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A trifecta is type of bet where the bettor attempts to predict the first three finishers in a race in the correct order. Also known as a tricast in the United Kingdom, a trifecta is commonly found in horse racing and greyhound racing.
The winnings can be large as it depends on the amount staked – but it is very hard to predict the exact finishing order in any given race. Just one incorrect placement will mean that the bet loses.
Although there are a number of variations of trifecta bet, the most common is the straight trifecta in which the first three finishers are predicted in order – first, second and third. This is the most affordable version of the bet but is still extremely difficult to get right.
Other versions of the bet include a boxed trifecta in which three horses or greyhounds are selected as before but they can finish in any order to become a winning bet. For example, if horse numbers 1, 2 and 3 were selected the bet would be won if the race finished in any of the following combinations:
Because it is much easier for this boxed trifecta bet to be successful (although still not that simple) the total stake will be higher. In effect the bettor would be making six different trifecta bets. These boxed trifecta bets are also sometimes referred to as a combination trifecta. There are other versions of the bet with further permutations.
Trifecta bets are attractive due to big payouts. A correct $2 wager on the 2016 Belmont Stakes in America would have meant a payoff to the tune of $2,751.