Guests enjoying lunch during a race

How to Bet

Watching horse racing is more entertaining when you have a rooting interest and the easiest way to do that is to place a bet.

There are mutuel windows located throughout the facility, and tellers operate the machines located at each of these individual windows. After saying the track and race number, you state your wagers to the teller and pay the amount you bet. You will then receive the mutuel ticket(s) showing your wagers. Please check all tickets prior to leaving a mutuel window.

For your convenience and privacy, self-betting machines are located throughout the track. Self-betting machines are designated as "voucher only" and "bill accepting." Vouchers may be purchased at any mutuel window throughout the track.

Introduction to Pari-Mutuel Wagering
When you wager, you are betting not against the track but against everyone who is making that type of wager in a particular race. For example, if you bet a horse to win, your bet goes into the win pool. Based on how much is wagered on each horse to win, their odds will change accordingly. This is called pari-mutuel wagering, from the French term meaning "amongst ourselves." In this method of wagering, the public is betting against each other, not against the racetrack. In effect, the track has no interest in the results of a race. The track simply deducts a percentage from each dollar wagered for payment of purses, state taxes, and expenses. The remainder of the pool is returned proportionally to the winners.

Information is Valuable
Since you are essentially betting against everyone else, the more educated you are in your wager the better your chance of winning.

HOW TO BET
When you visit a mutuel window, state the following information:
  1. Name of track
  2. Race number
  3. Amount you wish to wager
  4. Type of wager
  5. Program number(s)

Example: "Buffalo Raceway, seventh race, two dollars to win on number five."

Types of Wagers

WIN
You win if your horse finishes first.

PLACE
You win if your horse finishes first or second.

SHOW
You win if your horse finishes first, second, or third.

ACROSS THE BOARD
Placing a wager on your horse to win, place, and show. A $2 bet "across the board" would be a $6 wager.

EXACTA
Picking two horses to finish first and second in exact order.

TRIFECTA
Picking three horses to finish first, second, and third in exact order.

SUPERFECTA
Picking four horses to finish first, second, third, and fourth in exact order.

DAILY DOUBLE
Picking the winners of two races that are designated Daily Double races. Wagers must be placed before the running of the first of the two races.

PICK THREE
Picking the winners of three races that are designated Pick Three races. Wagers must be placed before the running of the first of the three races.

PICK FOUR
Picking the winners of four races that are designated Pick Four races. Wagers must be placed before the running of the first of the four races.

PICK FIVE
Picking the winners of five races that are designated Pick Five races. Wagers must be placed before the running of the first of the five races. This pool will carryover if no tickets are sold selecting the winners of all five races.

Minimum Wagers
The minimum wager is $2 for Win, Place and Show wagering, Exotic wagers have minimums as low as $0.10.

Odds
Win odds are posted on television monitors and the infield tote board. These odds are updated every 45-90 seconds. Note that these odds will fluctuate from the time you wager until the betting ends. When you win, your payoff is determined by the closing odds.

These are the minimum payoffs for selected odds based on a $2 wager

1-9
$2.10

1-5
$2.40

2-5
$2.80

1-2
$3.00

3-5
$3.20

4-5
$3.60

3-2
$5.00

8-5
$5.20

9-5
$5.60

2-1
$6.00

5-2
$7.00

3-1
$8.00

5-1
$12.00

6-1
$14.00

8-1
$18.00

10-1
$22.00

12-1
$26.00

15-1
$32.00

Saddle Pad Colors

All standardbred racetracks have the following color format for saddle pad colors for post positions in each race:

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
 

Tote Board
The infield graphics board, or tote board, provides the following:

  • Amount of money wagered on each horse individually in the win, place, and show pools
  • Updated odds
  • Fractional and final race times
  • The result of the preceding race
  • Track condition
  • Post time for the upcoming race and the time of day

Content and links on this page are provided and maintained by the Buffalo Trotting Association, Inc., please contact the Association with any comments or concerns at 716-649-1280.