What is an Exacta Bet?

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If you are an online betting newbie, you might have asked yourself the following question: What is an exacta bet? Luckily, we are here to help. This type of bet is very common in horse racing betting. Our guide will bring you all the info you need on this exotic bet type.

Exacta Bet Definition and Overview

First, we’ll start by saying that an exacta bet is also referred to as a perfecta or an exactor. All these names signify only one thing – a bet that you place by selecting two horses you believe are going to finish in the first and second place in that specific order. If you want your bet to go through, you need these two horses to finish the race in this precise order. Otherwise, your bet will lose.

This bet is particularly popular among punters who like wagering on the most popular horse races in the world. We are talking about the US Triple Crown – the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t place an exacta horse racing bet on other races.

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How to Place an Exacta

Now that we have answered the question “What is an exacta bet?”, let’s see how you can place it. Here’s a step by step walkthrough that will guide you through this process.

  • Log into your preferred racebook account on your computer or your phone.
  • Select the race and the track you want to bet on.
  • Select the exacta bet and the amount you wish to stake.
  • Choose the horse that you believe will finish the race first, and the one you believe will finish second.
  • The last step is confirming your bet.

As you can see, placing an exacta horse racing bet is extremely simple. All that’s left for you to do is watch the race and cheer for your selected horses. If they finish in the exact order, your bet will win.

Let’s see an example of this bet type. For example, you want to place it on the Kentucky Derby and see what your Kentucky Derby exacta payouts will be like. What you need to do is select the Kentucky runner among the twenty available that you think will finish first, and another one that will finish second. The only way to win this bet is to guess the finishing order of these two horses correctly. This means that if the two horses you have chosen won first and second place, but not in the order you predicted, your bet will lose. The minimum amount you can typically wager is $1 per selection, but the odds are calculated at a bet value of $2. This is the case for both one track as well as online exacta betting.

For the 2019 Kentucky Derby, a $2 exacta would have generated a payout of $3,009.60.

Exacta Bet Variations

This bet has a few variations. We have explained them below.

Exacta Box Bet

An exacta box bet increases your chances of winning. Instead of having to predict the correct finishing order of only two horses, this bet type allows you to box your selection. Essentially, this means that you can select the horses to finish first and second in either order. Also, you can add as many horses as you want.

This allows you to choose more than two horses. Let’s say that you choose three of them and you place a boxed exacta. For your bet to be a winner, you need any two of them to finish the race in the first and second position. This means that you have six potential combinations.

An exacta box with four horses has 12 combinations, with five horses twenty combinations, with six horses thirty combinations, etc. The number of possible combinations determines your bet cost. Note that the price of the exacta will grow with each horse added to the box. Moreover, adding more horses also increases the risk of you ending up with a lower payout on the bet.

Exacta Wheel Bet

In this variation, you would need to pick one horse to finish first or second, and any other of the horses would have to finish in second position. For example, in a race of ten horses, you select one horse to finish in second place, while any of the other nine can finish first for your bet to win. You can also choose a “part-wheel” exacta bet, where you select some of the horses included in the wheel, instead of just having all of them.

Standout Exacta

This variation of an exacta bet enables you to choose one horse you believe is going to win (the standout), as well as a few others you feel are going to be contending for the second place. Here’s how it would work.

All you need for this bet to win is for your standout to finish in the first place, and for any of your other runners to cross the finish line second.

Exacta Conclusion

If you are interested in exotic horse racing bets, we recommend giving the exacta bet a go. It’s not that complicated to understand and placing it is also very easy. There are no guarantees that you are going to win, of course.

But knowing these bet type basics, as well as familiarizing yourself with runners and their past performance can increase your chances to a certain extent. You can deepen your horse race knowledge by having a look at our different horse betting guides.