Exacta Betting

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The exacta is picking the first and second position horses in consecutive order. The horses must finish in the order you specified.

Exacta bets are safer than trifectas or superfectas because you are picking the top 2 horses versus 3 or 4. Consider exacta box and wheel bets to decrease your risk even more.

Sample for how to make a Straight Exacta Bet from a horse racebook
Exact Bet Sample

  1. Select the "Exacta Bet" from your racebook’s wagering menu.
  2. Note the horses in the race, listed on the left. The next "ML" column lists the odds.
  3. Select the first and second position horses. Remember, final order matters. In this diagram, the first position horse has 2:1 odds. The second position horse has 5:2 odds.
  4. ***Notes: Your 2 horses must finish in the order you specified. Advanced bettors could place an Exacta Wheel bet by choosing more than one horse to finish in a each position. For example, horse Jones is selected to win. Horses Smith or Charlie are BOTH selected to take second. Please see our Exacta Betting page to learn more.

Example: $2 Straight Exacta

The minimum Exacta costs $2. If you’re betting an exacta for the first time, bet the lowest amount possible.

Example Bet: 

$2 Exacta Bet on Horses 12 & 4. That means you are betting $2 that horses 12 and 4 will finish first and second in consecutive order.

Variant #1: Exacta Box Betting

An Exacta Box bet is picking the top two horses finishing in ANY order. This bet improves your chances of winning because you choose more than 2 horses and order doesn’t matter.

There’s a catch. Exacta Box bets cost more than a straight Exacta. Each possible winning combination is $1.

Exacta Box Cost Calculation: ((Number of horses) x (Number of horses – 1)) x (Cost per combination)

A 3 horse Exacta Box means there are 6 possible finishing combinations. Your bet will cost $12, $2 per combination.
3 horse cost = (3 horses x (3 horses -1)) x $2 = $12
4 horse cost = (4 horses x (4 horses -1)) x $2 = $24
5 horse cost = (5 horses x (5 horses -1)) x $2 = $40

Example: $2 Exacta Box Bet

Sample for how to make an Exacta Box Bet from a horse racebook.
Exact Bet Sample

  1. Select the "Exacta Bet" from your racebook’s wagering menu.
  2. Note the horses in the race, listed on the left. The next "ML" column lists the odds.
  3. Select 3 horses to finish first and second. Remember, final order does not matter. In this diagram, the first horse has 2:1 odds. The second horse has 5:2 odds. The third horse has 15:1 odds.
  4. You must click the blue "Box" button. This indicates the bet is an Exacta Box and not a straight Exacta.
  5. ***Notes: 2 of your 3 horses must finish first and second.
    For example you bet horses James, Sam and Larry. Suppose Sam and Larry finish first and second, respectively. The bet would win. If James and Sam finished first and second, the bet would also win. But if horse Mark ends up first or second, the bet would lose. You did not choose Mark in your box.
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3 Horse Exacta Box Cost and Combinations
Finishing Order Cost Each
13,2 $2
2,13 $2
13,9 $2
9,13 $2
9,2 $2
2,9 $2
Total Cost $12

Variant #2: Exacta Wheel Betting

The Exacta Wheel bet is picking sets of horses to finish in first and second position. This bet improves your chances of winning because 1 or more horses can be chosen to finish in each position.

Difference between Exacta Wheel and Exacta Box Bets?
Exacta Wheel betting requires a specific order from 2 sets of horses. Exacta box betting requires any order of 3 or more horses.

The Exacta Key Concept

Keying means selecting a set of horses to finish in a certain position. Exactas are for first and second position. That means 2 keys must be made for each Exacta Wheel.

Start with the first position key. Select 1 or more horses. For example, suppose horses 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 are racing.

Example 1st Key: Horses 4 & 1

That means horses 4 or 1 must finish first. You can only win if 4 or 1 finish first.

Example 2nd Key: Horses 2, 5, 6

That means horses 2, 5 or 6 must finish second. You can only win if horses 2, 5 or 6 finish second.

Example Winning combinations. Key 1 Horses 4 & 1. Key 2 Horses 2, 5 or 6
Finishing Order Result
4,2 Win
4,5 Win
4,6 Win
1,2 Win
1,5 Win
1,6 Win
Example Losing combinations. Key 1 Horses 4 & 1. Key 2 Horses 2, 5 or 6
Finishing Order Result Why?
6,4 Lose Horse 6 from second key. Horse 4 from first key.
5,1 Lose Horse 5 from second key. Horse 1 from first key.
3,5 Lose Horse 3 not in first key. Horse 5 correct.
4,1 Lose Horse 4 correct. Horse 1 not in second key.
2,6 Lose Horse 2 not in first key. Horse 6 correct.

Exacta Wheel Bets Cost $2 Per Combination

Consider the following examples. We’ve keyed horses into the first and second position positions. Exacta Wheel cost is $2 multiplied by total number of combinations.

Exacta Wheel Cost Calculation: ( (Number first key horses x Number second key horses) – (Number horses found in both keys) ) x (Cost per combination)

Example 1: Exacta Part Wheel

Horses 12 and 7 are your first key.
Horses 8, 4 and 13 are your second key.
0 horses are found in both keys.

( (2 horses x 3 horses) – (0 horses in both keys)) x $2 cost = $12

5 Horse Exacta Wheel Combinations. 2 horse first key. 3 horse second key.
Finishing Order Cost Each
12,8 $2
12,4 $2
12,13 $2
7,8 $2
7,4 $2
7,13 $2
Total Cost $12

Example 2: Exacta Full Wheel (1,2 – ALL)

Horses 1 and 2 are your first key.
Horses 3,4,5,6,7,8 are your second key.
( (2 horses x 6 horses) – (0 horses both keys) ) x (Cost per combination)

8 Horse Exacta Wheel Combinations. 2 unique horse first key. 6 unique horse second key.
Finishing Order Cost Each
1,3 $2
1,4 $2
1,5 $2
1,6 $2
1,7 $2
1,8 $2
2,3 $2
2,4 $2
2,5 $2
2,6 $2
2,7 $2
2,8 $2
Total Cost $24

Exacta Betting Cost Tables

Exacta Box Cost Calculation: ((Number of horses) x (Number of horses – 1)) x (Cost per combination)

Exacta Box Costs, $2 Per Combination
Horses Combinations Total
3 6 $12
4 12 $24
5 20 $40
6 30 $60
7 42 $84
8 56 $112
9 72 $144
10 90 $180
11 110 $220
12 132 $264

Exacta Wheel Cost Calculation:( (Number first key horses x Number second key horses) – (Number horses found in both keys) ) x (Cost per combination)

Exacta Wheel Costs, $2 Per Combination.
Key 1 Horses Key 2 Horses Total
1 2 $4
1 3 $6
1 4 $8
1 5 $10
1 6 $12
2 2 $8
2 3 $12
2 4 $16
2 5 $20
2 6 $24
3 2 $12
3 3 $18
3 4 $24
3 5 $30
3 6 $36
4 2 $16
4 3 $24
4 4 $32
4 5 $40
4 6 $48
5 2 $20
5 3 $30
5 4 $40
5 5 $50
5 6 $60
6 2 $24
6 3 $36
6 4 $48
6 5 $60
6 6 $72
See Also
Exacta Box Betting
Quinella Wheel Betting
Quinella Betting