How do I make a bet?

How to place a bet at the mutuel window

1. State the race number and the track where the race is being run
2. State the amount you wish to wager.
3. State the type of wager you wish to make.
4. State your choice or the program number of the horse(s) on which you want to wager.

For Example: "Colonial Downs, fifth race, five dollars to win, on number 2."

Straight or Basic Wagers


This is a very traditional wager and if your selection wins the race, you win the bet. It is known as a "simple wager' although it is not simple to pick the winner.


Traditionally, a player picks a runner to win based on the racing history of the runner, also known as the Past Performance, or PP. Did the runner win last time, has it won before etc. This is not always the case. However, some players bet on the jockey, the color of the horse, whether the horse is a filly or mare (female) or colt, gelding, horse (male).


This wager is also a traditional and simple wager. Again, it can be difficult to pick a runner to come in second, which is what "place" means. Though you receive a payout if the horse comes in first or second, you only receive what the horse pays to come in second, not the amount paid from the win pool.


Again, normally picked due to the past performance record of the runner. Many players make place wagers because it is a safer pick than a win wager. If a runner has a strong PP, but it is not a sure win, many novice players will play the runner to come in second, or place.


This wager is also a traditional and simple wager. This type of wager is easier to pick because now you can win if the horse comes in first, second, or third. Your runner must come in at least third, or show, to collect a payout. In this case, you only receive the money from the show pool.


There are many novice and professional players that strictly wager show bets. The novice will wager a traditional $2 wager, while the professional will wager much more. Again, the PP's are usually a determining factor in this type of wager.

Across the Board

You are wagering on a horse to Win, Place and Show. You receive one ticket for all three wagers. If your horse wins, you receive Win, Place and Show payouts. If your horse finishes second, you receive Place and Show payouts; and if your horse is third, you receive the Show payout. Because you are actually placing three wagers, the minimum wager is $6.


If a player wants to cover him or herself, he or she can wager across the board.

Exotic Wagers


This wager is the simplest and most played of the exotic wagers. Most racetracks have exactas in each race. With this type of wager, the player must pick the runners that finish first and second in the race in direct order. A player can box this wager and it is known as an exacta box. In this wager, the runners must finish first and second in any order.


Exactas are best played with several combinations as to cover themselves and possibly receive large payouts.

A player can key a runner in the first or second position with one or more runners in the other half of the wager. This is known as an exacta part wheel.


To collect the player must pick the runners that will finish first, second, and third in any one particular race, in exact order. Some racetracks offer only a few races that have the trifecta wager. Others offer every race as a trifecta as long as the race has a minimum of six runners.


Like the pick threes and pick 6's, the trifectas can offer large payouts. Many players will box more then three horses for the trifecta, but one must realize that with each addition of a marginal horse the cost grows rapidly. An example would be that a four horse trifecta box costs $24. A five horse trifecta box jumps to $60. The exacta marginal horse may not be worth the extra cost.


This wager is similar to the trifecta but instead of three runners the player must pick the top four finishers in the exact order.


Most players wheel several runners in numerous combinations such as
1,2,3,4,5,6/1,2,3,4,5,6/1,2,3,4,5,6/1,2,3,4,5,6. This provides the player with multiple chances and possibly large payouts.

Daily Double

This is the first or many exotic wagers. To win the player must pick the winner in two consecutive races. Most racetracks offer the daily double as the first and second race, which is known as an early daily double, and then again for the last two races, which is known as the late daily double.


This wager is difficult in that the player must pick back to back winners. Many players do not even handicap this type of wager, they just play numbers, such as daily lottery game.

The more experienced player will handicap the races and pick a preferred runner. This runner is known as the key. The player will place the key horse with several other runners who are marginal runners, also known as "savers." This can be done in both halves of the particular double or with just one half, usually the first half. If the player keys a runner in the first half of a double with one or more runners in the second race, the wager is known as apart wheel. If a player keys a runner with all the runners in the second half of the double, it is called the daily double wheel.

Pick 3

This wager requires the player to pick the winners of three consecutive races. Some race tracks have a rolling pick 3 which is when the player must pick three races in a row and it continues for the next three races.


Like the Daily Double, the pick three normally requires the player to focus on a key horse in each race and then surround those runners with marginal runners. Most players key on favorites in these types of wagers, but if the player has a strong reason not to pick the favorite the wager may pay huge dividends.

Pick 6

This wager requires the player to select the winner of six consecutive races prior to the first race of the pick six. Some tracks place the pick six as the first six races, the middle six races, or the last six races. Many tracks have carry over pools for the pick six that can grow to as high as a million dollars.


The novice or medium player will just play numbers such as a lottery. The professional will key at least one horse in each race and surround that runner with numerous savers or marginal horses.

How to Read the Program

Colonial Downs Thoroughbred Program

Click here to view a PDF

Colonial Downs Harness Program

Click here to view a PDF