Exotic and New Horse Racing Bets for the Budget-Minded Player

by Horstradamus

posted on September 1, 2011 in Educational Articles, General Discussion, Horse Racing | No Comments >>

While huge payouts associated with multi-race wagers like the Pick-6 grab all the attention and headlines, there are a variety of other exotic and new wagers that offer a lot of betting action for a smaller investment.  While some of these bets have been around for a long time, there are a lot of horseplayers and newcomers to the game that are still unaware of their existence. Read on to learn about some of these fun bets that are great for beginning horse racing fans and budget minded bettors alike.


Mutuel Ticket

Place Pick All

The goal of the Place Pick All, which is only available at California based tracks, is to pick the winner or second-place finisher from each race on the entire card.  During off-peak days there are as few as 8 races offered on some California tracks, providing a good opportunity to try this bet out.  A good strategy is to single 3 favorites or more in the least competitive races on the card.  Other races should have no more than 3 selections in order to cut down on ticket price.  A simple 1x3x2x2x1x1x2x3 bet for the Place Pick All will cost $72 using the minimum $1.00 base ticket price.  Unlike the Pick-6, there is no carryover feature for the Place Pick All.  If no ticket contains a winning combination, the payout will go to the ticket with the highest number of correct selections. A quick look at payoffs reveals that the Place Pick All can be a lucrative bet.  On August 28, 2011, the 10 race Place Pick All at Del Mar returned $2,284 with at least one logical horse either winning or catching second place in each leg.

Grand Slam

The Grand Slam is a fun bet offered at all NYRA owned tracks (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course).  This is a 4-leg multi race bet offered once a day on each race card.  To win the Grand Slam, you must pick a horse that is in-the-money (win, place, or show) for the first three legs, and then the winner of the fourth race in the sequence.  The obvious strategy is to single the first three legs of a Grand Slam bet and then to go wide in the last leg.  With an average Grand Slam ticket costing anywhere between $4 – $6, this makes it one of the most affordable multi-race bets with a realistic chance of winning.  Of course, the average payout for a winning ticket on the Grand Slam is pretty low unless you hit a long shot in the last leg.  Still, for newcomers to the race track it will give them plenty to root for without spending a lot of money.

Head to Head

The Head to Head wager, popular with European bookmakers for generations, has finally come to the US and is now featured at two tracks: Del Mar in California and Calder Race Course in Florida.  This bet now has the distinction of being one of the easiest to understand for new players.  To win, a bettor must pick which of two predesignated horses will finish ahead of the other in the designated race.  The first Head to Head bet at Calder was first offered on Saturday, August 27th, where Angel Dreams outfinished the first time starter Callas and returned a whopping $2.80 for a $2.00 bet.  In order for serious bettors to take this wager seriously, tracks will have to lower the takeout from 18% to something more like 10% which will attract serious gamblers and sports bettors who are used to laying $110 to get $100 back.