what does a trifecta pay

Trifecta Horse Betting

Trifecta horse racing betting is a highly popular form of horse race betting among handicappers and experienced sports bettors. At a glance, it might seem near impossible to win this kind of wager, but a Trifecta horse racing bet can be extremely lucrative; hence the favoritism amidst veteran horse racing bettors.

What is Trifecta Horse Racing Betting?

A Trifecta is a complicated bet that requires the sports bettor to pick three animals in a single horse race, then pick the exact order in which they will Win, Place and Show (finish in first, second and third). The only way to win a Trifecta horse racing bet is to correctly predict the exact finishing order of all three horses.

If the horses each Win, Place and Show, but not in the order chosen, or if two of the horses finish in the order chosen but the third does not, the bettor will not collect anything on his or her wager. However, a winning Trifecta horse racing bet can have an extraordinary payout, and is where most horse racing bettors make their big bucks.

Above is an example of the “trifecta” menu at where you can bet on any horse to either win, place or show. You will also get $250 free at Bovada for the Kentucky Derby.

Not convinced it’s worth it? Try this on for bankroll-size… At the 2005 Kentucky Derby, the finishing order was “1st Giacomo – 2nd Closing Argument – 3rd Afleet Alex. A simple $2 Trifecta bet on this combination paid an exorbitant $133,000! You can bet Trifectas at online and test your luck.

Types of Trifecta Horse Racing Betting

There are three ways to place a Trifecta bet in horse racing betting:

Straight Trifecta
Trifecta Box
Trifecta Wheel

The minimum bet size is $2, so we’ll use a $2 bet in each of the examples below.

Straight Trifecta Horse Racing Betting

The Straight Trifecta bet is the basic wager described above, where a bettor picks 3 horses to finish in exact win, Place and Show order. The bet slip would show something like this: $2 Trifecta (6-2-4). This means that it is a Straight Trifecta bet on the #6 horse to win (first), the #2 horse to place (second) and the #4 horse to show (third).

Trifecta Box Horse Racing Betting

The Trifecta Box bet is the same as the Straight Trifecta bet except that it includes all possible win, place and show combination among the three chosen horses. There are six possible ways for three horses to finish, therefore the total bet would be $12 instead of $2 ($2 x 6 bets = $12).

Let’s say the bettor chose a Trifecta Box horse racing bet on (6-2-4). The $12 bet would include all of the following finishing orders.

Trifecta Box (6-4-2): 6-2-4; 6-4-2; 4-2-6; 4-6-2; 2-4-6; 2-6-4

It is also possible to add a fourth horse into the mix, such as (6-2-4-1), which would make the possible number of winning combinations 24, and the total purchase price $42. Be careful not to pick too many horses in a Trifecta Box as the price continues to climb.

5 horses = $120
6 horses = $240
7 horses = $420
8 horses = $672

The only way it would pay off to bet as much money as is involved in a 8-way Trifecta Box is if the win, place and show horses were long-shots to win (as in the case of the 2005 Kentucky Derby). If the horses finish in the originally favored order, you will be losing a lot of money!

Trifecta Wheel Horse Racing Betting

The Trifecta Wheel is used when you have a pretty clear idea of which horse will finish first, but aren’t so sure about second and third. Let’s say you think #4 is a sure fire winner, and you’re fairly certain #7 and #1 are going to follow, but not sure in which order. The Trifecta Wheel bet would be placed on 4-7-1 and 4-1-7, for a total $4 bet on two combinations. (See our Horse Racing Wheel Betting Article)

Maybe you think #4 might actually slip to second place, splitting #7 and #1 in first and third. You can extend the Trifecta wheel to cover 7-4-1 and 1-4-7 as well, totaling an $8 bet.

Trifecta Horse Racing Betting Payouts

Unfortunately, you cannot view the payouts for a Trifecta bet on the tote board at the track. There are simply too many possible combinations to bet on to display all of them. You have to gauge an expected payout range by observing which horses are expected to finish in the top three according to the odds and probably payouts on the tote board.

A trifecta horse racing betting guide for bettors, including details on boxing trifectas, using the wheel method and payouts you can receive from trifectas.

Trifecta Bet Definition and Introduction

How to Bet a Trifecta

What is a Trifecta Bet in Horse Racing?

In horse racing or greyhound racing, a Trifecta bet is when you place a bet on the three horses which you think will finish the race first and second and third, in a specific order. If they finish in the correct order you win, and you can win big!

What is the Minimum Stake on a Trifecta bet?

The minimum stake for an online trifecta bet is usually either $.50 or $1 minimum. Trifecta bets are available on almost all horse racing around the world, and cover all breeds of racing including trifecta bets on thoroughbred racing, trifecta bets on harness racing and trifecta bets on greyhound racing.

How Much Can I Win on a Trifecta Bet?

Winnings on Trifecta bets are unlimited and are determined by the pari-mutuel system where all winning tickets share the pool of money collected. Winning on a Trifecta in horse racing is very difficult to achieve, but the rewards are due the long odds and big payoffs. If you had wagered $2 and correctly picked the Trifecta in the 2016 Belmont Stakes the Trifecta payoff would have been $2,751. The top three finishers – Creator (1st), Destin (2nd) and Lani (3rd) also all happened to be grey, so no matter what your angle, you can hit it big with a trifecta!

What is a Boxed Trifecta Bet?

You still need to select the first three finishers in the correct order, but by boxing your selections, they can finish in any combination. This also means you can choose more than three runners. Example:

  • any three selections in a boxed trifecta is 6 bets
  • any four selections in a boxed trifecta is 24 bets
  • any five selections in a boxed trifecta is 60 bets
  • any six selections in a boxed trifecta is 120 bets
  • any seven selections in a boxed trifecta is 210 bets

What is a Trifecta Key Box Bet?

A Trifecta key box bet allows you to focus on one selection and select other “non-key” selections to finish alongside your “key” selection

The Trifecta key box wager is useful when you have one runner you are like strongly and want to cover more options in your trifectas, but keep total cost lower than if you boxed all your selections.

Trifecta Key Box Examples:

  • a $1 Trifecta Key Box: 1,3 /5,7 would cost $12 and is made up of two trifecta box bets of 1,3,5 and 1,3,7 (the 1 and the 3 are ” KEYS ” and must finish in the first three positions to have any chance of winning, and the third trifecta position must be filled by 5 OR 7)
  • a $2 Trifecta Key Box: 1 /2,4,6,8 would cost $36; (the 1 is the” KEY ” and must finish in the first three positions to have any chance of winning, and the other two trifecta positions must be filled by the 2,4,6 OR 8)

Trifecta Bets on the Kentucky Derby

With a large field of 20 runners trifecta bets are a great way to win big on the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May each year. The largest trifecta payout in recent years was in 2009 when the 50-1 chance Mine That Bird won the race and was followed home in second place by 5-1 Pioneer of the Nile and third was Musket Man at 18-1. A successful $2 trifecta bet on the 2009 Kentucky Derby returned a huge $41,500!

Making a Trifecta Bet Online

You don’t have to be at the track to place a bet on horse racing in the United States. Betting on horse races online is legal in most states. However, make sure you place your online and mobile bets through a legal, safe and regulated website like .

Don’t worry if you are unsure of staking, the BetAmerica betting pages offer you the total number of bets and total stake needed as you build your wagers, so you can check all totals before placing your bets!

Learn the ins and outs of how to bet a Trifecta and be ready for the Kentucky Derby! Get the Trifecta definition and basic tips! ]]>