How to Bet on Horses: What Total Points Means

You’ve been dreaming of this day for as long as you can remember. The day you finally get to go to the racetrack and place a wager on a horse you love. Maybe you’ve followed the trends and bought a few shares of racehorse stock or gone the way of the dinosaur and made your living as a jockey. But no matter what your path was, today is finally here!

You’ve waited a long time for this day. Today starts the last lap of a wonderful adventure, and you want to savor every second.

So what does total points mean, anyway? Do you place a wager equal to the horse’s odds? Do you bet on the horse’s performance? How does the payout work? Let’s dive in and find out. 

What Does Total Points Mean?

It’s time for some high school math class, and this time you’re glad for it. Let’s dive in and break down the numbers. 

If you remember your high school math, you know place bets are calculated using odds, not a straight parlay. That means instead of betting $100 on a horse to win, you would place a $5 parlay (2.0) with the same outcome. Each leg of the parlay pays $100 if the horse wins, or $5 in the case of a loss. 

In the case of the Total Points race, there are six legs to a parlay. Each leg is worth a point, so a $5 wager on the first horse (1.0) is equivalent to a $60 wager on the entire 6-race card. The payout for a win on any leg is $60, so a $60 win bet on the entire card would pay out $1260.

Betting on the total points scored by all 6 horses is actually a great way to play. The volatility of the card is balanced out by the fact that you’re not betting on just one horse. For instance, a $100 wager on the 6-horse parlay would pay out $1260, while a $200 wager on Betfred’s 6-horse accumulator would only win you $240. It’s a no brainer – if you like volatility, you should definitely play the points race.

How Do You Calculate The Points Score?

Points are awarded to the horses based on the format of the race. Flat races award 1 point for a win, while harness races award 2 points for a win. Some races, like the Kentucky Derby, award 3 points for a win and have a $50,000 purse at stake. 

In a $500,000 Kentucky Derby, every horse receives the equivalent of 6 points (three wins required). The first horse to cross the finish line receives 1 point, the second 0.5 points, and the third 0.25 points. The winner will be determined by the total number of points accumulated.

While it’s great to accumulate points when betting on horses, it’s not as great when one of your picks loses. In that case, you lose money even though you had a good run. That’s why it’s important to pick the right horses or place the right bets – you don’t want to lose money when your favorite horses win!

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to get excited about placing that next wager. Go have fun – you deserve it!