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Beating the Odds

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Horse Betting Direct has put together a glossary of horse betting and racing terms. This will help you better understand what is what in the industry.

ACROSS THE BOARD: A bet on a horse to win, place and show. If the horse wins, the player collects three ways; if second, two ways; and if third, one way, losing the win and place bets.

ALL BUTTON: Including all of the horses in a given race in an exotic bet such as a pick 3 or pick 4.

BOXED BET: Betting all possible combinations in a multi-horse wager such as exacta or trifecta.

BREAKAGE: In pari-mutuel wagering payoffs are rounded out to a nickel or dime, those pennies that are left over are called breakage. Breakage is generally split between the track and state and, in some cases, breeding or other funds, in varying proportions.

BRIDGE JUMPER: A person who bets an unusually large sum on a single horse, like $100,000 to show. Refers to the fact that if they lose they may be jumping off the nearest bridge.

DAILY DOUBLE: Type of wager calling for the selection of winners of two consecutive races, usually the first and second.

DEAD HEAT: A tie between two or more horses at the finish of the race. Usually these can be separated by the photo finish camera, but sometimes they are so close you can’t.

EXACTA (or PERFECTA): A wager in which the first two finishers in a race, in exact order of finish, must be picked.

FIELD HORSE (or MUTUEL FIELD): Two or more starters running as a single betting unit, when there are more entrants than positions that the tote board can accommodate.

IN THE MONEY: Finishing first, second or third.

INQUIRY: Reviewing the race to check into a possible infraction of the rules. Also, a sign flashed by officials on tote board on such occasions.

LOCK: Slang for a “sure thing” winner.

MINUS POOL: A mutuel pool caused when one horse is so heavily played that, after deductions of state tax and commission, there is not enough money left to pay the legally prescribed minimum on each winning bet. The racing association has to make up the difference to pay the minimums.

OBJECTION: Claim of foul lodged by rider, patrol judge or other official. If lodged by official, it is called an inquiry.

ODDS-ON: Odds of less than even money. In England it is simply called “on,” thus a horse “5-4 on” is actually at odds of 4-5.

OFFICIAL: Sign displayed when result is confirmed. Also racing official.

ON THE NOSE: Betting a horse to win only.

OVERLAY: A horse going off at a higher price than he appears to warrant based on his past performances.

PARLAY: Using the winnings from one bet to place the next bet.

PHOTO FINISH: A result so close it is necessary to use a finish-line camera to determine order of finish.

PICK SIX (or more): A type of wager in which the winners of all the included races must be selected.

PLACE: Second position at finish.

PLACE BET: Wager on a horse to finish first or second.

QUINELLA: Wager in which first two finishers must be picked, but payoff is made no matter which of the two wins and which runs second.

SHOW: Third position at the finish.

SHOW BET: Wager on a horse to finish in the money; third or better.

STRAIGHT: Betting to win only.

SUPERFECTA: A wager where you have to pick the first four finishers in exact order.

TAKE (or TAKEOUT): Commission deducted from mutuel pools which s shared by the track and local and state governing bodies in the form of tax.

TRIFECTA (or TRIPLE): A wager picking the first three finishers in exact order.

UNDERLAY: A horse racing at longer odds than he should.

WIN: Cross the finish line first.

WIN BET: Wager on a horse to finish first.

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