Introduction to Pari-Mutuel Wagering
When you place a bet, you are betting against everyone who is making the same type of wager in the same race, whether they are on-track patrons or participating in the wagering process from simulcast sites across the nation. The racetrack simply deducts a percentage from each dollar wagered for payment of purses, expenses and state taxes. This deduction or takeout is about 20 percent with over 80 percent of all wagers returned to the bettors. Unlike casino gambling, where you are betting against the house, Thoroughbred racing is a "pari-mutuel venture."
Pierre Oller introduced "parier mutuel" in his native France in 1865 meaning "mutuel stake" or "betting among ourselves." As this form of wagering was adopted in England it became known as "Paris mutuels," and soon thereafter "parimutuels." Pari-mutuel odds reflect how much is wagered on each horse or combination relative to the size of the mutuel pool.
The easiest bet to win is a show bet. If your selection finishes third or better, you win. The Pick 6, requiring the bettor to select six consecutive winners in as many races, or the Superfecta, requiring the bettor to select the correct 1-2-3-4 order of finish in a given race, are the most difficult. The higher the risk, the greater the payoff.
Exacta: Selecting the two horses to finish first and second in exact order.
Quinella: Selecting the two horses to finish first and second in either order.
Daily Double: Selecting the winners of two designated (consecutive) races.
Wagers must be placed before the running of the first of the two races. The Daily Double is generally offered on the day's first two and last two races.
Pick 3: Selecting the winners of three designated races run in succession.
Trifecta: Selecting three horses to finish first, second and third in exact order
Pick 6: Selecting the winners of six designated races run in succession. Wagers must be placed before the running of the first of the six races. In the event there is no winner, there is a carryover pool (jackpot) to the next day's racing. There is also a daily consolation payoff to those who select five winners.
Superfecta: Selecting four horses to finish first, second, third and fourth in exact order.
When you visit a mutuel window where tickets are sold and cashed, simply provide the following information:
1. Name of track
2. Race Number
3. Amount of your wager
4. Type of Wager
5. Program Number(s)
MORNING LINE ODDS
The morning line odds are displayed in the official track program and serve as the opening line for wagering on all races. The morning line is simply an educated opinion of how the wagering public will bet on each horse.
The odds posted at the track on television monitors and on Tote Boards are a reflection of money wagered on a given horse relative to the total wins pool. The odds change every 30 seconds as new money is wagered in the win pool.
The track's main Tote board (graphic boards are located in the infield of the racetrack and smaller boards are available at designated locations throughout the track. The main tote board in the infield provides the following information:
- Post Time of the upcoming race and time of day
- Current Odds
- Total money wagered on each horse individually in the win, place and show pools
- Fractional times and the final time of a race
- Official results and payoffs of the most recently concluded race
- Additional messages and program changes
You want to follow the money. If you see a jockey or a trainer that is doing well. That is the time you want to use them in your wagers. The numbers don’t lie, and this angle will get you cashing tickets sooner than not. You can find this information at the bottom of your horse’ running information.
If you see a top rider pairing up with a top trainer. This may be a sign of good things to come. When the two pair up together, you are getting the best of both worlds teaming up to find the winners circle. This is an angle to go right to the windows with! There is a page in the program that has all of these stats for you to use.
Have fun. Don’t bet over your head. Come with friends, start a pool where everyone puts in some money and take turns making selections. A great starter wager is “the show pool.” You select a horse that must finish in the top three spots. Take the winnings, and allow the next person to select their choice. Be sure to carry your winnings into the next wager, and before you know you will be off to the races with a chance to make a nice bankroll. This is a great way to enjoy the day, and have a chance at winning at the races. Wherever you are at River Downs, be sure to make your way down to the paddock. This is where the horses are saddled, and you are right up close to the racing action.