The Superfecta bet is one of the most popular exotics when it comes to horse racing. It’s based on predicting the first four horses in the race in the correct order. As a result, it can yield massive payouts for a relatively small investment.
In this article, we’re going to look at how the Superfecta bet works, including real-world examples and strategy. We’ve also addressed how the odds are calculated and different variations of the bet, which is crucial to understand in order to consistently profit from a Superfecta.
What is a Superfecta Bet?
A Superfecta bet is where bettors must correctly pick the first four finishers of a race in the exact order. You’re able to place multiple bets on the same race with different combinations, which is a popular strategy for most bettors, but comes with additional costs as you wager per bet.
To place a Superfecta bet, you need to select four horses and specify their order of finish (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th) correctly. The cost of the bet will depend on the number of combinations you choose.
For example, if you select four horses to finish in a specific order, the bet is called a “straight Superfecta.” However, you can also choose to box the horses, meaning they can finish in any order as long as they are in the top four.
Let’s look at an example of a straight Superfecta bet:
Race: Kentucky Derby
- Horse 1
- Horse 2
- Horse 3
- Horse 4
- Horse 5
- Horse 6
- Horse 7
- Horse 8
As you can see, in this race there are 8 horses running. For our Superfecta pick, we need to choose 4 horses and state which position they will cross the line.
- 1st = Horse 4
- 2nd = Horse 5
- 3rd = Horse 8
- 4th = Horse 1
For the bet to win, this must be the order in which the horses finish the race. Any other combination or if even just one horse is not within the top four, then the bet will lose.
This bet type pays as a parimutuel bet, which is essentially pool betting. The amount you win is based on the total amount in the pool and then the number of winners. Your stake is then a dividend and is paid out accordingly. We’ve more on this later in the article.
For this example, we’re going to assume that we’ve placed a $1 straight Superfecta and there has been a total of $10,000 wagered (pool), with just 4 other winners who have also placed a $1 wager each.
This would mean the pool is divided up to the 5 winners, resulting in payouts of $200 each ($10,000 / 5 = $200).
Superfecta Bet Example for Horse Racing
In this section, we’re going to look at a real-world example of a Superfecta bet. The race that we will use is Maiden Special Weight, which is taking place at Monmouth Park.
Here are some key details about the race to note:
- Flat race
- Run over 5 furlongs
- For 2 year old’s only
- Run on turf (going is Firm)
- 11 runners
The image above shows an overview of the bet. At the top of the race card you can see that we’ve chosen the “Superfecta” market and next to that is our stake of $1 for the bet. It also states that this is a “Straight” bet and highlighted that we need to pick 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.
Our picks are as follows:
- Victoria’s Dancer – 5/1
- Pass the Cash – 8/1
- HMS Victory – 15/1
- Momma Kim – 15/1
To the right of the image is our bet slip and this confirms the selections that we’ve made. Given that Superfecta bets are pool-based, we won’t know the payout until the end of the race. But we do know that we’ve staked $1 total, so our dividend will be based on this.
How to Place a Superfecta Bet Online
The process of placing a Superfecta bet online is relatively simple. Most sites will have sections where you choose the market you want to bet and then simply pick the horses in the correct order. In this section, we’ve included an overview of how this might work.
1. Create an Account and Log in
Before you start, you need to create an account with the online sportsbook in question. This process should only take a couple of minutes, but some betting sites will require you to verify your account before you can place a bet, so make sure you’ve got the documents needed to hand.
2. Head to the Racing Section and Choose Your Race
Each racing section will have a list of upcoming races. Use the menu to navigate between meetings and races to find the one that you want to bet on.
3. Select Superfecta Market
You now need to choose the Superfecta market from the list of potential betting options. At the top, you will be able to choose your stake as well. Please note that some betting sites will have fixed increments, as you see here, and others will allow you to enter your stake within the bet slip.
4. Make Your Picks
It’s now time to make your picks. Here you can see that there are four columns to choose from and all you need to do is pick the horse you think will finish in that position. For example, here we’ve gone for Rockstar Red to finish 1st, Elevated Causeway to finish 2nd, Shakin the Belle in 3rd, and Interchange in 4th.
5. Confirm Your Selections and Place Bet
In the bet slip do one final check of your picks. It will highlight the horse number and finishing position and confirm the stake. Make sure selections and positions are correct as it can be easy to misclick here. Submit the bet and wait for confirmation. You can check the progress and any payouts once the race has finished within your account.
Types of Superfecta Bets
Superfecta bets can come in a range of shapes and sizes, with each having slightly different implications attached. In this section, we’re going to look through a variation of each and how they work.
The straight Superfecta is the most common and with this bet, you need to pick four horses that will come in the first positions of a race, in the correct order. This is generally considered to be the hardest of this bet type given there is no margin for error.
As you can see from the example above, we’ve picked four horses and the finishing position for each. 1st = Provision, 2nd = Whistler’s Honor, 3rd = Noble Huntsman and 4th = King of Comedy.
