If you're like me, you're a sports fan. You might appreciate the spectacle and tradition, sit in awe of the talent and athleticism on display, and respect the hard work and determination of the participants of any in a wide range of sports. If you're like me, you will watch pretty much anything with a little drama and action. Hell, I'll even watch golf, if nothing else is on. Also, if you're like me, you're a degenerate gambler, and if you're still somehow like me, you're planning on watching the horses this Saturday and paying homage to the tradition of the American Institution known as the Kentucky Derby by making yourself a mint julep and putting a few of your hard earned greenbacks on your favorite horse or jockey.
Because you may not want to take advice from a guy like me, I would recommend you consult with SB Nation's resident Horse Whisperer, Matt Gardner. He wrote an illuminative column on how to bet on the Kentucky Derby here that you should definitely take a look at, but first things first, I'll let Matt lay out a little jargon you may need to know before calling your bookie (I mean, legally betting online).
WIN: A bet on a horse to win (if you don't know this you probably shouldn't be betting)
PLACE: A bet on a horse to finish either 1st or 2nd.
SHOW: A bet on a horse to finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd.
Those are the standard bets that everybody is familiar with. They are simple, straight forward, it's easy to calculate the cost, and they are easy to make. Where things start to become more complicated is with what are known as the exotic bets. Below are the exotic wagers offered by Churchill Downs this weekend.
EXACTA: A bet picking the 1st and 2nd place finishers in a race.
TRIFECTA: A bet picking the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers in a race.
SUPERFECTA: A bet picking the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishers in a race.
DAILY DOUBLE: A bet picking the winners of two races, usually two consecutive races.
PICK 3: A bet picking the winners of three consecutive races.
PICK 4: A bet picking the winners of four consecutive races.
PICK 5: A bet picking the winners of five consecutive races.
PICK 6: A bet picking the winners of six consecutive races.
For more on the 2012 Kentucky Derby, please check out And Down The Stretch They Come. Then, head over to SBNation.com's coverage for the 138th Run for the Roses.