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Probabilities for Belmont Stakes 2019 Betting Opportunities

gmat gre Jun 06, 2019

When studying for the GMAT or GRE, it's easy to ask yourself: "When will I ever use this in the real world?"

So let's have a little fun.

On Saturday, June 8th, will be the 151st running of the Belmont Stakes, the third of three famous horse races that comprise the famed Triple Crown of horse racing. This year there isn't a horse with a chance of winning the Triple Crown, as two different horses won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes leading up to this weekend's race. But it's still going to be a field boasting lots of talent, and it's incredible watching those majestic animals run full-tilt with a combination of such power and elegance.

But I digress....

So what does all of this have to do with the GMAT and GRE?

Betting. Odds. Probability.

As you've no-doubt discovered, probability is one of the math topics tested on the quantitative section of both the GMAT and GRE. So why not apply what you're learning to a real-world example?

Specifically, there are six common wagers bettors place on horse races:


This wager is the most straightforward and most popular bet of all. Simply put your money down on your selection hitting that winning post first.


If you think your selection has a great chance, but want to play it a little safer, the place bet is ideal. You’ll win slightly less, but you’ll be paid if your selection finishes in the first two places.


This time around, you’ll win if your selection finishes in the first three places.


Correctly predict the first and second in the race. This wager is more challenging than the win bet, but the reward is greater.


Choose first, second and third in the correct order. Get it right, and those exacta winners will be giving you jealous glances.


If you want to go for the big one, this is the wager for you. Pick the first, second, third and fourth in the right order, and you could be looking at a mega win.

So, what is the probability of winning each of those bets? The video above breaks it down for you while reminding you of the probability rules that will help you not only figure this out, but also answer similar (albeit less fun) questions on test day.

As you can see, your chances aren't very good of winning money at the track. That's why they call it gambling. But hey, if you've got some extra money burning a hole in your pocket, go for it (legally, of course). And if you win -- especially the superfecta -- you'll have plenty of extra money to spend on tuition and textbooks in grad school!

Oh, and incidentally, here are the current odds of winning for each of the 10 horses entered in this year's Belmont Stakes in case you're interested.


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