Trifecta Bet Guide – Everything You Need to Know

Alex Brown profile picture
Updated 3 hours ago on

13 min read

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There are many different tools that are available to bettors today. You can tailor your approach depending on the specific event that is taking place. One of the most popular ways to bet on a horse race is through a trifecta bet. This gives you the opportunity to get a great return if you are successful with your prediction. This guide will showcase exactly what a trifecta bet looks like, when you should use this bet type, and much more.

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What Is A Trifecta Bet?

horse race

Horse racing is the main sport in which you will be able to use a trifecta bet. It sees you trying to predict the top three finishers in a race, usually needing to predict the correct finishing order. As you are getting very precise with your predictions, you can expect some very good odds when placing a trifecta bet.

It adds a lot of excitement to proceedings when you are placing your wagers, as well as giving you greater flexibility with your betting. Horse racing betting markets are few and far between, so any extra tool at your disposal is going to be one that you need to take seriously and value when necessary,

How Does a Trifecta Bet Work?

You will often come across a few different types of trifecta bets if you are placing bets in the United States. The standard type of trifecta wager will be a straight trifecta bet. This sees you trying to predict the top three finishers in a race and in the exact order of their finishes. This naturally means that you have to be very precise and there is no margin for error.

However, you will also have the option of placing a boxed trifecta. This means that you will simply be trying to predict the top three finishers in a race, but they don’t need to be in any particular order. Therefore, you do not have to be as precise when you are using a boxed trifecta.

Keying horses as part of a trifecta is also popular. This sees you making multiple trifecta bets, with one of the outcomes staying the same. For example, you might be confident that one particular horse will win the race, but you are uncertain about the two other horses that you think will finish in 2nd and 3rd place. Therefore, you will make two trifecta bets, one with the same horse in first place and then the 2nd and 3rd place finishers being interchanged.

A Horse Racing Trifecta Bet Explained

trifecta bet

There are a few different factors to consider when you are getting ready to place a trifecta bet. You will first need to identify the race that you want to place the bet on. At any one time, you will likely have access to a huge range of different races to bet on.

You then will need to identify if you want to place a straight trifecta or a boxed trifecta. Then your next task will be trying to figure out which horses you think are going to finish in the top three positions. This means that you normally have to do some research in order to see what you think will be the likeliest outcome.

Usually, the online bookmaker will have a separate tab for that particular race that showcases the trifecta options. You can then choose the outcome that you think will be the likeliest outcome. You simply click on the odds for the given selection and this bet will be added to your betslip.

Naturally, the odds that you will get will be bigger when you are backing horses that are further down the list of favorites of the race. When your selection is in the betslip, you will be able to enter the stake you want to place on this wager. You will then be able to see what your winnings will be if this trifecta wager is a success. Then you simply need to confirm this bet and you will then be good to go. 

Why You Should Place a Trifecta Bet

With horse racing, there are not going to be as many different betting markets available as you get with the likes of NFL betting or NBA betting. Therefore, having access to a trifecta bet allows you to have a bit more flexibility when deciding what bets to place on a given race.

Trifecta bets usually are a nice balance between a bet that you have a chance of winning, as well as a wager that will have a decent payout if successful. It can be hard to win a decent sum of money if you are backing short favorites in races unless you are putting large sums on the line.

You can go for outsiders in the race winner markets, but your chances of winning will be slim. Exotic bets like trifecta wagers give you the chance to win potentially large sums from relatively low bets. While it is not going to be easy to win a trifecta bet, the reward is usually quite handsome when you do.

Trifecta Bet Calculator

There are some useful online tools that can aid you with your betting. There are different types of calculators that you will come across that give you a helping hand when trying to figure out what bets to make and what your potential returns might be.

America’s Best Racing has a very handy trifecta betting calculator that allows you to quickly figure out what the cost of your trifecta bet is going to be. It is very simple to use, with the directions being clearly laid out for you. This can give you an extra edge when it comes to your preparation for placing a trifecta bet.

trifecta calculator

Betting Strategies To Use For Trifecta Betting

There are many different approaches that a bettor can take when it comes to trifecta betting. Some people prefer sticking to straight trifecta bets, while others like the less risky boxed trifecta bets. It is important that once you put a plan in place that you stick to it and don’t deviate from it while in the midst of placing bets. However, from time to time you will need to review your plan and assess the performance levels. This can be easy to so, as you simply look at your cold hard results.

If a certain approach does not appear to be working, then it is time to tweak your approach. Any time that you place a trifecta bet is an opportunity for you to analyze what is working well and what can be improved upon. Over time, you can optimize your strategy. You can also try placing different types of trifecta bets and see which ones you tend to have the best results with. Then going forward you can focus your efforts more on that particular type of trifecta bet. 

