The show bet in parimutuel betting succeeds if the horse you bet on finishes anywhere in the top three spots. The show bet is considered a straight bet, because it’s not contingent on any other outcomes or propositions, but the straightforward concept of a horse finishing either first, second, or third in the race.

Strait Bets And Exotic Bets

A show bet in horse racing betting is one of three types of wagers which is classified as a “straight bet”. Win bets, place bets, and show bets are the three straight bet types. All other horse track wagers are considered “exotic bets”. The term “straight bet” can be confusing sometimes, because win bets are sometimes called single bets or straight bets.

Show Bet Horse Racing Odds

The odds to show aren’t nearly as steep as the odds on a win bet, so many gamblers prefer to take this action. Many gamblers at the horse track make show bets, because they want a better chance at a winning wager.

Show Bet Winning Payouts

Show bet payouts can be a little complicated for first-time parimutuel gamblers. That’s because this wager pays off a different amount based on where the horse finishes. You are making three wagers in one: one to win, one to place, and one to show. If the horse shows (finishes 3rd), then the payout reflects the lesser showing. If the horse places (finishes 2nd), you are paid off on the horse placing and showing. If the horse wins (finishes 1st), you are paid off on the horse winning, placing, and showing–since it’s done all three.

Horse Racing Show Bet Example

For an example of a show bet, let’s take a look at the 2011 Preakness Stakes. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place horses were Shackleford, Animal Kingdom, and Astrology (respectively). The payouts on these three horse get complicated, because all three are considered to have shown, while additional payouts were in effect for Shackleford and Animal Kingdom.

Astrology is the simplest, because it’s listed payout to show was $8.00. Animal Kingdom, winner of the Kentucky Derby and therefore the favorite at the Preakness, paid $4.20 to place for its second-place finish, but also paid $3.60 to show, since it also showed in the race. Shackleford, which opened betting as a 12-to-1 underdog on a straightforward win bet, paid $27.20 to win, $10.20 to place, and $6.80 to show. As you can see, if you get third place on a show bet, it’s nice, but you’re still hoping your horse gets the victory.