The Straight Trifecta is a popular exotic bet at the horse track. The reason for this popularity is the big payouts when you hit one of these bets. Be warned that most straight trifectas are not going to succeed, no matter how much you know about horse betting.

In a straight trifecta bet, you have to pick the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place horses in any one race. You are’t picking the Top 3 horses in any order–you have to get the order perfect.

Straight Trifecta Horse Racing Betting Example

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Imagine you have three horses you like in a particular race: “One Step for Man”, “Tannhauser”, and “Marengo”. Let’s say you pick a straight trifecta where One Step for Man wins the race, Tannhauser places, and Marengo shows. If, instead, the order ends up One Step for Man (1st), Marengo (2nd), and Tannhauser (3rd), you still lose the trifecta.

The rigid nature of the bet makes it highly unlikely you’re going to win, but a $2 bet also can net big payouts on a win. Gamblers love big payouts, so many are willing to face the long odds.

Trifecta Box Betting

If that sounds a little too daunting for you, then you can also place a trifecta box bet, in which you select three or more horses to win, place, and show. This gives you a better chance of cashing a ticket, but usually costs more to make a bet. I’ll discuss the cost structure of trifecta boxes in its own article.

Trifecta Key

The trifecta key bet requires you to pick the winner of the race, but lets you select two or more horses to finish 2nd or 3rd in any order. So you would might select “One Step for Man” as your 1st place winner, but then place Tannhauser and Marengo in the key. You can also add extra horses to the key if you aren’t so certain about the rest of the field, though this adds to the price of the ticket. For instance, you could add a dark horse named “Automat” to the aforementioned key, though this would drive the price of a standard bet from $2 to $6.