The tote board,or "tote" for short, was first invented by the Totalisator Company, from which it derives its name. This company operated the majority of betting systems throughout the continent of North America. This device is the familiar scoreboard gamblers see at the race track. Those watching live racing use the tote to keep up on the action, while those watching the race on television see the tote in the corner of the television screen.
While many tote boards include more information, at a minimum, the tote board will contain information such as:
The time of day,the post time to the next race, approximate odds for each horse in the last race, the results and the payoffs of the last race, the approximate odds of each horse in the next race.
Some tote boards will also include such information as:
the track conditions, quipment and jockey changes, potential payoffs for some of the more exotic bets.
The information that is shown on the tote board is directly tied to the computers which are used to keep track of the money that is being bet. That means the figures on the tote board will change constantly. It is therefore not possible to know the true size of the betting pool and the true odds until the race has been run.
Some of the most frequently seen types of betting include:
straight wagering - Straight wagering means betting on a single horse to win,place or show.
Daily double - the daily double means picking the winners of two consecutive races.
Exacta - To win the exacta, the better must pick the first and second finisher in a single race, in the exact order of finish.
Quinella - A quinella win requires the bettor to pick the1st and 2nd place winners in any order. Trifecta - a trifecta requires the bettor to pick the first three finishers in the exact order.