Superfecta Betting Guide

Superfecta betting represents one of the most lucrative possible wagers in all of horse racing. It’s not an easy bet to win, since you have to pick the first four in the order of finish. But if you can do it, you can possibly win a lot of money for a relatively small amount of money wagers.

When you’re betting on a horse race, there are many different ways that you can approach the process. You might be the type that likes to play it safe and stick to straight bets that give you the best chance of winning, even if it’s a small amount of money. But if you have a little bit of the daredevil in you, superfecta horse racing betting can be the best way for you to go.

In the following article, we’ll take you the entire process of superfecta betting online. We’ll explain how it works and how much you can expect to get paid in return. We’ll also talk about some strategies and the best ways to bet superfecta on a horse race, while also answering some key questions about it.

How Superfecta Betting Works

It’s a pretty simple concept when you get right down to it: Pick the first four in the order of finish for a superfecta. Granted, it’s much easier said than actually done, since it is an extremely difficult wager to hit. But in terms of understanding it, superfecta wagering isn’t difficult.

Let’s take an example of a single race where you want to make a superfecta wager.

In most cases, the minimum bet is $2, although we’ll talk about exceptions to that later. You’ll decide which horses you think will come in first, second, third, and fourth in the official order of finish.

If the horses come in the order you predicted, you win the bet. And you lose if they don’t. It’s as simple as that!

How to Make a Superfecta Bet

If you’re betting at a horse racing track or off-track betting establishment, you’ll need to identify the following things:

  • The amount of money you’re betting
  • The numbers of the horses you’re betting
  • The number of race that you’re betting
  • The name of the track that you’re betting

It’s important to realize that you can’t expect the teller to have the information on hand, because there are often dozens of tracks running on a single day. They also won’t know the names of those horses you want to pick for your superfecta, which is why you must identify them by their number. All of this information will be found on a racing program.

If you’re making a real money superfecta wager on a sports betting site, you’ll have all the information in front of you once you identify the particular race and track. You’ll just have to check the boxes for the horses you want and in what position.

Superfecta example

Plenty of tracks have superfecta betting as part of every single race. Others might only include them sporadically throughout the card. Again, this information can be found on a program.

Superfecta Payback

A superfecta bet is paid out based on the amount of money wagered on the different combinations available in the race. When you’re taking about a race with eight or more horses, as if often the case with Thoroughbred racing, you’re talking about hundreds of different combinations.

Each of the money bets on a specific superfecta combination, such as 2-4-6-8 or 1-4-5-8, will be included in the overall superfecta pool.

Please Note:
The track involved will take out a certain percentage from this amount based on their guidelines; this is how race tracks ensure a profit.

After that, the remainder is divided up into individual pools based on the combination bet.

This system creates the odds for superfecta horse betting in each race. The less money that is bet on a particular combination, the more it will pay back, and the inverse is true as well. A superfecta payout is completely independent of the win odds for the particular horses or the payback for other so-called “exotic” wages like exacta or trifecta.

Consolation Payouts

Because it is extremely hard to predict the outcome needed to win a superfecta, it’s not unusual for a race to occur where there are no tickets that have the first four right, especially when long shots are involved. In that case, most tracks then use a system of consolation payouts. This will make sure the superfecta pool is paid out to bettors, even if they didn’t have all four right.

For Example:
Imagine a race that comes in 7-5-6-2, and no one, out of everyone betting the Superfecta at tracks and on horse racing sites, has that combination in their tickets.

You might see something like the following on the prices board at the end of the race:

7-5-ALL-ALL: $200

This means you would win that amount if you had at least the #7 first and the #5 second on your Superfecta ticket. It doesn’t matter what that you had the third and fourth horses wrong, because nobody else had them right either. The #7 and #5 on your ticket are enough to pay out.

Why People Bet the Superfecta

There are two main types of bets in horse racing: straight and exotic. To break at down as simply as possible, straight bets, like win, place and show, require you to pick a single horse in a single race. But exotic bets include multiple horses over one or several races.

