Trifecta Betting

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The trifecta is an advanced horse wager. Select the first, second, and third position horse. Your trifecta wins if the horses finish in the precise order you specified.

Sample for how to make a Trifecta Bet from a horse racebook.
Trifecta Betting Procedure

  1. Select the "Trifecta Bet" from your racebook’s wagering menu.
  2. Note the horses in the race, listed on the left. The next "ML" column lists the odds.
  3. Select the first position, second position and third position horse. Remember, final order matters. In this diagram, the first position horses has 2:1 odds, the second position horse has 10:1 odds, the third position horse has 12:1 odds.
  4. ***Notes: Your 3 horses must finish in the order you specified. Advanced bettors could place a Trifecta Wheel bet by choosing more than one horse to finish in a each position. For example, horse Jones is selected to win. Horses Smith and Charlie are BOTH selected to take second. Horse William is selected to take third.

Example: $1 Straight Trifecta Bet

Straight Trifectas cost $1 minimum. Some tracks charge $2 or more.

Example Bet: $1 Straight Trifecta on Horses 13, 9, 4. That means you are betting Horse 13 finishes first, Horse 9 finishes second, and Horse 4 finishes third. Your order must be correct.

Variant #1: Trifecta Box Betting

A Trifecta Box bet is picking the top 3 horses finishing in ANY order. This bet improves your chances of winning because you can choose more than 3 horses and order doesn’t matter.

There’s a catch. Trifecta Box bets cost more than a straight Trifecta. Each possible winning combination costs $1.

Trifecta Box Cost Calculation: (Number of horses) x (Number of horses – 1) x (Number of horses – 2) x (Cost per combination)

A 3 horse Trifecta Box means there are 6 possible finishing combinations. Your bet will cost $6, $1 per combination.
3 horse cost = (3 horses) x (3 horses – 1) x (3 horses – 2) x $1 = $6
4 horse cost = (4 horses) x (3) x (2) x $1 = $24
5 horse cost = (5 horses) x (4) x (3) x $1 = $60

Example: $1 Trifecta Box Bet

Sample for how to make a straight Trifecta Box Bet from a horse racebook.
Trifecta Betting Procedure

  1. Select the "Trifecta Bet" from your racebook’s wagering menu.
  2. Note the horses in the race, listed on the left. The next "ML" column lists the odds.
  3. Select 3 or more horses to finish first, second, and third. Remember, final order does not matter. In this diagram, the first horse has 2:1 odds. The second horse has 10:1 odds. The third horse has 12:1 odds.
  4. You must click the blue "Box" button. This indicates the bet is a Trifecta Box and not a straight Trifecta.
  5. ***Notes: 3 or more horses must finish first, second and third.
    For example you bet horses James, Ted and Larry. Suppose the race finishes Ted, James and Larry. The bet would win. If the race finishes Larry, James and Ted the bet also wins. But if horse Bill ends up first, second or third the bet would lose. You did not choose Bill in your box.
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3 Horse Trifecta Box Cost and Combinations
Finishing Order Cost Each
11, 3, 7 $1
11, 7, 3 $1
3, 7, 11 $1
3,11,7 $1
7, 3, 11 $1
7, 11, 3 $1
Total Cost $6

Variant #2: Trifecta Wheel Betting

The Trifecta Wheel bet is picking sets of horses to finish in first, second and third position. This bet improves your chances of winning because 1 or more horses can be chosen to finish in each position.

Difference between Trifecta Wheel and Trifecta Box Bets?
Trifecta Wheel betting requires a specific order from 3 sets of horses. Trifecta box betting requires any order of 3 or more horses.

The Trifecta "Key" Concept

Keying means selecting a set of horses to finish in a certain position. Trifectas are for first, second and third position. That means 3 keys must be made for each Trifecta Wheel.

Start with the first position key. Select 1 or more horses. For example, suppose horses 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 are racing.

Example 1st Horse Key: Horses 1, 5

That means horses 1 or 5 must finish first. You can only win if 1 or 5 finish first.

Example 2nd Horse Key: Horses 2, 3

That means horses 2 or 3 must finish second. You can only win if 2 or 3 finish second.

