Pat McDonogh-USA TODAY NETWORK

What does show mean in horse racing?

Show means to run third in a race. It also is a type of bet.

If you wager on a horse to win over at AmWager, it has to finish first, or you don’t collect. But if you bet it to show, that means it only has to finish in the top three.

For example, let’s say you decide to back a horse named Alwaysrunsthird to show, but it disregards its name and finishes first. When the results are posted, the Tote board shows three payoffs for Alwaysrunsthird: the first, for players who bet on him to win the second for bettors who backed him to place or finish first or second; and the third, for people like you who bet him to show.

Unfortunately for you, the show payoff is almost always less than those for the win and place bettors. So while win bettors might collect $15 for each $2 wagered, and place bettors might get $7.60, your payoff is only $4.20.

That explains why show betting isn’t terribly popular with handicappers, though there are situations where it can be quite profitable. Check out our article on bridge jumpers, and you’ll see what we mean.

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