to bet.
- Choose the amount you wish to bet.
- Choose the type of wager you would like to make.
- Choose the number (s) you wish to bet on and /or the respective combinations you want to make by using the numbers and wager types.
- Print ticket when completed wager.
- Remember to check your tickets and press “FINISH” to get your remaining balance in the form of a voucher.
When Wagering With a Mutuel Teller
Tell the Mutuel Teller these five things in this order:
- What track you want to bet on.
- What race number (unless betting on the current race).
- How much you want to bet.
- What kind of bet you want (win, place, show, exacta, etc…)
- The number of the horse.
FOR EXAMPLE: “Santa Anita, race 5, $2.00 to win on number 7.”
If you have made a winning wager, take it to any mutuel window after the race is declared official to collect your winnings. Try to avoid cashing winning tickets within five minutes prior to a race, especially if you do not plan to wager on that race. Many people prefer to wait until the last few minutes of a race to place their wagers, and cash tickets. You may take full amount in payment or wager back all or part of it on upcoming races. If you are unsure whether you have a winning ticket, do not hesitate to have it checked at any window.
The Internal Revenue Service requires reporting of payouts on wagers that exceed odds of more than 300 to 1 and pay in excess of $600. IRS regulations also require automatic withholding on IRS payouts that exceed $5,000. There is no withholding on payouts less than $5,000. IRS tickets cannot be cashed for guests who do not provide proof of a social security number and a picture ID.
- Wager on the favorite - The favorite is the horse with the lowest odds or the one on which the most money has been wagered. Favorites win approximately one third of the time.
- Check the local papers, the Daily Racing Form and the program handicappers' sections - The observations and advice of a recognized expert are generally a good guide for the newcomer. They offer a popular shortcut for the newcomer and a helpful learning tool for developing handicapping skills.
- Purchase a tip sheet - These are prepared by professional handicappers and may provide useful wagering selections.
- Look in the program for a list of jockey and trainer standings which include the number of wins to date -
- The top riders generally ride the best horses, and the hot trainers generally have a high win percentage.
- View the horses - Watch the TV monitors while the horses are in the paddock and in the Post Parade.
Multiple Wagers consist of Daily Doubles, Pick 3’s, Pick 4’s, Pick 6’s and Place Pick All’s. The larger the number of bets the harder it is to pick, as well as the greater the payoff. For these bets, it is recommended to take several combinations of horses (part wheel) in each race to increase your chances of winning (although it does increase the cost).