Trifecta Horse Betting

Trifecta horse racing betting is a highly popular form of horse race betting among handicappers and experienced sports bettors. At a glance, it might seem near impossible to win this kind of wager, but a Trifecta horse racing bet can be extremely lucrative; hence the favoritism amidst veteran horse racing bettors.

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What is Trifecta Horse Racing Betting?

A Trifecta is a complicated bet that requires the sports bettor to pick three animals in a single horse race, then pick the exact order in which they will Win, Place and Show (finish in first, second and third). The only way to win a Trifecta horse racing bet is to correctly predict the exact finishing order of all three horses.

If the horses each Win, Place and Show, but not in the order chosen, or if two of the horses finish in the order chosen but the third does not, the bettor will not collect anything on his or her wager. However, a winning Trifecta horse racing bet can have an extraordinary payout, and is where most horse racing bettors make their big bucks.

Trifecta Kentucky Derby

Above is an example of the “trifecta” menu at where you can bet on any horse to either win, place or show. You will also get $250 free at Bovada for the Kentucky Derby.

Not convinced it’s worth it? Try this on for bankroll-size… At the 2005 Kentucky Derby, the finishing order was “1st Giacomo – 2nd Closing Argument – 3rd Afleet Alex. A simple $2 Trifecta bet on this combination paid an exorbitant $133,000! You can bet Trifectas at online and test your luck.

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Types of Trifecta Horse Racing Betting

There are three ways to place a Trifecta bet in horse racing betting:

Straight Trifecta
Trifecta Box
Trifecta Wheel

The minimum bet size is $2, so we’ll use a $2 bet in each of the examples below.

Straight Trifecta Horse Racing Betting

The Straight Trifecta bet is the basic wager described above, where a bettor picks 3 horses to finish in exact win, Place and Show order. The bet slip would show something like this: $2 Trifecta (6-2-4). This means that it is a Straight Trifecta bet on the #6 horse to win (first), the #2 horse to place (second) and the #4 horse to show (third).

Trifecta Box Horse Racing Betting

The Trifecta Box bet is the same as the Straight Trifecta bet except that it includes all possible win, place and show combination among the three chosen horses. There are six possible ways for three horses to finish, therefore the total bet would be $12 instead of $2 ($2 x 6 bets = $12).

Let’s say the bettor chose a Trifecta Box horse racing bet on (6-2-4). The $12 bet would include all of the following finishing orders.

Trifecta Box (6-4-2): 6-2-4; 6-4-2; 4-2-6; 4-6-2; 2-4-6; 2-6-4

It is also possible to add a fourth horse into the mix, such as (6-2-4-1), which would make the possible number of winning combinations 24, and the total purchase price $42. Be careful not to pick too many horses in a Trifecta Box as the price continues to climb.

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

The only way it would pay off to bet as much money as is involved in a 8-way Trifecta Box is if the win, place and show horses were long-shots to win (as in the case of the 2005 Kentucky Derby). If the horses finish in the originally favored order, you will be losing a lot of money!

Trifecta Wheel Horse Racing Betting

The Trifecta Wheel is used when you have a pretty clear idea of which horse will finish first, but aren’t so sure about second and third. Let’s say you think #4 is a sure fire winner, and you’re fairly certain #7 and #1 are going to follow, but not sure in which order. The Trifecta Wheel bet would be placed on 4-7-1 and 4-1-7, for a total $4 bet on two combinations. (See our Horse Racing Wheel Betting Article)

Maybe you think #4 might actually slip to second place, splitting #7 and #1 in first and third. You can extend the Trifecta wheel to cover 7-4-1 and 1-4-7 as well, totaling an $8 bet.

Trifecta Horse Racing Betting Payouts

Unfortunately, you cannot view the payouts for a Trifecta bet on the tote board at the track. There are simply too many possible combinations to bet on to display all of them. You have to gauge an expected payout range by observing which horses are expected to finish in the top three according to the odds and probably payouts on the tote board.

Ready to test your luck with a Trifecta bet? Click here for $250 free at Bovada for the Kentucky Derby