In the classic Trifecta bet you nominate the three horses to come first, second and third with their specific ranks. Because it includes three horses and their precise order in the first three, this is a complicated bet even for the experienced punter. Just one horse out of place ends your chances of winning on the race. In principle the Trifecta is identical to the Exacta/Perfecta bet, with the added risk of the third horse. Naturally its difficulty makes a Trifecta win one of the most worthwhile if you are looking to leave the real or virtual track with some hard calculated cash.
For those of us who are not yet hardened professionals when it comes to the ways of the track, a good way to get familiar with the workings of the Trifecta is the so-called 'box bet'. A box bet still requires you to pick the first three horses over the line; however, it does cover all possible combinations, so that the exact order in which your three favourites cross the line is no longer important. In the case of a Trifecta box, you have a 'three-horse-box'.
Firstly, you chose your three horses and place a Trifecta box bet. Because a three-horse-box has 6 possible combinations, you have six times more chance of winning than in a normal Trifecta and the pay-offs are still pretty good. However, because it is so much easier than the classic Trifecta, the rule is that a box Trifecta bet requires a base wager six times as high as a regular trifecta - base wagers may vary from venue to venue. As in the case of the Exacta/Perfecta and the Quinella bet, the Trifecta pay-off is far above the pay-off from a Trifecta box bet.