Horse Race Exacta Bets

The exacta wager is just at it sounds. A horseplayer has to pick the exact order of the first two finishers in a horse race.

Horse race exacta betting is the most popular type of betting in horse racing. It is tougher than hitting the more traditional bets (win, place, and show), but easier than the more complicated exotic wagers like trifectas and superfectas.

The exacta wager can still pay huge. Ask anyone that had the exacta in the 2005 Kentucky Derby. Giacomo (50/1) combined with Closing Argument (71/1) for a $2 exacta that returned $9,814.

That was not the only recent Derby exacta that paid handsomely.

In 2009, Mine That Bird (50/1) topped Pioneerof the Nile (6/1), the $2 exacta paying $2,074.

In addition, War Emblem (20/1) and Proud Citizen (23/1) combined for a $1,300 payoff in 2002, and in 2001 Monarchos (10/1) and Invisible Ink (55/1) returned horseplayers $1,229 on a $2 wager.

For many horseplayers, exactas are their primary bet, and there are plenty of reasons to make it a major part of your gambling strategy.

Here are a few horse racing exacta tips to consider.

The Exacta Box

The most common exacta is the box, which involves playing two or more horses. A $2 exacta box using the 1 and 2 horse would cost $4.

Below are the costs associated with $2 exacta boxes:

$2 exacta box of 3 horses = $12
$2 exacta box of 4 horses = $24
$2 exacta box of 5 horses = $40
$2 exacta box of 6 horses = $60

(Important Note: Many tracks now offer a minimum $1 exacta)

Boxing three or four horses is only a good strategy if you think each of the contenders has roughly the same chance of winning the race.

If not, using a exacta key may be a better option and be a smarter way to use your wagering bankroll.

The Exacta Key

For most horseplayers, using an exacta key strategy when doing your online horse exacta betting is a more viable option.

Instead of simply boxing three contenders in the exacta for $12, your bankroll could be put to better use if you can key in on one or two horses.

You could use the $12 to key one horse:

  • 1 over 2,3,4,5,6,7 =$12

Or key two horses:

  • 1,2 over 1,2,3,4 = $12

Using that strategy gives you more horses in the second spot, giving you more coverage if your key horses find their way to the winner’s circle.

Another strategy to consider is weighting your tickets according to the probabilities you feel the horses have of winning and running second.

Rank the horses you like for the second spot and bet accordingly. If you are using the #1 as your key horse and feel the #2 has twice the chance of #3 of landing second, you could split up your $12 wager this way:

  • $6 exacta: 1-2 $3 exacta: 1-3 $2 exacta: 1-4 $1 exacta: 1-5 for a total of $12.

Predicting the Payoffs

The advantage of horse exacta wagering is you can see the probable payoffs before the race is run.

Take advantage of this feature and look for potential overlays, or combination’s that you think are paying more than they should, while skipping those that are paying short prices.

If you like a 1-2 exacta and the probable payoff is $8 and you think it should be paying $12, skip the race and look for a better wagering opportunity.

If some of the probable payoffs are paying more that you think they should, that is the time to attack the exacta pool by wagering more, and adding more combination’s to your tickets.