Exacta horse racing betting is a popular form of pari-mutuel wagering that can be quite lucrative for experienced horse racing bettors. Winning an Exacta bet isn’t the easiest thing to do by far, but for seasoned handicappers, the profit margin can be remarkable.
What is Exacta Horse Racing Betting?
An Exacta bet, also referred to a Exactor or Perfecta, is one where the bettor picks two horses to finish in the first and second place positions (Win and Place), in an exact order. Both horses must finish in the chosen order, or the bet is lost.
If the bettor chooses horse #5 to Win and horse #3 to Place, but they instead finish in order of #3 Wins and #5 Places, the bet is lost. You have the option to “box” your exacta which will cost double the price but will give you a win no matter the order of the horses you picked!
A winning Exacta bet can have an awesome payout, especially if the Win-Place order includes less favored horses. When the favorites to Win and Place are chosen, the payout will, of course, be lower, but still notably rewarding since you picked an exact order.
The actual profitability of Exacta horse racing betting will be determined by how many bettors made the same wager, thus is the nature of pari-mutuel betting. Each time a wager is placed on the same Exacta bet, the probable payouts decrease. And unfortunately, the tote betting board at a horse racing track does not depict the odds for Exacta horse racing betting because there are so many possible combinations, and not enough room on the tote to display them all.
Types of Exacta Horse Racing Betting
There are two ways to place an Exacta horse racing bet:
- Straight Exacta
- Exacta Box
Note that the minimum bet size is $2, so we’ll be using a $2 bet in each of our examples.
Straight Exacta Horse Racing Betting
The Straight Exacta bet is the same as defined above. It is a bet on two horses to Win and Place (finish in first and second) in a precise order. An Exacta betting slip would be displayed in the following fashion: $2 Exacta (2-7). This means you have placed a $2 Exacta bet on horse #2 to finish in first place (Win) and horse #7 to finish in second (Place).
Exacta Box Horse Racing Betting
An Exacta Box bet is more versatile, allowing the bettor to place two wagers on a single betting slip, choosing the two horses they believe will finish first and second in any order. If you bet on horse #2 and horse #7, the Exacta Box bet would win so long as the final order was #2 Win – #7 Place, or #7 Win – #2 Place. Because it is actually two Exacta bets, the cost would be $4.
The great thing about Exacta “Box” horse racing betting is that you can also add in a third horse. Maybe you are expecting horse’s #2 and #7 to finish in the first and second position, but you also believe horse #4 has a pretty good chance of breaking into the top three. You could place an Exacta Box bet on 2-7-4. This bet would cost $12, buying 6 different bets on a single slip, like so:
Exacta Box: 2-4, 2-7, 4-2, 4-7, 7-2, 7-4
You can actually put as many horses as you like on the Exacta Box, but be aware that the price will continue to rise with each horse added.
- 4 horses = $42
- 5 horses = $120
- 6 horses = $240
- 7 horses = $420
- 8 horses = $672
The more horses you add to an Exacta Bet, the more likely you are to lose money in the end, rather than making a profit. If you select 8 horses, and only the most favored animals finish in the top two positions, you’ll be lucky to make $30 on the bet, resulting in a loss of nearly $650. For this reason, exotic wagers like Exacta horse racing betting are generally best left to experienced handicappers, or those who employ the services of a veteran handicapper.