Off to the Races: How to Tie a Bow Tie

In honor of Opening day at DelMar racetrack we offer our first of a series of fashion at the track tips.

Bowties have become widely popular at the horse races. Its a cross between that vintage classic look with a little bit of risk. Men of all ages from young boys to the fashionable seniors have embraced the little bow around their neck to bring their racing outfit to the next level. Many even match their bowties to their pocket squares (but that’s for another day).

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The Ponies are Coming!

Well, it is officially summer in San Diego, which means two fantastic things for the residents of Southern California:

1) Shamu now has night performances at Sea World followed by fireworks and,

2) the Del Mar races are right around the corner.


There are only a couple of days a year that the wonderful worlds of day drinking and gambling collide into the most exciting two minutes of sports.  With the races on the horizon it is important that you not only mark your calendars, but that you also understand some basics to wagering a bet.


If this is your first time betting on a horse I suggest keeping it simple.  Pick one horse and select him to finish in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd.  Of course it would make too much sense for the sports book to simply list first, second or third, so instead it lists the following wager types:

Win – OK, so this one is easy: betting to “win” means you think your horse will finish at the top of the podium.

Place – Betting for your pony to “place” spreads your bet on a single horse across first and second place. 

Show – For the risk adverse gambler, betting for your horse to “show” qualifies you to win if you place in first, second or third.  Obviously the cost of hedging your bet will minimize your winnings.

Exotic Bets

If you play roulette while in Vegas, and you are the type of person to choose Green, then Exotic bets may be more your style.  These Exotic bets seem a bit more complicated, but they can drastically increase your winnings. 

Exacta: A bet that selects both the 1st and 2nd place horses in the exact order.  This may be a good play if you see two big favorites on the board.

Trifecta:  This takes an Exacta bet a bit further by now asking you to select the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd  horse in the exact order.  This is the type of bet a true gambler looks to play.  There is little knowledge or know how to help supplement the better, but the reward can be plentiful.  A $2 Trifecta bet could provide winnings over $100k. 

Superfecta:  A Superfecta is a Trifecta on steroids, now asking betters to select the order and horse for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishers.  Don’t get your hopes up, but if you hit a winner all of your friends may be drinking for free. 

Although figuring out the exact pay off for the above mentioned Exotic bets can be a mixed bag, you can easily figure out how much you’ll get paid if you hit a “win” bet.  Simply divide the numerator of the odds by the denominator, multiplying that number by the amount of the bet, and then add the amount of the bet.

For example:

A $2 win bet on a horse at 4/1 odds: 4*2+2 = $10

A $10 win bet on a horse at 7/2 odds: 3.5*10+10 = $45

If you are looking for an easy way to compute winnings on a Trifecta or a Superfecta you can check out this easy to use tool at .

Now that the fundamentals are out of the way, look out for a future post that will help you plan your transportation, seat location, and cocktail of choice.

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