How to Effectively Bet Superfectas

by Horstradamus

posted on October 15, 2007 in Educational Articles, Handicapping, Help/Educational Articles | 139 Comments >>

On occasion, we receive comments from customers asking how we take credit for a Superfecta in our Big ‘Uns if our top pick didn’t hit the board or if our 6th or 7th pick ran 3rd or 4th. People often underestimate the difficulty in correctly predicting a Superfecta. For this very reason, it is usually relatively costly (and extremely rewarding) to bet a Superfecta correctly. For those who are new to wagering on horse races, a Superfecta wager is when you are trying to pick the top 4 finishers in order. In this post, I would first like to discuss in general how to effectively bet a Superfecta. I will then explain how we typically determine a Superfecta “hit” in our Big ‘Uns and the suggested method of applying our predictions to making a Superfecta wager.

If you were asked what finish positions are the easiest to predict in a race, what do you think the answer is? The easiest positions to predict are typically the winner and then depending on the race, the horses that will run last and maybe 2nd to last. The next easiest position (but substantially harder) is to predict who will run 2nd. It then becomes exponentially harder to pick who will run 3rd and 4th. I am not saying that one can always predict the winner. However, regardless of the system, one will always be able to predict what horse will win a race more accurately than who will run 4th, for example.

Now if we take this one step further, you would assume that since it is easier to predict who will run 1st and 2nd, as opposed to 3rd and 4th, that you would want to “back-load” your Superfecta bet. In other words, you would use a smaller set of horses to run 1st and 2nd and a much larger set of horses to run 3rd and 4th. This is the most effective way to bet Superfectas. Some people expect that to predict a Superfecta correctly, you need to have the top 4 finishers as your top 4 picks. This is incorrect. First of all, although it occurs (see our Testimonials), it is very difficult to predict a Superfecta in your top 4 picks. Second of all, even if it did end up that our top 4 picks were the Superfecta, we would never suggest betting it in such a way. It is extremely difficult to hit a Superfecta straight or by boxing 4 horses. We would always recommend betting it as a partial with back-loading.

Typically, we list a Superfecta in our Big ‘Uns if the 1st and 2nd finishers are in our top tier (dark green) and if the 3rd and 4th finishers are in our top or 2nd tier (medium green). This is also the way we suggest betting the Superfecta. Using the top tier for 1st and 2nd and the top two tiers for 3rd and 4th. We further notate the Superfecta in our Big ‘Uns if certain circumstances are true. The label “COLD” is used if the top 4 finishers were our top 4 picks, in order. The label “BOX” is used if the top 4 finishers were our top 4 picks, in any order. The label “KEY” is used if the winner was our top pick. Please note that these labels are used to describe how the horses finished, and it does not mean that we suggested to bet the race in that way (as a box, for example).

Now for a perfect example, we look at the $13,038 Superfecta we listed as a hit at Calder Race Course on October 13 in the 11th race. From a casual glance, it looks like we didn’t predict it correctly. You might say, “You had 3 horses in your top tier, your top pick wasn’t even on the board, and the 3rd and 4th finishers were ranked 7th and 6th. This isn’t a real hit.” But now we look into the details…

The first thing to note is that there are two coupled entries involved in our top two tiers (1/1A and 2/2B). Because of this, there are actually less horses involved when placing the bet. Second of all, if you followed the guidelines as mentioned above, your Superfecta ticket would look like: 1,8,6/1,8,6/1,8,6,7,2,4/1,8,6,7,2,4. This back-loaded partial would cost $72 for a $1 Superfecta ticket. This may seem like a costly investment. However, that is the reality of Superfectas (especially in a wide open field such as this one). To effectively bet them, you have to outlay a bit more money but the reward is well worth it. For practice, you can try betting at the ever-growing number of tracks that allow 10-cent Superfecta wagers. If this was allowed here, this bet would have only cost $7.20.

The bottom line with any wager is the return on investment (ROI). In this case of our seemingly far-fetched Superfecta prediction, you would have made over 8950% profit on your $72 bet. And we didn’t even need our top pick to hit the board!

