What happens in the event of dead-heat?
In horse racing, a dead-heat occurs when two or more horses cross the finishing line at exactly the same time, such that, even after reference to photographic evidence, the raceday judge cannot separate them. Nowadays, the judge can rely on two highly sensitive, high resolution digital cameras, in a photofinish booth high in the grandstand, to determine the outcome of close finishes. Nevertheless, while advances in technology allow an accurate result to be announced within a matter of seconds, dead-heats do still occur, albeit less often than was once the case.
As far as prize money is concerned, in the event of dead-heat, the first, second and, possibly third, prize money is added together and divided equally between, or among, the connections of the horses involved. As far as bookmakers are concerned, industry standard dead-heat rules dictate that winning bets on a horse involved in dead-heat are settled at full odds – regardless of whether you took an ante post, early or board price, or starting price – but to half, or a third, of your original stake, depending on the number of horses involved in the dead-heat. Thus, a £10 win bet on a horse that dead-heats, with one other, at odds of 4/1 returns £25. Note that this is not the same as half the odds to the full stake which, in this case, would return £30.