Example 3rd Horse Key: Horses 4, 6, 7

That means horses 4, 6 or 7 must finish third. You can only win if 4, 6 or 7 finish third.

Example Winning combinations. Key 1 Horses 1 & 5. Key 2 Horses 2 & 3. Key 3 Horses 4, 6, 7
Finishing Order Result
1,2,4 Win
1,2,6 Win
1,2,7 Win
1,3,4 Win
1,3,6 Win
1,3,7 Win
5,2,4 Win
5,2,6 Win
5,2,7 Win
5,3,4 Win
5,3,6 Win
5,3,7 Win
Example Losing combinations. Key 1 Horses 1 & 5. Key 2 Horses 2 & 3. Key 3 Horses 4, 6, 7
Finishing Order Result Why?
1,2,3 Lose Horse 1 correct. Horse 2 correct. Horse 3 not in third key.
7,4,1 Lose Horse 7 not in first key. Horse 4 not in second key. Horse 1 not in third key.
8,1,5 Lose Horse 8 not in any key. Horse 1 not in second key. Horse 5 not in third key.
1,5,4 Lose Horse 1 correct. Horse 5 not in second key. Horse 4 correct.
2,7,6 Lose Horse 2 not in first key. Horse 7 not in second key. Horse 6 correct.

Trifecta Wheel Bets Cost $1 Per Finishing Combination

Consider the following examples. We’ve keyed horses into the first, second and third positions. Trifecta Wheel cost is $1 multiplied by total number of combinations.

Trifecta Wheel Cost Calculation:

The calculation is more complicated because there are more possible combinations. Also, putting the same horse in multiple keys must be considered.

Let A equal Key 1 number of horses, B equal Key 2 number of horses, C equal Key 3 number of horses.
Let AB equal number of same horses in both Key 1 and Key 2.
Let BC equal number of same horses in both Key 2 and Key 3.
Let AC equal number of same horses in both Key 1 and Key 3.
Let ABC equal number of same horses in all keys: Key 1, Key 2 and Key 3.

(A x B x C) – (AB x C) – (BC x A) – (AC x B) + (ABC x 2) = Total Trifecta Wheel Cost

Example 1: Trifecta Part Wheel

Horses 1 and 2 are your first key.
Horses 2, 3 and 4 are your second key.
Horses 5, 6 and 7 are your second key.
Note: 2 is in both first and second keys.
Note: No horses are in all keys.

(A x B x C) = 2 x 3 x 3 = 18
– (AB x C) – (BC x A) – (AC x B) = – (1 x 3) – (0 x 2) – (0 x 3) = -3
+ (ABC x 2) = (0 x 2) = 0
Total Example Trifecta Part Wheel Cost, $1 per Combination = 18 – 3 + 0 = 15 x $1 = $15

7 Horse Trifecta Wheel Combinations. 2 unique horse first key, 2 unique horse second key + 1 from first key, 3 unique horse third key.
Finishing Order Cost Each
1,2,5 $1
1,2,6 $1
1,2,7 $1
1,3,5 $1
1,3,6 $1
1,3,7 $1
1,4,5 $1
1,4,6 $1
1,4,7 $1
2,3,5 $1
2,3,6 $1
2,3,7 $1
2,4,5 $1
2,4,6 $1
2,4,7 $1
Total Cost $15

Example 2: Trifecta Full Wheel (1,2 – ALL – ALL)

Horses 1 and 2 are your first key.
Horses 3,4,5,6,7,8 are your second key.
Horses 3,4,5,6,7,8 are your third key.
Note: Horses 3,4,5,6,7,8 are in both second and third keys.
Note: No horses are in all keys.

(A x B x C) = 2 x 6 x 6 = 72
– (AB x C) – (BC x A) – (AC x B) = – (0 x 6) – (6 x 2) – (0 x 6) = -12
+ (ABC x 2) = (0 x 2) = 0
Total Example Trifecta Full Wheel Cost, $1 per Combination = 72 – 12 + 0 = 60 x $1 = $60

8 Horse Trifecta Full Wheel Winning Combinations
Assume 2 unique horse first key, 6 unique horse second key, 0 horse unique third key + 6 from second key.