139 Responses to “How to Effectively Bet Superfectas”

  1. Ben Rametta says:

    I just don’t see how you can take credit for some your KEY supers. Your definition of KEY is as follows “1) Key – Our top pick wins, and the next 3 finishers are from our next 4 horses (regardless of the tiers). This would cost $24 for $1. These type of hits are listed as (KEY)”. REGARDLESS OF TIER, is a big statement here. Why would we KEY in a horse thats say in your YELLOW tier, or even in your 3nd tier ranked lowest. For example, take Race 7 on 01-22-2010 at Laurel where you are taking credit for a $9392.80 superfecta KEY. Your ranks were the 1,5,6, and 11. I mean that is pretty screwed, don’t you think. You say you take credit for these when your 1st and 2nd are from the top tier but the #2 horse was ranked 5/light green. Your BOX picks are dead on obviously and you do have plenty of them, but most of the supers you claim to win are the KEYS. I do like your tier system and your analysis icons, they give perspective. Preferably, using those tiers I would like to see at the end ACTUAL bets we can place at the window. Thank you.

  2. Lu says:

    services like and do Not offer online horse racing wagering to about 14 states in the United States, so if you nare in one of those 14 States, then you can not join or

    Thus, where else can people in these 14 States go to wager online and bet 10 cent superfectas? Anybody know, please advise as I others would be very grateful for the Help. Thanks!

  3. Horstradamus says:

    Ben, for that Superfecta you mentioned, the winning combination was 12/2/3/ALL. What that means is that nobody had all 4 correct. Therefore, anyone who had a ticket with the first 3 positions correct got paid. So technically, you did not have to go very deep (only 6 horses) to hit this lucrative payoff. Our definition for a KEY super is actually that the top selection won and the next 3 finishers are in our next 5 selections. However, in this case, our system automatically flags it as a hit as it identifies the winning combination with ALL listed in the 4th position in the results.

  4. Jake says:

    How do I determine if the payout is going to be worth the price of the .10 superfecta ticket? I’m tired of playing $24 a ticket and then only winning $29. I can’t figure out how to determine a good race to bet on and it’s holding me back. Please help. Jake

  5. Horstradamus says:

    Jake, $24 is rather costly for an average 10-cent ticket. You should typically aim for a ticket in the $7.20-$14.40 range. However, it pays to spend more if the race has a larger, open field, where there is no clear-cut favorite. This is where the big scores will occur (particularly if one or two bombs fall in the top 4). In these races, it pays to go deep and cover more horses. Also, in these races, it will be rare that the Superfecta only pays $29 for a 10-cent ticket.

  6. Mohammad says:

    How the hell are we suppose to know what horses are going to win? I mean even though they are teared how am I suppose to know which horse is still best?

  7. Horstradamus says:

    Mohammad, the point of this article is to show that with exotic wagers such as Superfectas, you do not need to know exactly who will win in order to make a big score. The tier-based system is ideal for lining up the combinations on your ticket to give you a good chance to cash in.

    If you are more interested in straight bets, you should focus on races where we either have a standalone horse in the top (dark green) tier, or the top horse’s rating is significantly better than the next horse listed.

  8. craigd says:

    I was just wondering what the two number ratings are based on next to the horses name.

  9. Horstradamus says:

    Craig, here is the explanation of our rating numbers:

    On the dirt, there are 2 overall ratings. The first rating is our rating of the horse off his/her most recent applicable dirt race. This rating is shown in aqua. If there is a plus next to this rating, that means the horse should improve off that race (equivalent to the Should Improve icon). If there are 2 pluses, that means the horse has multiple reasons to improve off the last race. The second rating is a composite rating where we analyze up to 4 recent races of the horse and take the median. This rating is shown in purple. The average of these two numbers is the value used to rank the horses. These ratings are length-based. So if a horse rates 55 and another horse rates 52, the horse with the 55 is 3 lengths (or 3/5 of a second) better.

    Also, if you look at the past performance list for the horses, in the leftmost column, you will see the ratings for each past performance. This is a good way to see if the horse is getting better or worse. The rating for the race that was used for the most recent rating will also be in aqua and the ratings for the races that were part of the second, composite rating will also be in purple.

    For turf races, we add a 3rd rating, the Turf Class rating. For turf races, this is shown first in parenthesis. The other two ratings (aqua and purple) work identically to the dirt. The class rating is an evaluation of how “classy” a horse is. This is determined from the type of turf races the horse was in previously and how successful the horse has been in those races. In turf races, we primarily tier the horses on this class rating. We have determined that this is the most important rating when analyzing turf races. However, within each tier, we do a secondary sort using the other 2 ratings (which equate the horse’s raw performance ability).

