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Betting & Handicapping

To a newcomer, betting terminology can sound like a foreign language. What does it mean, for example, when a bettor tells the ticket-seller: "Please give me a $1 trifecta key, 2 to win with 7-8 with 1-4-7-8"?

Fear not--our job is to guide you through the beginning steps on your way to turning a profit. Money-making opportunities abound at Tampa Bay Downs, thanks to low takeout rates and the wealth of past-performance information provided in the program.

Tampa Bay Downs is considered one of the most bettor-friendly Thoroughbred tracks in the country, for a number of reasons. First, our takeout rates ("takeout" is the percentage deducted from each wager to cover taxes and administrative costs) are among the lowest in North America: 15 percent on the Pick-5; 17 percent on win, place and show; 18 percent on the daily double, Pick-3, Pick-4 and Super High-5; 20.5 percent on exactas; and 25.9 percent on the trifecta and all other wagers.

The takeout on the popular Ultimate Pick-6 wager is 20 percent. The minimum wager is 20 cents, and the carryover jackpot format creates a distinct possibility the Ultimate Pick-6 could be a life-changer for one or more bettors. For anyone to collect the entire jackpot on a given day, they must have the only ticket correctly selecting all six winners. Otherwise, 75 percent of the pari-mutuel pool will be split between those bettors selecting the greatest number of first-place finishers, with the remainder added to the carryover jackpot on the next day's racing card.

With an average field size of more than eight horses per race, payoffs at Tampa Bay Downs generally are higher than they are at tracks with fewer runners. And with safe, consistent dirt and turf surfaces that attract many of the nation's leading stables, bettors can expect to wager on high-quality horses that run true to form.

Whether you prefer to support your selection with a straight win, place and show wager, or delve into the "exotic" world of exactas, trifectas, superfectas and multi-race bets, Tampa Bay Downs guarantees a full range of options to explore.

Oh, and just for the record: The example cited at the beginning would require the No. 2 horse to win, either the 7 or 8 to finish second and either the 1, 4, 7 or 8 to finish third for the bettor to hear the sound that requires no translation -- "cha-ching!"