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How To Place A Bet At Saratoga Race Course

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people placing bets at Saratoga Race Course

During your first trip to Saratoga Race Course, the thought of placing a bet may be exciting, but also scary! You may be worried about locating the clerks, using the right racing terminology, or even how much to bet based on the odds.

To help out first-time betters or those who may not have been to the track in awhile, we've put together this handy guide to placing a bet at Saratoga Race Course. Once you read through the steps, you'll realize it's not as confusing as it seems!

*NOTE: You must be 18 or older to wager at Saratoga Race Course.*

Step 1: Gather Relevant Information

There are five pieces of information you need to know before you approach the clerk's window. They are:

  1. Name of the racetrack
  2. Race number
  3. Dollar amount of your bet
  4. Type of bet
  5. Number (NOT name) of the horse(s) you're betting on

Some of these are more confusing than others, so we've clarified them below!

Types Of Bets

Straight Wager Bets:

  • Win: Pick a horse to finish first
  • Place: Pick a horse to finish first or second
  • Show: Pick a horse to finish first, second, or third

Exotic Wager Bets:

  • Exacta: Pick the first and second place finishers in the exact order
  • Trifecta: Pick the first, second, and third place finishers in the exact order
  • Superfecta: Pick the first, second, third, and fourth place finishers in the exact order

Multi-Race Bets:

  • Daily Double: Pick the winner in two consecutive races
  • Pick Three: Pick the winner in three consecutive races
  • Pick Four: Pick the winner in four consecutive races
  • Pick Five: Pick the winner in five consecutive races
  • Pick Six: Pick the winner in six consecutive races

Calculating Your Payout

Payouts are determined by the number of horses in the bet, the odds, and the wager amount. Exotic and multi-race bets are more complicated to figure out, but calculate your straight wager bets as follows:

  1. Use the odds as a fraction and divide it to get a decimal (ex. 5/1 odds = 5 and 7/2 odds = 3.5)
  2. Multiply that decimal by your wager amount (ex. 5 x $2 or 3.5 x $20)
  3. Add your wager amount to the product you got in the step above (ex. $10 + $2 or $70 + $20)

Step 2: Find The Betting Windows

Once you've figured out all of the relevant information, including how much money you'd like to wager based on your desired payout and which type of bet you'd like to place, you need to locate the clerks.

At Saratoga Race Course, you can find live teller wagering windows and self-service terminals throughout the racetrack. A large bank of mutuel windows is located under the Clubhouse, which is in between the Grandstand and the At The Rail Pavilion. Head to the nearest window or terminal and give the clerk the five pieces of information you gathered in Step 1. You would say, for example, "At Saratoga, Race 3, $5 to win on number 6."

Exchange your cash for a ticket, and get ready to watch the race!

Step 3: Watch The Race

Enjoy the race, and keep track of which horse(s) you've bet on!

If your horse wins, proceed to Step 4. If not, return to Step 1.

Step 4: Claim Your Bet

Return to the window where you placed your bet, and present your winning ticket to the clerk. You'll receive your cash winnings on the spot!

If you win big, be sure to tip the clerk - it's a polite move to make.

Hopefully, you're now a believer that placing a bet at Saratoga Race Course really isn't so complicated afterall! For those visual learners out there, we've created a simple infographic that explains all of the above information. See the infographic »

Do you have other questions about Saratoga Race Course? Check out our FAQs section and see if the answers are waiting for you!

« Return to our Saratoga Race Course guide

For more Saratoga Race Course information, visit or NYRA's website.