How to Bet Horse Trifectas

The trifecta is one of the most popular online betting choices among horseplayers, and for good reason. A small investment can turn into a generous windfall if you can correctly pick the exact running order of the top three finishers in a horse race. However, being a consistent winner in horse race trifecta betting takes smarts, handicapping prowess, and a little luck does not hurt either.

Trifecta bets can be broken down into several key elements:

• Handicapping a horse race and coming up with the major contenders in a race.
• Finding a horse race in which at least one or two of the top three betting favorites looks vulnerable.
• Laying out the trifecta tickets to maximize profits and coverage.

*Below are a few horse racing trifecta betting tips to keep in mind when heading to the betting window

Selecting the Race

In general, do not wager on races in which there are six runners or less, or in a race where you think the top two betting choices are going to complete the exacta. Even if you land a longshot in the third slot, the trifecta seldom will come back with a good payoff, and in the long run is not a good bet.

The best races to attack when doing trifectas is when you can find a race in which one or two of the top betting choices look weak, and in a large field where there are several live longshots that can land in the money.

Laying Out Your Ticket

The biggest mistakes is how tickets are played. Many horseplayers will narrow the field down to three or four horses, and just box the contenders.

Here is a look at the costs for boxing:

$1 trifecta box using 3 horses = $6
$1 trifecta box using 4 horses = $24
$1 trifecta box using 5 horses = $60
$1 trifecta box using 6 horses = $120

Using a box strategy is fine if you actually think each horse on your ticket has an equal chance of winning, but that is seldom the case. A better strategy is to find one or two key horses that have the best chance to win, then more of your bankroll can be devoted to the second and third slots, which are generally trickier to fill.

Instead of just boxing your top four selections for a $24 investment, you could lay out the ticket like this:

  • 1,2 over 1,2,3,4 over 1,2,3,4,5,6 = $24

A $60 ticket could look like this:

  • 1,2,3 over 1,2,3,4,5 over 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 = $60

Most horseplayers find it easier to pick a winner than it is to find the horse that is going to land home third, and by spreading out on the bottom end of the ticket, you just might land a few longshots that complete a hefty trifecta payoff.

The 50-Cent Trifecta

Some tracks are now taking 50-cent trifectas, which give horseplayers added options.

With 50-cent tickets now available in online horse trifecta betting, even horseplayers with a limited bankroll can cover more options. The two examples of our trifecta keys above would be half the price, $12 and $30.

Of course, the payoff if you hit the trifecta would be half. However, with the money saved by halving the ticket, an astute horseplayer could play extra tickets with key horses.

For example the 1,2 over 1,2,3,4 over 1,2,3,4,5,6 for $12 could be supplemented with additional tickets.

For instance the following 50-cent tickets:
1 over 2 over 3,4,5,6,7,8 = $3
1 over 2,3 over 2,3,4,5 = $3
1 over 2,3,4 over 2,3,4 = $3
2 over 1,3 over 1,3,4,5 = $3

If your two key horses finish in the first and second spot, you are lined up to hit the trifecta multiple times. The key to successful trifecta wagering is to structure your tickets according to what you think the probabilities of the outcome are going to be.

You will save money by structuring your horse race trifecta betting tickets in this manner. While you may cash fewer tickets than using a boxing method, in the long run your return on investment will be higher. In addition, having multiple tickets with your key horse in the top spot could lead to higher payoffs.

These are just a couple of horse racing trifecta betting strategies that can make your online horse wagering more enjoyable and profitable.