5 Key Betting Tips When Placing a Trifecta Bet

There are many different variables that go into successful trifecta bets. These are wagers that are difficult to get right, so trial and error is often needed in order to get a winner. Here are a few tips that you can keep in mind the next time that you are looking to place a trifecta wager:

1. Do Your Research

Just like with placing any type of horse racing bet, you need to conduct sufficient research in order to figure out what horses you think have the best chance of being successful. There are many different approaches you can take, including looking at course form, recent form, course conditions, the jockey’s performance, and historical trends within the race itself.

You can also look at advice from some of the best jockeys and trainers in the world, as well as keep an eye out on social media for any breaking news that might have a significant impact on a given race. This all-encompassing approach allows you to have a bit more clarity and confidence when it comes to making a decision about your trifecta bet.

2. Bankroll Management

To be successful with any type of betting, you need to have a smart bankroll strategy in place. This allows you to stay in the game for the long run, riding out the losses and living to fight another day when needed. While you might enjoy placing trifecta bets, the chances of winning these bets are usually a lot lower than regular horse race wagers. Therefore, you need to be smart about how much money you allocate to these types of bets.

3. Don’t Bet on Every Race

The trifecta bet can be a very useful tool as part of your overall horse racing betting strategy. However, it is not something that you should use in every race. Instead, you should pick and choose when it is used. There will be certain scenarios that it will lend itself to more than others. There might be a particular race that you are a lot more confident about what horses you think will finish at the very top come to the end.

There might be one strong favorite and two other horses battling it out for places, with the chasing back being a bit behind. Therefore, this would be an ideal opportunity to use a trifecta. However, if there is a long list of potential challengers, then the chances of you having a winning trifecta bet are going to be a lot slimmer.

4. Utilize Offers

You will often come across different types of free bet offers when you are using an online horse racing betting account. These might come for a welcome offer or an ongoing promotion. Whatever the case may be, you can utilize these types of free bets when possible in order to decrease your risk levels when placing trifecta bets. You can often take more chances when you are using the house’s money rather than your own funds.

5. Trial and Error

Just like with most things in life, you will likely become better with your trifecta betting the more times that you place these types of bets. You will be able to see what tends to work well and what you should not try again.

There will often be trends that you see in which a trifecta bet makes sense to use and other circumstances when it should be avoided at all costs. By reviewing each of your trifecta bets, you can take learnings from it and adopt the learnings in the future when placing more trifecta bets.

Best Trifecta Bet Offers in the US

There are many great types of bonus offers that you will come across if you are using online horse racing betting sites in the US. These offers can come in many different forms. Usually, you will get some type of welcome offer when signing up for a new account. There will also often be promotions for existing account holders in order to reward them for their loyalty.

These offers can come in many different forms, some will reward you with a free bet when you place a qualifying wager of a certain size. Others will give you your stake back as a free bet if your horse finishes in second place or you might get the likes of odds boosts to certain markets. Here is a look at some for the best betting offers available in the US today:

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Placing a Trifecta Bet On a Mobile App

A lot of people really enjoy having the option to place bets directly through their mobile device. They might be out and about and want to place a wager despite being away for the track or not near their computer. Everyone carries their mobile device on them at all times and having connection to the internet.

A lot of operators will have apps that you can download, but most will also have a mobile website that can be reached through the web browser on your mobile. The navigation systems tend to be very similar to the desktop offering, so you should have no trouble finding your bets and placing wagers. Here is a look at some of the best betting sites if you are looking to place bets through your mobile device:

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Is There Trifecta Betting In Other Sports?

There are not too many other sports apart from horse racing that will offer you the chance to place a trifecta bet. However, there are certain variations of this bet type that will be available for events that will have exact finishers. For example, you will likely see similar types of betting markets being available for motor racing, greyhound racing, and individual athletic events.

Final Word

As you can see, there is a lot to like about using trifecta bets as part of your overall strategy. It can give you the chance to earn some handsome returns from relatively low bets. It is an extra tool in your armory that you now know how to use in an efficient and effective manner.

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Does every horse racing site offer trifecta betting?

What happens if one of your trifecta horses is a non-runner?

What is the trifecta bet cost?

Can you watch horse races live online?

What is the minimum and maximum bet for a trifecta bet?

Can you cash out of trifecta bets early?

What are other popular types of horse racing bets?

Alex is an experienced iGaming writing, having worked in the industry since 2015. He covers all aspects of iGaming, with a particular interest in sports. He can be found glued to the television over the weekends as he tries to choose between one of his many favorite sports.