Other popular exotic bets besides superfecta betting include:

  • Exacta: first two in the order of finish
  • Trifecta: first three in the order of finish
  • Daily Double: winners of two in a row
  • Pick 3: winners of three races in a row

As you can tell, the above bets require predicting the outcome for, at most, three horses. The superfecta requires that you predict the correct outcome for four horses in a race.

Horse racing fans know how difficult this is. Anything can happen in a race, so that even identifying the best four horses in a race doesn’t mean that they will finish in that order. Racing luck and unexpected performances can skew what even the oddsmakers predict will happen.

But because of this, the superfecta pays, on average, much higher than any of those other bets we mentioned.

Obviously, the payback for a specific race is dependent on the pools involved. But you can potentially make hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a single race with a successful superfecta horse racing bet.

In other words, superfecta betting is similar to the lottery tickets of the horse racing betting world. For a minimal bet, you can make a substantial amount of money.

Superfecta Betting Strategy


“Boxing” in horse racing betting simply means that the horses you bet in an exotic wager can come in any order, as long as they are within the confines of the bet, and you’ll still win. For the superfecta, that means a box will allow you to win as long as you include the first four in the order of finish, regardless of what the exact order is.

For example, imagine that you decide to box a 3-4-5-6 superfecta.

The following outcomes will give you a winning superfecta bet:

  • 3-4-5-6
  • 3-4-6-5
  • 3-5-4-6
  • 3-5-6-4
  • 3-6-4-5
  • 3-6-5-5
  • 4-3-5-6
  • 4-3-6-5
  • 4-5-3-6
  • 4-5-6-3
  • 4-6-3-5
  • 4-6-5-4
  • 5-3-4-6
  • 5-3-6-4
  • 5-4-3-6
  • 5-4-6-3
  • 5-6-3-4
  • 5-6-4-3
  • 6-3-4-5
  • 6-3-5-4
  • 6-4-3-5
  • 6-4-5-3
  • 6-5-3-4
  • 6-5-4-3

As you can see, there are 24 possible winning combinations within boxed superfecta betting. When you think about it like that, getting the superfecta right doesn’t seem too daunting, does it?

Well, the problem is that your bet has to reflect all of those superfecta combinations. In other words, a full-price four-horse superfecta box will cost you $48:

24 bets times $2 = $48

If you include more horses in the superfecta box, your bet will start to get even higher. Case in point:

  • 5 horses = $120
  • 6 horses = $240
  • 7 horses = $420
  • 8 horses = $672

As you can see, you really start to get into an area of diminishing returns the more horses you include in your superfecta betting. That’s why you might want to consider a more cost-effective way of getting it done.

Keying Horses

By keying horses, you can kind of narrow down your superfecta bets while still including multiple possibilities. There are many ways you can utilize this strategy. The basic gist of it is that certain horses will be included on every one of your tickets.

For example, let’s say that you’re betting on a six-horse race and you’re pretty confident that the #5 is going to win and the #6 is going to finish second. But you’re not sure about the horses who will come in third and fourth.

In this scenario, you could say something like, “Superfecta key with the #5 in first and the #6 in second with the rest of the field.”

This would give you the following winning scenarios:

  • 5-6-1-2
  • 5-6-1-3
  • 5-6-1-4
  • 5-6-2-1
  • 5-6-2-3
  • 5-6-2-4
  • 5-6-3-1
  • 5-6-3-2
  • 5-6-3-4
  • 5-6-4-1
  • 5-6-4-2
  • 5-6-4-3

Remember above how we told you that a six-horse superfecta box would cost you $240? This one, with the keys on the first two horses, would cost you just $24. It’s a much more efficient method of making superfecta wagers, while also still casting the widest possible net on the field.

Process of Elimination

When you’re looking at a 12-horse field in a Thoroughbred race, it can seem impossible to hit a superfecta wager. There are so many different combinations that your head might start to spin. But narrowing down the field can make this seem a lot less daunting.

