What Is an Exacta Bet? β€” How to Place an Exacta Wager in Horse Racing

Betting on horse racing gives bettors a thrill that few other sports can match. No matter if you want to have an occasional flutter or you are an experienced punter, horse racing will have the right betting option for you, and one such wager is exacta bet.

Exacta bet is one of the most basic exotic bets in horse racing. It requires you to predict which two horses will end up in the two finishing positions at the end of the race and in their correct order.

Exacta wagers are simple to place, yet they can be quite lucrative if done right, so stay with us as we describe the types of exacta bets, their payouts, and how to place one.

What Is an Exacta Bet?

An exacta bet in horse racing is also referred to as an exactor or perfecta bet, and is one of the simplest exotic bets you can place. If you’ve had enough of the standard bets, then an exacta is just what you need. With this kind of bet, you predict which two horses will finish the race in the first two positions. Unlike the quinella bet, where the order of finish is not important, you need to guess the correct finishing order of the two horses with exacta bets.

Whenever you choose one of those exotic bets, there will always be more than one horse involved. The typical cost of an exacta bet is $1 per selection so that the minimum bet will be $2, but it depends on the type of the exacta bet.

The exacta bet can bring considerable payouts from the parimutuel wagering system that applies in horse racing, and it does not cost much to place such a wager. For example, all players who placed a $2 exacta bet on this year’s Kentucky Derby race in September and guessed correctly that the Authentic would win the race and the heavy favourite Tiz the Law would finish second received $41 in return.

Types of Exacta Bets

Much like its counterpart, the quinella bet, the exacta bet comes in many shapes and sizes. There are three main types of wagers you can make using this betting format.

Straight Exacta

As its name suggests, the straight exacta is a bet you place on two horses you think will finish in the first two positions in a race and the exact order you believe the horses will win and show. Only if you get both the horses and their order of finish right can you win the bet. For example, you place a $2 5-6 exacta on horses #5 and #6. This means you think horse number 5 will be the winner of the race and that horse number 6 will come second. Only in that scenario is your bet successful. If any other outcome of the race is registered, you’ll end up with nothing.

Exacta Box

The exacta box bet brings a bit of a twist to the exacta wagers. It allows you to select more than just two horses you believe will finish first and second in a race. Each additional combination of horses comes at a $2 cost. Let’s illustrate this bet with an example.

If you want to place an exacta box bet with three horses, say, horses #4, #5, and #7, you will have to cover all the possible combinations for win and place positions: 4-5, 5-4, 7-4, 4-7, 5-7, and 7-5. Each combination costs $2, which means the total amount of your bet will be $12.

You can bet as many horses as you like, undoubtedly improving your odds of success. However, with more horses, the price of your bet grows exponentially, and it can even reach a point where the possible winnings are just not worth the risk. That said, the key is to find the right balance.

Exacta Wheel

The exacta wheel bet is a wager where you choose one horse you think will surely win the race, so you use that horse as a common denominator in all other combinations. Say you believe horse #8 is the favourite to win the Queen’s Plate race, and you want to add horses #4, #6, #2 to your bet. You will then place a $2 exacta wheel bet with horse #8 over horses #4, #6, #2, which means the bet will be successful if horse #8 wins and any of the horses #4, #6, #2 comes second. The price of such a bet is just $8, and there is a great payout potential, thanks to multiple combinations.

Exacta Bet Payouts

The payouts for the exacta bet are determined by the parimutuel wagering system, which means all particular exacta bets are pooled together, and each winning ticket gets a share of the prize pool. For example, you placed a $2 3-4 exacta, and there was a total of $10 on that particular bet. If the exacta prize pool’s total value was $1,000, then the odds set for the 3-4 exacta would be 100 to 1, which translates to a potential win of $200. Remember, the odds keep changing as more people place exacta bets. The more people bet, the bigger the potential payout will be.


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