how to calculate payouts for horse racing

Calculating horse racing payouts requires determining the odds associated with each horse and the type of bet placed. For example, a horse with 3-1 odds means for every $1 bet, the potential payout is $3 if the horse wins. Payouts vary based on the type of bet. A win bet pays out if the chosen horse wins the race, a place bet pays out if the horse finishes in the top two positions, and a show bet pays out if the horse finishes in the top three. The amount of the payout is calculated by multiplying the odds by the amount bet and adding the original stake. For instance, if you place a $10 win bet on a horse with 3-1 odds and it wins, your payout would be $30 ($10 x 3) + $10 (original stake).

Determining Win Payouts

Calculating win payouts involves two key steps: estimating the odds of each horse winning and then calculating the payout based on those odds.

Calculating Odds and Probabilities

  • Morning Line Odds: These are the initial odds released by the track or betting operator before the race.
  • Pari-Mutuel Odds: These are updated in real-time based on the total amount wagered on each horse.

To calculate probabilities from odds, use the following formula:

Probability = 1 / (Odds + 1)

For example, if a horse has odds of 5:1, the probability of winning is 1 / (5 + 1) = 0.167 or 16.7%.

1:1 (Even)0.50 or 50%
2:10.33 or 33%
3:10.25 or 25%

## Calculating Payouts for Horses

### Subtopic: Calculating Place Payouts: The Tiers

When it comes to horse racing, calculating place payouts involves considering the different tiers of placings. Here’s a breakdown of how it works:

**Tiers and Payouts:**

| Tier | Placements | Payout Percentage |
| **Win** | First Place | Typically 60-70% of the pool |
| **Place** | First and Second Place | Typically 20-25% of the pool |
| **Show** | First, Second, and Third Place | Typically 5-10% of the pool |

**Calculating Place Payouts:**

1. **Determine the total pool:** This is the total amount of money bet on the race.
2. **Allocate percentages:** Based on the tiers above, allocate the percentages to the place payouts.
3. **Calculate tier payouts:** Multiply the pool amount by the tier percentage to determine the payout for each tier.


Let’s say the total pool is $100,000. Using the percentages above:

* Win payout: $100,000 x 0.65 = $65,000
* Place payout: $100,000 x 0.225 = $22,500
* Show payout: $100,000 x 0.075 = $7,500

It’s important to note that place payouts can vary depending on the racetrack, race type, and other factors. Always check with the race program or betting provider for specific payout information.

Show Payouts: Simplified Calculations

Show bets are one of the simplest and most popular horse racing wagers. They require you to correctly predict which horse will finish in the top three places, regardless of their exact position.

Calculating show payouts is straightforward:

  • Determine the total amount wagered on the show pool.
  • Calculate the percentage of the pool that will be paid out to winning bets (typically around 60-65%).
  • Divide the total show pool by the number of winning tickets to determine the payout for each ticket.

For example, if there is a total of $10,000 wagered on the show pool and the payout percentage is 65%, the total amount paid out to winning bets will be $6,500.

If there are 20 winning show tickets, the payout for each ticket would be $325 ($6,500 / 20).

Total Show PoolPayout PercentageTotal Payout AmountNumber of Winning TicketsPayout Per Ticket

Exotic Bet Payouts

Exotic bets offer higher payouts compared to win, place, and show bets. They involve predicting the top finishers in a specific order. These bets often have larger pools of money because fewer people place them, potentially resulting in bigger payouts.


When calculating exotic bet payouts, the total amount wagered on a specific bet type is considered. A percentage of this pool goes towards paying out winning tickets. The remaining percentage is taken by the track as commission.

Calculating Payouts

To calculate exotic bet payouts, follow these steps:

* **Total Pool Amount:** Determine the total amount of money wagered on the specific bet type.
* **Winning Ticket Percentage:** Find out the percentage of the pool that is allocated to paying out winning tickets.
* **Number of Winning Combinations:** Identify the number of possible winning combinations for the bet type.
* **Payout Per Winning Combination:** Divide the winnings pool by the number of winning combinations to determine the payout for each winning combination.

Types of Exotic Bet Payouts

| Bet Type | Number of Winners | Combination |
| Exacta | 2 | 2-horse combination |
| Trifecta | 3 | 3-horse combination |
| Superfecta | 4 | 4-horse combination |
| Pick 3 | 3 | 3-horse combination, no specific order |
| Pick 4 | 4 | 4-horse combination, no specific order |
| Pick 5 | 5 | 5-horse combination, no specific order |
Cheers, and congratulations if you cashed tickets today! If not, don’t get discouraged. Handicapping is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep learning, watching races, and making your picks. And remember to visit us again soon for more tips, insights, and the latest horse racing news. We’ll be here, ready to help you make the most of your next day at the track.