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What are “exotic” bets in horse racing?

Exotic wagers are essentially anything that doesn’t involve betting a single horse to win, place or show (or finish first, second or third).

There are two categories of exotic wagering:  “vertical” and “horizontal.” Vertical wagers are those that require picking the correct order of finish in a single race, ranging from exactas (pick top two finishers) to Super High-5s (pick first five finishers).

Horizontal wagers involve selecting the winners of multiple races, usually in succession. The most common horizontal bets range from the Daily Double (two races) to the Pick 6 (six races).

Exotic betting is popular because it offers the possibility of a big payoff for a relatively small investment. But the degree of difficulty in collecting such bets is far higher than selecting a single horse to win, which can lead to long losing streaks.