How Horse Racing Trifecta Bets Work

Anybody with a RaceBets account can make a horse racing Trifecta bet. Along with the Exacta, the Trifecta is among our most popular exotic wagers. How does a Trifecta bet work? What are the rules for the Trifecta and how much can you win?

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The Tote

The Trifecta is a Tote bet and the money from all bets on the race goes into a pool. The vast majority of this money is then made into a prize-pool, to be shared out by those with winning tickets.

Exacta Bets

With an Exacta bet, you have to pick the horses that are going to finish 1st and 2nd. Getting the Trifecta right is even harder, as you have to choose the horses that will come 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Obviously, the more runners in the race, the harder it becomes. For example, if you picked the Trifecta in the Aintree Grand National you would be virtually guaranteed to get a huge payout. With 40 runners in that race, a tiny fraction of the bets are likely to be winners.


Sometimes, customers like to make Trifecta bets, as they have studied the form/race conditions and just feel comfortable about how the race is going to be run. They see extra value in making a Trifecta bet, rather than just betting on the horses they feel are likely to win.


For example, let’s say there is an 8 runner race on the flat. 3 of the horses are hold-up horses. That means they are not front-runners. They prefer to sit at the back of the field and use their late sprinting pace.

All of the other 5 horses are front-runners. Not only that, but they have also shown a desire to lead. These are horses that do not like to have other horses running ahead of them.

This could be a great spot for a Trifecta bet. With 5 horses fighting for the lead, it is highly likely that the front-runners are going to exert themselves too much. Only one horse can lead the race, at any one time, so the other 4 could well get agitated. When this happens, they can easily lose their rhythm and waste energy with pointless bursts of speed midway through the race.

Meanwhile, the 3 hold-up horses are just biding their time. They can come sweeping past at the final bend, as the front-runners have overdone it in the earlier parts of the race. At least, this is how you hope the race will pan out!

You decide that you want to make a Trifecta bet. You choose the order which the 3 hold-up horses will finish the race, presuming that they will occupy the first 3 positions. But what if you don’t have a clue which order they will finish in?

Boxed Bets

You can box your Trifecta bet. In this case, you would make 6 different bets and these would cover all 6 combinations of how the 3 horses could finish. As long as your race-analysis is correct, you will win the Trifecta!

Join RaceBets now and get your Trifecta bets on for today’s races!


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