A Superfecta is where you pick a key horse that will win the race, then three horses that can finish in any order in positions 2 to 4. This bet starts with 6 combinations of potential finishes, so if you were betting $1 on the straight, this bet would be $6 for 1 key pick and 3 other picks. This bet will only win if your key horse wins the race, with anything other than the bet losing.
The caveat to this market is that you can increase the number of horses to finish within the place positions to more than three, but for each selection you choose, your stake increases. This is because there are additional combinations of places, which you bet on per line.
Here’s a look at how stakes work if we bet $1 per line:
- 1 key, 3 place horses, 6 combinations = $6
- 1 key, 4 place horses, 24 combinations = $24
- 1 key, 5 place horses, 60 combinations= $60
- 1 key, 6 place horses, 120 combinations = $120
The example above shows that we’ve picked Open Til Midnight as our key horse to win the race. Then we’ve chosen Barrel of Quests, King of Comedy, and Noble Huntsmand to be our “with” bets that need to finish from 2nd through 4th in any order. Our stake for this bet from an initial $1 would be $6.
Superfecta Full Wheel
A Superfecta Full Wheel covers all possible combinations of four horses in a race. In a Full Wheel, you select one horse to finish in a specific position (e.g., first), and then you choose multiple horses to finish in the remaining positions (e.g., second, third, and fourth). This means you are “wheeling” all possible combinations of horses for those specific positions.
Let’s illustrate with an example to clarify:
Let’s assume there are ten horses in a race, and you want to place a Superfecta Full Wheel bet with Horse A to win and four other horses (B, C, D, and E) to finish second, third, and fourth in any order.
In this case, you would create a Full Wheel by selecting Horse A for the first position and then including all possible combinations of the other four horses for the remaining positions:
- A with B, C, D, E
- A with C, B, D, E
- A with D, B, C, E
- A with E, B, C, D
By including these four combinations, you cover all possible outcomes for the second, third, and fourth positions.
Above we’ve included a real-world example of how this might look. As you can see, we’ve picked Thirsty Gambler as the horse that will win the race, then chosen Dawson, Mici’s Express, and French Onion to finish anywhere in the next three places and in any order.
The bet offers flexibility in that, you can choose the number of horses within the places section and the number of places it will pay. However, for each pick you include, you pay an extra line.
Superfecta Part Wheel
A Superfecta Part Wheel allows you to select a specific combination of horses to finish in the top four positions while leaving some positions open for other horses to fill. It offers more flexibility than a Full Wheel and can be a more cost-effective option as a result.
In a Part Wheel, you choose one or more “key” horses to finish in specific positions (e.g., first and second) and then include other horses to fill the remaining positions (E.G., third and fourth) in any order.
Let’s illustrate with an example:
Suppose there are eight horses in a race, and you want to place a Superfecta Part Wheel bet with Horse A as your key horse to finish first, Horse B as your key horse to finish second, and any other horses to finish third and fourth.
In this case, you would create a Part Wheel by selecting Horse A for the first position and Horse B for the second position. Then, you include all possible combinations of the remaining horses for the third and fourth positions:
- A with B with C, D, E, F
- A with B with D, C, E, F
- A with B with E, C, D, F
- A with B with F, C, D, E
By including these combinations, you cover all possible outcomes for the third and fourth positions while keeping your key horses fixed in their respective positions.
A Superfecta Box allows you to select a group of horses to finish in the top four positions in any order. It offers a higher chance of winning compared to other types of bets but comes at a higher cost due to the increased number of combinations.
Let’s illustrate with an example:
Suppose there are six horses in a race, and you want to place a Superfecta Box bet with Horses A, B, C, and D. By boxing these four horses, you cover all possible combinations they can finish in the top four positions:
- A, B, C, D
- A, B, D, C
- A, C, B, D
- A, C, D, B
- A, D, B, C
- A, D, C, B
- B, A, C, D
- B, A, D, C
- B, C, A, D
- B, C, D, A
- B, D, A, C
- B, D, C, A
- C, A, B, D
- C, A, D, B
- C, B, A, D
- C, B, D, A
- C, D, A, B
- C, D, B, A
- D, A, B, C
- D, A, C, B
- D, B, A, C
- D, B, C, A
- D, C, A, B
- D, C, B, A
In this example, you have a total of 24 possible combinations, covering all the potential outcomes of the top four horses. Your bet, as per other Superfecta bets, is per line, so a $1 bet per line would be $24. It makes this bet type more expensive but increases the chances of winning massively.
Superfecta Betting Strategy
Consistently winning with Superfecta bets is almost impossible and if we’re being honest, long term they are a massively -EV bet (Learn more about EV Betting here) type. If you consider how hard it can be to win a single race, let alone picking the first four horses for the race in the correct order, then it starts to hit home about the difficulty of winning this bet.