For simplicity, 60 combinations is too many to write. Use the equation to calculate winning combinations for each Trifecta Full Wheel.

Trifecta Betting Cost Tables

Trifecta Box Cost Calculation: (Number of horses) x (Number of horses – 1) x (Number of horses – 2) x (Cost per combination)

Trifecta Wheel Cost
The calculation is more complicated because there are more possible combinations. Also, putting the same horse in multiple keys must be considered.

Let A equal Key 1 number of horses, B equal Key 2 number of horses, C equal Key 3 number of horses.
Let AB equal number of same horses in both Key 1 and Key 2.
Let BC equal number of same horses in both Key 2 and Key 3.
Let AC equal number of same horses in both Key 1 and Key 3.
Let ABC equal number of same horses in all keys: Key 1, Key 2 and Key 3.

(A x B x C) – (AB x C) – (BC x A) – (AC x B) + (ABC x 2) = Total Trifecta Wheel Cost

Trifecta Wheel Cost, 1 Horse Key, 3 or more horses second and third keys, $1 Per Combination
Horses Cost
3 $6
4 $12
5 $20
6 $30
7 $42
8 $56
9 $72
10 $90
11 $110

Trifecta Part Wheel Cost Table: $1 Per Combination
Each number represents a horse. Read 10 and 11 as two digit numbers in larger fields.
Some horses have been added to multiple keys.
Example:
1,2,3/1,2,3/1,2,3,4 = $12 (Horses 1,2,3 in all 3 keys)

Combination $1 Cost
1  2  345 $3
1  2  3456 $4
1  2  34567 $5
1  2  345678 $6
1  2  3456789 $7
1  2  345678910 $8
1  2  34567891011 $9
1  2  3456789101112 $10
1  23  345 $5
1  23  3456 $7
1  23  34567 $9
1  23  345678 $11
1  23  3456789 $13
1  23  345678910 $15
1  23  34567891011 $17
1  23  3456789101112 $19
1  234  345 $7
1  234  3456 $12
1  234  34567 $13
1  234  345678 $16
1  234  3456789 $19
1  234  345678910 $22
1  234  34567891011 $25
1  234 3456789101112 $28
1  2345  345 $9
1  2345  3456 $13
1  2345  34567 $17
1  2345  345678 $21
1  2345  3456789 $25
1  2345  345678910 $29
1  2345  34567891011 $33
1  2345  3456789101112 $37
1  23456  345 $12
1  23456  3456 $16
1  23456  34567 $21
1  23456  345678 $26
1  23456  3456789 $31
1  23456  345678910 $36
1  23456  34567891011 $41
1  23456  3456789101112 $46
Combination $1 Cost
123  4  567 $9
123  4  5678 $12
123  4  56789 $15
123  4  5678910 $18
123  4  567891011 $21
123  4  56789101112 $24
1234  5  678 $12
1234  5  6789 $16
1234  5  678910 $20
1234  5  67891011 $24
1234  5  6789101112 $28
12  34  567 $12
12  34  5678 $16
12  34  56789 $20
12  34  5678910 $24
12  34  567891011 $28
12  34  56789101112 $32
12  12  345 $6
12  12  3456 $8
12  12  34567 $10
12  12  345678 $12
12  12  3456789 $14
12  12  345678910 $16
12  12  34567891011 $18
12  12  3456789101112 $20
12  12  34 $4
12  12  345 $6
12  12  3456 $8
12  12  34567 $10
12  12  345678 $12
12  12  3456789 $14
12  12  345678910 $16
12  12  34567891011 $18
12  12  3456789101112 $20
123  123  1234 $12
123  123  12345 $18
123  123  123456 $24
123  123  1234567 $30
123  123  12345678 $36
123  123  123456789 $42
123  123  12345678910 $48
123  123  1234567891011 $54
123  123  123456789101112 $60
12  3  456 $6
12  3  4567 $8
12  3  45678 $10
12  3  456789 $12
12  3  45678910 $14
12  3  4567891011 $16
12  3  456789101112 $18
See Also
Trifecta Box Betting
Trifecta Wheel Betting
Superfecta Betting