In most races, you can find a few horses that just don’t seem to belong with the others. Obviously, you’ll need to learn how to handicap races for successful superfecta horse betting. You need to know the strengths and weaknesses to be able to profit at horse racing betting online. But you should be able to do so with a little practice.

The oddsmakers will help. Every race will include something called the morning line, which gives you the estimated win odds for each horse. These odds change the moment people start horse racing betting, but oddsmakers often get it close.

If you look at the morning line odds and see horses listed at odds of 20-1, 30-1, or even 50-1, the oddsmakers are telling you that they don’t think many people will be betting on those horses. And it could be an indication to you that these horses can be eliminated from your Superfecta considerations.

Granted, the oddsmakers aren’t always right. And remember that a horse only needs to come in the first four to impact the superfecta betting. But finding ways to throw horses out of consideration can make it much easier to come to a decision on a much smaller, less expensive number of possibilities.

Partial Superfecta Bets

Many tracks understand that the superfecta is a bet which scares a lot of people away. As a result, they draw to lure them in to the bet via a variety of methods. For example, they might offer a lower track takeout to horse racing bettors, which is better for the bettors’ bottom line.

Partial superfecta offerings also help in this regard. A partial superfecta allows bettors to get more tickets for the normal minimum of $2. That allows you to lessen your betting burden for superfecta horse racing betting and play more combinations.

Many of these tracks require to put a minimum of $2 into the wager. But the actual price of a single superfecta is reduced. For example, consider these possibilities:

  • $1 Superfecta = 2 tickets for $2
  • 50 cent Superfecta = 4 tickets for $2
  • 10 cent Superfecta = 20 tickets for $2

As you can see, these partial Superfectas allow you to box and key much more effectively. For example, a four-horse box with 10-cent Superfecta tickets would cost you just $4.80, instead of $48.

What’s the catch? Well, the payback for the Superfecta is directly proportioned to the size of your bet. Which means that:

  • $1 Superfecta pays ½ full Superfecta amount
  • 50 cent Superfecta pays ¼ full Superfecta amount
  • 10 cent superfecta pays 1/20 full Superfecta amount

You have to keep on eye on this, because many tracks will report payback at the $2 level for the Superfecta, no matter how much is actually bet. For example, a Superfecta might pay $200 at full price. But if you took it on using 10-cent tickets, you would receive just $20 in payback.

In addition, not all tracks offer partial superfecta horse betting possibilities. If that’s the case, you have to live with the full-price bet or take your superfecta bets elsewhere.

Obviously, the partial superfecta wagers will diminish your payback potential. But they also make the bet one that you’re much more likely to win with even a small amount wagered.

Superfecta Betting FAQ

The real benefit is that your potential winnings will go up significantly if you include a long shot or two when you’re superfecta betting. Not many others will have long shots included. That means a smaller pool and much bigger payback if you hit.

Look for long shots who have a habit of sneaking up late in races, even if they don’t come close to winning. These are horses who might not have low odds to win but could still be a factor in terms of finishing somewhere in the top four. Again, learning how to handicap races will help you with this strategy.

Most likely, you’ll just have to guess at your potential payback for a winning superfecta wager. Tracks have the win odds listed for every horse, and those odds are constantly updating. But most don’t have the ability to broadcast the odds for every possible superfecta betting combination.

Remember that, in a pari-mutuel wagering system, these odds will be changing right up to the moment of the race anyway. You can do some estimation based on win odds, however. Even though they’re technically not related to superfecta pools, they will give you an idea of what the bettors think of the horses you’ve included in your superfecta bets.

Each race is different, and all bets are paid out according to the pools for that race. But in general, superfecta payback is higher than other single-race bets like the exacta and trifecta. That’s because there are more things you have to get right and more pools created by the increased number of combinations for horse racing betting.

There are certain multi-race bets, like the Pick 5 and Pick 6, which can earn you more than the superfecta. These bets, at tracks and on horse racing betting sites, often have a carryover aspect as well, where pools from one day are added to the next if the bet isn’t hit. That pushes their payback beyond the average level of a superfecta.