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Pick 5 is a system of betting that is particularly popular in the United States in which the aim is to predict the winners of five horse races in a row – usually at the same meeting.
All of the selections must be successful for the bet to win and as the pay out is on a pari-mutual basis – where all the stakes are pooled – the profits made from a very small wager can be very big indeed.
Some bettors may find it difficult to select even one race winner but to build some real excitement a Pick 5 bet can be the answer. The bettor must make their selections before the first set of five races but there is no rule to say which race they must start with – it just has to be five races in a row.
There is also the possibility of making more than one selection per race. Obviously this increases the size of the wager considerably but the potential winnings are still big enough for this to be an attractive bet.
As these bets are more common in the United States the minimum is usually something very low – such as $0.50. With the chances of correctly predicting the winning horse in five consecutive races fairly remote, the eventual winnings can still be very welcome.
Even with a $0.50 wager, a successful Pick 5 bet at the 2014 Kentucky Derby – one of the biggest horse racing meetings in the US calendar – would have brought a winning pay out of $694.95 to anyone lucky enough to get it right. That means that the odds for that wager would have been 1390/1.