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When laying a simple straight bet on a horse to win, place or show, every race book in the nation and online handles the wager in the same way, so bettors must state the wager in the proper order. The first thing the race book needs to know is the venue followed by the specific race, amount being wagered, the number assigned to the horse in that race and the type of bet. If you want to bet $5 on the number five horse to win the third race at Hollywood Park in California, you need to tell the ticket writer: “Hollywood Park; third race; $5 on horse number five to win.”

The ticket writer will write up the bet, take your money and return any change due. While still at the window, quickly look over the ticket to ensure the bet is what you want and then wait for the race to begin. If laying an exacta or trifecta bet, the wager mostly is laid the same way, only the horse numbers must be stated in the order of finish unless doing a box exacta or trifecta, in which case the order of finish does not matter. A $5 exacta on the same race with horse number seven chosen to finish second to horse number five would be stated as: Hollywood Park, third race, $5 on horses five and seven, exacta.

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