How to Box a Trifecta

By Beverly Bird

Betting on a horse race is a little like going to a carnival -- there are multiple ways to win something. In addition to simple win, place or show bets, you can branch out into exotic wagers if you’re feeling lucky or adventurous. One of these exotic bets is a trifecta. Boxing it gives you the best chance at winning.

Wagering a Trifecta

When you place a trifecta wager, you pick the horses you think will finish first, second and third in the race. This is difficult enough and there’s an additional catch -- you must pick them in order. You might be pretty sure that Yosemite Sam, Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse are going to cross the finish line before any of the other horses, but if you bet on them in that order -- Sam first, Donald second and Mickey third -- you’ll lose your bet if Donald wins and Sam comes in second. This is a “straight” trifecta and it takes a pretty good handicapper to win these bets with anything approaching consistency.

Boxing the Bet

Boxing your trifecta involves covering every possible way your three horses might finish in the money -- first, second or third. Six different combinations exist: 1-2-3, 3-2-1, 1-3-2, 3-1-2, 2-1-3 and 2-3-1. Boxing a $2 trifecta bet means multiplying your wager by six for a total of $12, but if your three horses finish in any order, a successful trifecta bet usually pays handsomely.

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