Nothing makes this colorful, competitive, and adrenaline-pumping sport more exciting than seeing your horse cross the finish line first. If you are new to horse racing, here are some basic terms and betting strategies that will make your day at the race a more familiar one.
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Start With a Daily Program
The program is packed with information you will need. It lists the horses by race, post position, pre-race odds, jockey, and trainer - giving their success record at the meet. One page will show you the leading jockeys and trainers by number of wins, and another page in the program will give you an instructional guide on how to read horses' past performances during their recent races.
You can obtain a program specific to Belterra Park or a "Simulcast Program" that includes a variety of tracks we import from across the country during the afternoon or evening.
Making a Bet
Whether betting with a teller or using an automated machine, you want to do the following:
- Identify the track
- Declare the race number
- Name the amount you wish to wager
- Name the type of bet you wish to make
An example would be "Belterra Park, race #1, $2 to win on the #3 horse." Before leaving the window or machine, check your ticket. If it is not correct, we can make it right before the race is run.
Types of Wagers
The options for placing a bet on the races have evolved over the years. At the heading of each program page, you can see what bets are available for every race.
With a Win, the horse you selected has to finish first, and you collect the top price at the odds established when the race began.
For a Place, your horse only needs to "place" first or second, and you collect a price a little less than the win price in most races because you take less risk.
A Show means if your horses finishes in the top three, you collect a profit, though usually less than the win or place payoff. It is the safest way to go to cash a ticket.
A Daily Double was the first of what is now commonly known as "exotic bets". Quite simply, you select horses to win in two consecutive races. You may pick multiple horses in each race.
Exacta: the name says it all! In any race, you place a wager to pick two horses to come in "exactly" in order. The payoffs are higher than a win-place-show wager.
The Trifecta gives you another hint in the name of the wager. You need your three selections to finish 1-2-3 across the finish line.
The Superfecta gives you a "super" payoff most of the time, but for this one, you have to pick the top four horses.
You can always Pick Three, an extension of the Daily Double to the winners of three consecutive races. The profits rise, and again you can play several horses in each leg.
Or, you can Pick Four, which is the same as the Pick Three except it involves four races. The more races, the larger the payoff.
Finally, you can Pick Six, as long as you check your program to see what races start a Pick Six. If no one hits all six, the jackpot grows each day. The payoffs can be huge, and you can play several horses in different legs. As the number of horses you use goes up, so does the price of the ticket.
A Furlong is 1/8th of a mile.
Some horses do not concentrate on the task at hand. They look around or are bothered by the competition, so the blinkers keep them focused.
Track conditions can change by the hour.
Ultimately you like to have a Fast track where the dirt track is level – with just the right amount of moisture that allows horses to get a good grip on the base of the surface. On a sunny day you will see our new water trucks working the track between races to help ensure the track's optimum safety and speed.
A track rated Good means, for the most part, that some rain has added more moisture than the water trucks would.
Muddy is the next level down from good, and most often the tractors will "float" the track with what is basically a huge squeegee to press the water toward the infield.
Sloppy conditions are when you get the umbrellas out, and water is still on the track before it can drain. Surprisingly, some horses love the "slop", and you can find that fact in the track program.
No coolers, tailgating, or tables allowed. Chairs allowed on Apron only.