  10. ricksta says:

    LU, check out I’m from Tennessee and they’re the only site that will take my bets.

  11. Robert says:

    How would you bet a pick 6? Would you Box them with your top tier and part of you 2nd tier or what? I’m looking to play about $100 or $200. Thanks

  12. Royle says:

    Which Tracks offer the Super High 5 wager?

  13. Arjay says:

    Great, I used your site to bet at Arlington Matron Race and got lucky to hit a Superfecta on Tizaqueena using the combination (11/1,2/1,2,4/1,2,4,6) for $4.00 dollars Cost of the ticket is $48.00 and hit $3300. Kudos.

  14. Royle says:

    Have you ever considered offering customers access/ability to purchase ALL Races (let’s say up to 10) which have ONLY ONE horse in the TOP “Dark Green” TIER? That I would buy on a regular basis. Thank You.

  15. Royle says:

    Your Multiple TIER’s of Green seem to be LESS of an Advantage to the BUYER and MORE of an Advantage to the distributor. In other words, the ODDS seem to be stacked in your favor.

  16. PomDeTerre says:

    I have to agree with most of the bloggers. While your tips are insightfu sometimes, ypou simply cannot take credit for hitting “BigUns” based on your explanation. Anyone can wheel together infinite combos of top/middle and sometimes lower tier horses and take credit for the hit. That is not a tip; it’s shooting darts and hoping something sticks. If you are going to consider those as successful tips to the public, and then advertise as same, that is totally misleading.

  17. Horstradamus says:

    Pom, the Big’Uns listed on our site are automatically chosen by our system based on strict criteria. We don’t just loosely pick hits and list them. The rules for determining hits are actually very fair and are all hittable. They are primarily based on the tiers themselves, which is also how we recommend our customers bet. In fact, we get testimonials sometimes from customers who make scores that we don’t list, because they covered more horses than our strict rules allow.

    That being said, the real proof of a system’s success is from the customers themselves. It should also be noted that all the testimonials listed on our site are 100% real. We consistently receive testimonials from our customers. Some testimonials are from customers who hit on their first day ever betting the horses, while others are from our regulars who let us know that they are consistently profitable since using our system.

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  19. Paul Dreyer says:


  20. Horstradamus says:

    Paul, typically the Place Pick All bet requires you to have a horse that wins or places in every race on the card.

  21. nick rios says:

    How does one figure out cost of trifecta and superfecta? such as a 1.00 dollar tri is six dollars– what is a 4 horse tri or more cost? Also how does one figure out how much it costs, when you key a horse on top to the rest?

  22. Horstradamus says:

    Nick, a 4-horse Trifecta box costs $24 for $1. To calculate the costs of exotic wagers, feel free to use our FREE exotic wager cost calculator.

  23. Andrew says:

    Taking a look at Race 7 at Charles Town on July 25, how would you have effectively used your tiered betting system to hit this bet and how much would it have cost? I realize the box hit this one but how about if you used the tiers for this one with 3 dark green and 4 lighter green here.

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  25. billy o says:

    The all encompassing superfecta “system” has yet to be devised.
    I like to pick a horse to hit the board, and sprinkle in horses that might
    run with him. Pace makes the arce, and can screw up your plans if the pace is
    much too fast, or much too slow. I sometimes will play a ticket for a fast pace,
    when the closers might close, and a slow pace, when the front runners might” sneak away from the pack.” You have to be very creative sometimes !
    Best wishes, and lotsa Luck !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! billy o

  26. Mr Mike says:

    I m a newbie in this if a 10 cents superfecta pays $250.00 do I get $25.00 in my winnings thank you for your time.

  27. Horstradamus says:

    Mike, it depends what base wager the $250 payout relates to. If the results say $1 Superfecta pays $250, you will get back $25. If it says 10-cent Superfecta pays $250, you get $250. Tracks may list payoffs differently. Some tracks list both payouts ($1 and 10-cent) separately so you don’t have to do the math.

