Like the tricast (trifecta) and superfecta types of bets, an exacta bet in horse racing is a type of bet that is highly popular for experienced horse racing punters. It’s a pari-mutuel type of bet which can bring you quite a lot of money in return if you manage to guess the exact outcome of the first two places in a horse race. It is a bit hard to win, but if you pick the winners in the right order, you will line your pockets with a lot of money.
Exacta bets are quite popular with handicappers thanks to the great payout. The minimum stake is usually £1, although some bookies have a minimum stake of £2. To place a bet, all you need to do is decide on your favourites, then bet your preferred amount. If your picks finish first and second in the exact order after you’ve placed your bet, your slip will win.
The payout for exacta bets can be incredible, especially if the horses you pick aren’t big favourites. There are two types of Exacta bets – straight and boxed. