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Horse Racing: Win – Place – Show Explained

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Horse Racing: Win – Place – Show Explained

Win Place Show is the most frequently used term in horse racing and without a doubt the majority of bets placed by professional gamblers or just about anyone else looking for a gambling thrill by putting their money in action on an equestrian performance.

The wagers are very simple wagers to make and offer a lower risk compared to placing a stake on Exactas or Trifectas; but for the purpose of this article, let’s further explain Win Place Show betting.


A “win” bet in the simplest of meanings is a wager made on which horse will win the race. The horse must finish in the first position to cash a winning ticket if your bet was placed on the horse to “win”.

To put this into an example, a $40 bet on a 5-1 horse would pay you back a total of $240.00 ($200.00 + your $40.00 investment).


A bet on a horse to “place” isn’t as high of a payoff over an outright win, but still worthy enough to profit when finding the right spot. To win this bet, your horse must finish in either the first or second spot.


If you make a wager on a horse to “show”, it must finish in the first, second, or third position to count as a winner. However, since the pot is split three ways, the payoff will not be as great compared to a “win” or “place” bet.

Think of it this way: low risk, low reward, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and will keep you in action longer over the long-term.


It is important to point out that if you make a wager on a horse to “place” or “show”, and the horse wins the race, you only get paid at the value of the odds offered for those two options, and not for the “win”.

There is another choice to cover all three bets called “Across the Board”, which is a shortcut to saying you’re placing a Win – Place – Show wager divided into equal amounts, such at $40.00 x 3 for a total of $120 on the race.

If you’re lucky and the horse wins the race you will cash a ticket and be paid for all three legs of the race. However, if it finishes in second, you only get paid out for place and show. A show finish is only paid for the odds on a show.

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