The trifecta box bet is a popular option for those who are intimidated by the proposition of a straight trifecta. The box let’s you select three or more horses from the field, whom you believe are going to finish in the top three spots. You’ll have to guess all three horses to win, place, and show to win any sort of trifecta bet.

As we discussed before, a straight trifecta bet requires you select (in order) the winners of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in a horse race. This rigidity means the odds of hitting such a bet are low, though the payouts on even a $2 wager can be upwards of three figures. Since many horse bettors flinch at the idea of being able to accurately and consistently pick the top three winners out of a field of horses, many choose the trifecta box wager instead.

Picking the Trifecta Box

Imagine you have are about to gamble on the outcome of an 8-horse race. You decide that you like the 4-5-6 horses, but you don’t which of the three is going to win, place, or show. You can put the three in a box and make that your trifecta pick, and no matter what order those three horses show, you win the bet. But if the 4-5-6 horses finish in the 1st, 2nd, and 4th spots, or any combination which isn’t first, second, and third, you’ll lose your bet.

You can add a fourth horse (or more) to the box. Let’s say you don’t like the 2nd horses position on the inside, but you think it’s a dangerous horse and could break into the top three. To hedge your bets, you might add the #2 horse into your wager. You would pick a trifecta box of 2-4-5-6, and as long as some combination of those four horses finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, you win the trifecta box bet.

Trifecta Box Costs

Here’s the cost structure for a standard $1 wager on the trifecta box bet. Larger wagers are possible, though they follow this betting pattern.

  • Three-Horse Box ($1) – $6
  • Four-Horse Box ($1) – $24
  • Five-Horse Box ($1) – $60
  • Six-Horse Box ($1) – $120
  • Seven-Horse Box ($1) – $210
  • Eight-Horse Box ($1) – $336
  • Nine-Horse Box ($1) – $504
  • Ten-Horse Box ($1) – $720

As you can see, the cost of filling out trifecta boxes quickly becomes prohibitive, if you want to add a lot of horses to your bet. Most people fill out a 3-horse box at six dollars, keeping in mind their winners pick has to be on the money.