After the Kentucky Derby, horse racing is back on the American sports radar for a few weeks, at least until the Preakness Stakes. Then it could go one of two ways — a Triple Crown quest into the Belmont Stakes, or not. The good news is that betting on horse racing is legal across the United States, unlike betting on other sports, so you won't have a problem getting picks down online.
A parimutuel system is used in horse racing, which is different from betting on a basketball or football game against a point spread in Las Vegas. Bettors don't wager against the house or bookie, but against each other, and then the house takes a cut. So these numbers could change plenty between now and Belmont post time (6:37 p.m. ET) on Saturday. It also means odds aren't fixed at the time of the bet.
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There are 13 contenders in the Belmont, the toughest test of all the Triple Crown races with its 1 1/2-mile distance.
Belmont Stakes: How to bet on horse racing
If you're betting at a window, whether it be at Belmont Park or your local track simulcasting the Belmont, say the name of the track, the number race you're betting, how much you want to wager, the type of wager and the numbers (post positions) of the horses you're including in your bet. Twinspires.com is a great place to deposit money and start.
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Belmont Stakes: Horse racing wager types
There are tons of different ways to bet on a horse race, but here are some of the most common and ones you'll likely hear about come Belmont time on Saturday.
— Win, place and show, or first, second and third. When you bet on a horse to win, you simply get the horse at its post-time odds and if it wins, you cash that amount. So $10 on a horse at 12-to-1 nets you $120. If you bet on a horse to "place," or come in second, the payout is less, and same goes for "show."
You can make an "across the board" wager on a horse — a bet on that horse to win, place and show. If the horse wins, you collect all three; if second, two ways; and if third, one way, losing the win and place bets.
— Exacta, trifecta, superfecta. These wagers force a player to pick the exact finishing order of the top two, three or four horses, respectively. The more finishing positions wagered, the greater payouts.
You can also "box" an exacta, trifecta or superfecta, which means you bet on all the possible combinations. So if you were to bet a trifecta box on Suddenbreakingnews, Exaggerator and Cherry Wine in the Preakness, you would be making six bets because you're taking all six possible combinations.
— Pick three (or four, or five, or six). This involves picking the winners of several different races at a track on a given day. It often pays out the entire pool of money wagered.