Show Bet - Horse Racing

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Understanding Horse Racing Show Bets

A Show bet is one of the easiest bets you can make in horse racing: simply pick a horse to finish in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd position in a given race.

If your horse runs first or second or third: you win your Show Bet. If your horse finishes what’s called “off the board” (not in the top three): you don’t win.

What is the minimum wager amount for a Show bet?

The minimum stake for a Show bet is $2. Some tracks have experimented with a $1 or even $.50 option, but it has yet to become popular.


Bets made online on a horse “to show” have the same minimum as bets made on a horse “to win” at the track.

How much can I win on a Show bet

Winnings on show bets are unlimited and based on the odds when the gates break open, signaling the start of the race. Payoffs are calculated by the total pool less the track's takeout (basically commission), then divided among all the winning tickets. At the 2014 Belmont Stakes, Tonalist, Comissioner, and Medal Count came in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place respectively. A Show bet placed on any of those 3 horses netted a payoff for the better. Had the better placed a minimum $2 wager...

  • a bet on Tonalist would have yielded a $7.00 payoff (a approximate payout of 3.5-1),
  • a bet on Comissioner  would have yielded a $13.20 payoff (a approximate payout of 6.5-1)
  • a bet on Medal Count would have yielded a $13.20 payoff (a approximate payout of 6.5-1)

Learn more with our other betting resources below: