5 Tips for Playing Horizontal Exotics: Part 1

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April 2nd, 2020

Betting on horse racing can be intimidating for inexperienced players, who now have a bevy of wagering options at their disposal. While the win-place-show model has been in place for some time, the recent growth of exotic wagers can be confusing to both the novice and newcomer. But, once explained, they are not very complicated at all.

Here is what horizontal wagers entail, and why they are appealing to so many handicappers.

What is a Multi-Race Wager

A horizontal, or multi-race, wager is a play consisting of selecting the winner of a number of consecutive races. Unlike vertical plays, the result of interest is solely based on the first-place finisher in each contest.

Types of Multi-Race Wagers

Double: The oldest of the exotics wagers, the double consists of correctly selecting the winners of two straight events. It is commonplace to have the opportunity to wager on the double in every race (except for the last).

Pick 3: This often high-value play rewards bettors who have tabbed the first-place finisher in three straight races. The Pick 3, more often than not, will give back more than simply cashing a win ticket in the same consecutive contests.

Pick 4: The bet that has exploded in interest in recent years, the Pick 4 requires bettors to correctly predict the winner of four consecutive races. The base wager for the often rewarding Pick 4 is typically 50 cents.

Pick 5: A more recent addition to wagering pools, the Pick 5 acts in a similar way to the previous plays. Cashing a Pick 5 ticket requires selecting the winner in five races in succession. This also has a minimum stake of 50 cents in most circumstances.

Pick 6: The granddaddy of them all is the Pick 6. The incredibly difficult task of hitting a Pick 6 can reward its winners with life-altering scores on occasion. Some venues will offer as low as a 20-cents base play for the wager.

How to Play A Multi-Race Exotics ticket

Wagering on a horizontal sequence is fairly easy. Starting with the race to commence your play, you will select a horse or horses in each leg of the wager. There are no restrictions on how many runners you choose in each contest, though the more contenders selected equates to a bigger investment.

How much does a Multi-Race Wager Cost

Calculating the cost of a horizontal wager requires nothing more than simple multiplication. Starting in the first leg of your bet, multiply the amount of runners in each race. And then, multiply that by the base wager. An example of a $1 Pick 3 ticket below would cost $18 (3 x 2 x 3 x $1 base wager).

  • Leg 1: 3,4,5
  • Leg 2: 1,2
  • Leg 3: 4,6,8

Why Play a Multi-Race Wager

There are various reasons to delve into the horizontal pools. These wagers have grown exponentially in recent years, with pool sizes that can reach well into seven figures on occasion. On bigger racing days, venues will often have lucrative guaranteed pools which bettors can take aim at. In general, a bigger pool size gives a better chance for a greater return.

Now that we know the basics of horizontal wagers, what are some tips in playing them? Move on to Part 2 to find out!