Newcomers or once-a-year visitors to the racetrack can easily figure out straight wagers like Win, Place, and Show, but what about so-called "exotic" bets?
The number of intra-race and multi-race wagers has exploded in the last several decades. Once limited to just Win, Place, Show and one Daily Double on a card, bettors now have numerous ways to play a single race or multiple races.
Intra-race wagers, such as the Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta, or Super Hi-5, require the bettor to pick the top two, three, four, and five finishers in order, respectively. Multi-race wagers, such as the Double, Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, and Pick 6 require bettors to pick the requisite number of winners in consecutive order.
If you're a first-time exotics bettor, be sure to find out the minimum cost of each wager (usually $1, but 50 cents or less for some multi-race wagers). For intra-race wagers, you can "box" a number of horses to finish in any order or "wheel" one or more horses to finish in front or behind one or more horses.
Here are examples of what a wheel and part wheel would look like for a $1 Exacta in a six-horse field and its total cost:
WHEEL: $1 Exacta 1 with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 = $5
PART WHEEL: $1 Exacta 3 with 1, 2, 4, 5 = $4
PART WHEEL WITH MULTIPLE HORSES: $1 Exacta 1, 2, 3 with 1, 3, 4, 5 = $10
Wheeling is also the preferred method of play in most multi-race wagers. Not only does it give you a better chance at cashing, but each combination only costs the posted minimum amount of the wager.
Using the TwinSpires app is a quick and easy way to play exotics. Deposit the amount you want to spend into your account, and then choose which bet you want to wager. It will then tell you the minimum cost for each combination. Whether you choose the bet minimum or a higher denomination, you will then be able to select your horses for each position or leg.
Exotic wagers might seem intimidating and can be challenging to hit, but actually placing them isn't.