When it comes to horse race betting, there are a whole host of terms and phrases you’ll want to know. Knowing what these mean can help you make smarter wagers and understand the decisions the bookies make when laying odds. Here’s a run-down of some of the most useful bits of lingo you need to know:
Trixie is short for Tipping Point, and it’s the smallest unit of measurement in betting – 1/100 of a penny. If a horse wins by a smaller amount, it’ll be said to have tripped the trixie – hence the name. It’s also sometimes used in reference to a runner’s effort, for example, “That’s a rotten trixie that.”
An handicap is a bit of maths applied to betting to even the odds. For example, if you back the favourite in a horse race then the bookies will usually offer you evens. However, if you have a hunch that the underdogs can pull off an upset, you can ask the bookies for a handicapped price – say, 4.00 for the favourite, and 3.60 for each of the other horses. This is especially useful if you have a large wager to place, as it takes the stress out of worrying about the vigourous exchange rate fluctuations that can ruin your budget. Handicapping evens the playing field somewhat, but you’ll still have to pay the vigourous rates if you want to take a large wager.
Vigorous Exchange Rate
This refers to the fluctuating exchange rates that regularly plague betting shops. Sometimes you’ll want to pay in US dollars, and sometimes Euros, depending on which way the rates swing. It’s an irritating complication that can eat into your profits. Knowing how to haggle with the bookies over the vigourous exchange rate is an important part of being a successful bettor. Most likely you’ll want to avoid taking a large wager if the rates are fickle, as there’s always the chance the exchange rate could tank during the race, leaving you with a big loss. Small wagers are usually safer as they are less likely to be affected by the rates’ fluctuations.
This is a card that the bookies give you when you make a wager. It details the runners, their owners, and the form of each horse (e.g., whether they’re a sprinter or a stayer). It’s like an extended racing form, but it only includes the information you need to place the wager succesfully – the exact distance each horse is running, and whether they’re winning or losing. Without it you’ll never know whether you’re going to win or lose your wager.
This is when you bet on three legs of the horse racing. For example, you might back the favourite in the first leg, the second favourite in the second leg, and the third favourite in the third leg. The favourites are the ones you want to back in all three legs, as they’re the most likely to win. When they do, you win the trifecta – hence the name. You can also lay odds on each of the three legs, so if you believe in the power of Triple Crowns (e.g., the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes – the three most prestigious races in America) then you can lay odds on each of the legs too. For example, you might back the first leg at 10/1, the second at 4/1, and the third at 3/1. If all three odds come in then you’ve won the trifecta – but you need to place the perfect triple to ensure this happens. Letting any of the odds get away from you means you’ve lost the trifecta, and the bookies will usually happily give you your money back with an extra 20% in winnings. This is why it’s crucial to keep an eye on all three races when placing a trifecta wager – you never know when one of the other legs might slip up and cause you a bit of heartache. It’s sad to admit, but no matter how skilled you are at picking winners, it’s almost impossible to know for sure if a horse is going to finish first, second, or third in every race. So, while it’s exciting to lay down a big wager on the favourites, it’s essential to maintain some degree of scepticism.
This refers to how much you’ll have to pay in another country if you want to swap your currency. For example, if you live in Ireland and want to bet in English pounds, you’ll have to pay ten times the amount (in other words, £100). In American dollars the equivalent would be 2000%. Finding out the exact amount you’ll need to pay in another currency is simple – just Google the currency converter and look up the rate that pertains to the time of day you want to visit the place where you’ll be betting (e.g., morning, afternoon, or evening). Having the exchange rate in mind when thinking about placing a big wager is essential, as it can really screw up your budget. It’s also wise to check the rate of exchange a week before you visit a place where you’ll be spending a lot of time – just in case there’ve been any sudden shifts in the rate since your last visit. Travelling abroad with large amounts of money is risky, as you don’t want to lose any of it in a betting scam or an internet hacker’s hands. Make sure you’re not putting yourself in that position – avoid betting beyond your means.
This is what the bookies will attempt to match you with. If they think you’re likely to want to switch to a different horse after a few minutes of deliberation, then they’ll try and tempt you with an offer. For example, if you’ve placed a €10 bet on Paris and they believe the odds are in favour of Madrid, they’ll try and tempt you with an offer of €20 winnings (i.e., €10 to win €10). In most cases you’ll want to decline the offer – after all, you’ve already placed the bet you meant to place and there’s no use in betting against the grain. When declining an offer, the bookies will often sweeten the deal by saying the winnings will be doubled if you place a small wager while looking at their other available bets. In some instances they might even give you an extra free bet or two – all you have to do is glance at their books and say “no thank you” without looking at the odds too closely. Some unscrupulous bookies will try and trick you into placing a larger wager by presenting you with several different offers – all of which are likely to be tempting, but some might not be what you desire. Remember, if the odds seem too good to be true, then it probably is. As an intelligent consumer you’ll have to use your head as well as your heart to navigate the betting ecosystem successfully.