However, used as a bit of fun to bet small and try to win big, there are ways that you can give yourself the best opportunity of doing so. Below we’ve included a Superfecta betting strategy that will allow you to do just that.
Research and Analyze
Study the horses, jockeys, trainers, track conditions, and previous race performances. Look for patterns, strengths, weaknesses, and any relevant factors that could influence the outcome of the race.
Understand Payout Structures
Superfecta bets often offer large payouts due to their difficulty. Analyze past Superfecta payouts to identify trends and determine the potential value of your bet. Focus on races with sizable pools and opportunities for higher returns. Target betting sites that publish the pool before the start of the race as this will help determine value.
Box or Key Horses
Consider boxing or keying horses in your Superfecta bet. Boxing allows you to cover multiple combinations, while keying involves selecting one or more horses as your primary contenders and combining them with other horses for the remaining positions.
Look for longshot horses that have the potential to surprise and secure a top-four finish. Including a longshot in your Superfecta bet can significantly boost the payout if it performs well and will limit the number of winners in the pool, due to fewer people picking them.
Use Multiple Tickets
Instead of placing a single large bet, consider spreading your wager across multiple smaller bets. This strategy allows you to cover different combinations, increasing your chances of winning and potentially mitigating losses.
Assess Race Pace and Positioning
Evaluate the race’s expected pace and how it may impact the horses’ performances. Some horses prefer a fast early pace, while others excel in closing races. Adjust your selections accordingly.
Watch for Value Bets
Identify instances where the odds or public perception do not align with your analysis. If you find horses with underrated chances of finishing in the top four, consider including them in your Superfecta bet to capitalize on potential value bets.
Manage Your Bankroll
Set a budget for your betting activities and stick to it. Avoid chasing losses or placing larger bets than you can comfortably afford. Be disciplined and strategic with your wagering to ensure long-term sustainability.
How to Calculate Superfecta Odds and Payouts
Superfecta’s are a parimutuel which means that instead of betting at fixed odds against a bookmaker, you’re betting into a pool and then getting paid as a dividend. Your stake will be represented as your dividend and at the end of the race, once all the bets have been added up, your dividend will be released.
We’ve got a full article on how parimutuel betting works, which explains this in much greater detail.
The key difference between this payout and a standard win bet is that it’s much harder to pick the first four horses in a race in the correct order than it is to pick just a single horse. This means that there are fewer winners, meaning the payouts can be huge.
In fact, it’s very rare that more than one person wins a bet like this, which is why there are multiple stories about players that have won huge sums of money from $1 bets.
Some betting sites will show you a rough guide as to how much you will win from your bet. In the example above, you can see that the Superfecta pays $170 per $1 staked. Given that this is a race that only 6 relatively low-quality runners, this is still a pretty high payout.
What is the Difference Between a Superfecta and Trifecta Bet?
The main difference between a Superfecta and a Trifecta bet lies in the number of positions you need to correctly predict in a horse race.
In a Trifecta bet, you must accurately predict the first three finishers of a race in the exact order. This means you need to specify the horse that will finish first, second, and third. If these three horses cross the finish line in the exact order you selected, you win the Trifecta bet.
In contrast, a Superfecta bet requires you to predict the first four finishers of a race in the exact order. This means you must specify the horses that will finish first, second, third, and fourth. If these four horses finish the race in the exact order you selected, you win the Superfecta bet.
Payouts work in the same way in that, they are parimutuel bets and you’re paid as part of a dividend. Even though a Trifecta has one less result, it’s still a very hard bet to pick, and payouts, albeit less than the Superfecta, will still be huge, even for very small wagers.
You’re also able to access a range of mixed Trifecta bets, such as Boxed, Key, Wheel, and Boxed Key. The premises of each of these is the same as Superfecta but with one less selection needed.
Other Exotic Horse Racing Bet Types
Below is a list of other exotic horse racing bets that are common within online betting sites:
- Exacta – In an Exacta bet, you must select the first two finishers of a race in the correct order.
- Trifecta – Similar to the Exacta, the Trifecta bet requires you to predict the first three finishers of a race in the correct order.
- Quinella – A Quinella bet is an easier alternative to the Exacta. Here, you need to select two horses to finish in the top two positions, but the order doesn’t matter.
- Daily Double – The Daily Double bet involves selecting the winners of two consecutive races, usually taken from the same meeting.
- Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, Pick 6 – These bets require you to select the winners of three, four, five, or six consecutive races, respectively. You must correctly predict the winning horse in each race within the designated sequence to win the bet. These bets offer the potential for significant payouts, especially in the Pick 6, which often has a carryover if no one wins it on a given day.
- Super High Five – The Super High Five bet challenges you to select the first five finishers of a race in the correct order.
- Daily Triple – The Daily Triple bet involves selecting the winners of three specific races chosen by the track. This bet is typically offered on the last three races of the day and requires you to predict the winning horse in each of those races.