What is a Trifecta Bet? Trifecta Betting Explained

Trifectas are a bet where you predict the first 3 finishers in a race. These bets can lead to great payoffs but can be expensive to construct a ticket. The minimum bet in most areas is $1. However, some tracks have started to offer the bet for 50 cents, which has made it very popular.

There are many ways you can play trifectas. You can play a straight trifecta where it has to come in the exact order you bet it in order to win the bet. (EX: If you play a 5-6-7 trifecta, it has to come 5-6-7 in order to win). If you like 3 horses but don’t want to play it as a straight bet, you can box them together, giving you 6 combinations (EX: a $1 trifecta box of 5-6-7 will cost $6, and you will win as long as those 3 horses finish in the top 3, in any order). The more horses you add to a trifecta box, the more expensive it is. Using a $1 denomination, a 4-horse trifecta box is $24, a 5-horse trifecta box is $60. (EX: If you play a 2-4-6-8-10 trifecta box, it will cost you $60 [5x4x3] and you will win the bet as long as 3 of your 5 horses finish in the top 3). As you can see, it can get expensive to box multiple horses.

Another popular way to play this is to pick a winner, and box horses for 2nd and 3rd. For example, say you think the #3 horse is going to win. You also think that the #1, #6, #9, and #11 horses can get up for 2nd and 3rd. You can “Key” the 3 in first, and play the 1, 6, 9, and 11 in both 2nd and 3rd. For a $1 bet, this will cost you $12 (1x4x3). If you think the 3 horse will be in the top 3, with the 1, 6, 9, and 11 being in the other 2 spots, you could do a “Key Box” where you play the bet as 3 with 1, 6, 9, and 11. As long as the 3 horse finishes in the top 3 with 2 of the other 4 horses being in the other 2 positions, you win the bet (Cost would be $36 in this scenario).

If you have the bankroll, some will like to choose a winner, have a couple potential horses in second, and then have every horse in 3rd. Since 3rd is hard spot to predict, if you have the money and think anyone could take 3rd, this may be a decent option. If a longshot does get into 3rd, it will boost the payouts.

Trifecta’s are fun, but not very easy to bet on. The best sports bettors will most likely stay away from Trifecta’s unless they have a really good idea on their bet. Be sure you check out all the stipulations to betting on Trifecta before you go placing a bunch of money down at your local sportsbook.


How to bet on Horses
There are multiple different horse races to bet on, and many different types of bets offered also. We are here to help explain more in-depth the different types of horse racing bets, and explain how they work.
What is a Quinella?
Some race tracks will offer a quinella bet. This two dollar minimum bet will usually pay cheaper than an exacta/perfecta of the same bet amount but is easier than an exacta to bet.
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