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Kentucky Derby 2012 Betting Guide: How To Bet On The Horses

If you're like me, you're a sports fan. You appreciate the spectacle and tradition of a wide range of sports and will watch pretty much anything with a little drama and intrigue. Also, if you're like me, you watch horse racing about three times a year, total (the Triple Crown races, yes). I'm not the type that goes to the track on a regular basis (read: one time in my life, when I was about eight, and my uncle placed a bet for me, in which I won seven dollars), and that's probably true for a lot of people. Still, if you're watching the horses this Saturday, one way to take part in the tradition of the American Institution known as the Kentucky Derby, make a little more interesting, and maybe get a little something out of it, is to make yourself a mint julep and put a few of your hard earned dollars on your favorite horse or jockey.

I'm not the most trustworthy source on advice for this, as you might have gathered, but SB Nation's resident Horse Whisperer, Matt Gardner, is. You can check out his full column on how to bet on the Kentucky Derby here, but first things first, I'll let Matt lay out a little jargon you may need to know.

WIN: A bet on a horse to win (if you don't know this you probably shouldn't be betting)
PLACE: A bet on a horse to finish either 1st or 2nd.
SHOW: A bet on a horse to finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd.

Those are the standard bets that everybody is familiar with. They are simple, straight forward, it's easy to calculate the cost, and they are easy to make. Where things start to become more complicated is with what are known as the exotic bets. Below are the exotic wagers offered by Churchill Downs this weekend.

EXACTA: A bet picking the 1st and 2nd place finishers in a race.
TRIFECTA: A bet picking the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers in a race.
SUPERFECTA: A bet picking the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishers in a race.
DAILY DOUBLE: A bet picking the winners of two races, usually two consecutive races.
PICK 3: A bet picking the winners of three consecutive races.
PICK 4: A bet picking the winners of four consecutive races.
PICK 5: A bet picking the winners of five consecutive races.
PICK 6: A bet picking the winners of six consecutive races.

For more on the 2012 Kentucky Derby, please check out And Down The Stretch They Come. Then, head over to's coverage for the 138th Run for the Roses.