Show. Play. Win. A night at the Races

No plans for Friday night? Tomorrow night we’ve got your covered.  Kick off the weekend with GOTG at Show.Play.Win: A Night at the Races, benefiting Front Street Animal Shelter.

Come dressed to impress in big floppy hats and summer dresses. Learn how to bid like the pros at Horse Racing 101 and enjoy delicious appetizers paired with complimentary beverages from California’s award-winning wineries. Your admission to the event includes entrance into the fair so after the race you can grab a fried treat, ride the ferris wheel or indulge in our personal favorite THE WINE SLUSHIE! And best of all, the proceeds go to our friends at Front Street Animal Shelter – it’s a win/win!

We’ve provided an FAQ to help you prepare:


Frequently Asked Questions

Are the horses that are raced at Cal Expo safe?

Yes! Before, during and after the race, horses are monitored by a licensed veterinarian.   Each horse undergoes a thorough medical check in the morning before the races that particular day. All horse racing activities, including safety standards are established by the California Horse Racing Board and between every race, the track is harrowed and watered to ensure quality and consistency of the race surface. Basically safety is first and top priority for horses and riders.

How do you pick a winning horse?

There are many different methods people use to pick a racehorse, from superstitions and traditions to “hot tips” and statistics.  Here are some methods you might see in a betting line at the California State Fair:

  • Favorite Jockey, owner or trainer
  • Birthday or anniversary number combinations
  •  Color of jockey silks
  • The horse’s pedigree (family backgrounds)
  • A lucky number
  • Betting on the gray horse (a rare coat color for Thoroughbreds)
  • Connection to the horse’s name
  • The “Poop Method” – betting on whoever poops during the Post Parade.  (Will they run faster with less weight to carry?)
  • Drawing horses names out of a hat
  • The “Morning Line” odds in the program
  • Horse body types
  • Serious studying of the Daily Racing Form

What do I say at the Window?

One you’ve decided how you’re going to bet, step up to the window and place your bet in the following order:

  • FIRST:                    Say the name of the race track where you are betting.
  • SECOND:              State the race number.
  • THIRD:                  State the amount of your bet.
  • FOURTH:              State the type of bet.
  • FIFTH:                   State the number of the horse.

Example:             “Sacramento, race #7, $2 to Win on #4.”

PRO TIP: Remeber to always check your tickets before you leave the window and hold on to your tickets until the race has been declared “official”.

Should I start with Straight or Exotic Bets ?

Start with straights bets and then check out exotic bets if you are feeling adventurous here are the basics of Show, Place, Win!

  • WIN: You win if your selection finishes 1st. On average, over 30% of betting favorites finish first.
  • PLACE: You win if your selection finishes either 1st or 2nd.
  • SHOW: You win if your selection finishes 1st, 2nd or 3rd.

I Know How to Bet, Now What Is the Racing Lingo?

  • Across The Board:            Three equal bets, to win, to place and to show, on a single horse.
  • Betting Favorite:   The horse with the most money bet to win. Also referred to as the “Chalk”.
  • Dead Heat:              A race where two or more horses finish in a tie.
  • Furlong:                    One eighth of a mile.
  • Handle:                     Amount of money wagered on a race or a single day.
  • Inquiry:                    A review of a race by the Stewards of a foul or violation which may have occurred during the running of a race.
  • Longshot:                A horse with relatively little money bet to win.
  • Maiden:                    A horse that has not yet won a race.
  • Morning Line:         The track handicapper’s estimate of the probable odds for each horse at post time.
  • Official:                      Sign displayed on the tote board and TV monitors when a race is confirmed.
  • Photo Finish:          A result so close it is necessary to use a special finish-line camera to determine the exact order of finish.
  • Scratch:                    A horse who has been withdrawn from a race.
  • Silks:                          Colorful jacket and cap worn by the jockeys to designate owners of the horse.
  • Sprint:                       A race distance of seven furlongs or less.
  • Stewards:                Racing officials designated to uphold the rules of racing at the race track.
  • Tote Board:             Sometimes referred to simply as the “board”, this electronic sigh displays odds and other important wagering information. Always hold on to your tickets until the word “Official” is displayed on the Tote Board.

And there it is, now you’re ready to Show.Play.Win with the pros. We’ll see you Friday night at the races!


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