At the track, different bets have different difficulty levels. Win: You win if your horse finishes firstPlace: You win if your horse finishes first or secondShow: You win if you horse finishes first, second or third
As you can see, it is much easier to successfully bet a horse to show than it would be to cash a win bet. In pari-mutuel wagering, the riskier the bet, the higher the potential payoff.
If Silver Charm goes off at 5/1 and wins, you get a $12 return on your $2 win ticket. Depending on where the money was bet in the place and show pools, you may only get a $5 return for your $2 place ticket, and a $3 return on your $2 show ticket. The bottom line: If you would like to win more races, bet horses to place or show. If you want to go for a big payoff, bet on a horse to win - or venture into the exotics.