  28. jon says:

    How doyou find overlays ? What makes a horse an overlay from the rest of the horses in the race ? Thank You

  29. Horstradamus says:

    Jon, an overlay is a horse that is underbet according to its chances to win the race. Therefore, you are getting better odds than expected. On our selection form, the best way to spot overlays is to find large priced horses in our top (dark green) tier. The horses in the top tier are what we consider the best horses in the race. Also, it is a good to look for some longshots in the 2nd tier (and possibly 3rd tier) when lining up your Trifectas and Superfectas. These horses can hit the board and make the price. A good source of overlays are first time starters and first time turf runners. We are very adept at picking large priced winners in these scenarios. You will often see races where we place one or more firsters in our top tier. Good luck and happy new year!

  30. Jon says:

    I understand that part but how do you come up with a horse that is 30/1 ML to be a 3/1 horse? What do you look for ? How do you do it ? Thank You Horstadamus.And happy new year to U.

  31. Horstradamus says:

    Jon, we don’t currently publish expected odds for horses. However, if we select a 30/1 horse in our top (dark green) tier, it means we feel the horse does have a live shot to win the race and you should definitely use him in all positions in your exotics.

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  33. Don says:

    On a linited bankroll and am working overseas so have to use a overseas betting site to make my horse wages. I like to look at taking your top 2 or 3 and wheeling them over the next three over four or five and playing trifecta’s. I truly believe this is where you can make the money Super’s are okay but you have to invest a good sum plus its already hard enough hitting three think four is really taking a chance.

  34. Josh says:

    What are your favorite tracks to predict

  35. Horstradamus says:

    Josh, we do well at all the tracks we cover. However, we recommend looking at the Big ‘Uns on our site to see where we have been really HOT lately.

  36. josh says:

    I just left oaklawn a big loser. I think the only smart wager was calvon in the feature. Maybe i’m

  37. Ken says:

    I wanted to know if this possible as well “ve you ever considered offering customers access/ability to purchase ALL Races (let’s say up to 10) which have ONLY ONE horse in the TOP “Dark Green” TIERIwould buy on a regular basis. Thank You. I seem to favor simplistic systems, not too many variables, even though I like the way your tier system is broken down for the subject of this blog. I prefer to be conservative. Too each is own..

  38. Gary says:

    A tip on using Winning Ponies selections. When the morning line favorite does not show up in the top tier – for me that means the morning line favorite is vulenerable. That is when I like to hit that race hard since in those type of races the morning line favorite has a good chance to run out of the money. Sometimes knowing which horse to eliminate is a real bankroll saver and lets you focus on the really lucrative payoff horses.

  39. mike says:

    gary – when you say “hit a race hard” – how do you bet a race like this (when the ML fav is not in the top tier)?

  40. marllin says:

    Hello today i noticed some superfectas you have listed as winners when the second place horse was ranked sixth wouldnt you have your top tier for first and second according to what you said in other articles you do thanks

  41. salvatore gatti says:

    i would like an answer before post time of preakness i live in phenix so it would be 1:30pm sat. will 10 cent box for the super be allowed thank you

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  43. marllin says:

    What tracks offer .10 supers thanks

  44. tom skiba says:

    $2 Superfecta results on race 1 horses 1 2 3 4 paid $500. Same race next line $2 Superfecta results 1 2 4 3 paid $150. $2 Trifecta paid the same way at lesser amounts. Is a tie for third the only way this can happen?

  45. Horstradamus says:

    Tom, yes that would happen if the 3 and 4 dead-heated (tied) for 3rd.

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  48. John says:

    I’ve noticed that on many many occaisions, a front runner and a late pace runner seems to win and place…at the tracks I’ve played…with exactas or betting two horses to win…depending on the odds they’re carrying. Favoried horses with extremely low odds…notta play. Obviously, horses have to be respectable in regards to their odds to make a profit. Hope that helps someone. Just found your site yesterday…did a lot of research…seems a lot quicker…I may most likely have the same top tier, maybe not…but gotta have consistancy…and beats the heck out of handicapping for hours on end and too drained to enjoy the races. Will most likely give you a shot…after doing some more investigating and Google research. Really nice site!

  49. Horstradamus says:

    John, thanks for the feedback! We look forward to getting a testimonial from you about a big score!

  50. John says:

    Thanks for the quick feedback. Because I usually place more win bets than exotics – sometimes on my two top horses and depending on the last-minute odds. I’m wondering if you can provide a daily/weekly current straight ‘win’ bet percentage range or average or ratio, based on your 1st tier selections alone – bsed on past-race winners that you recommended?

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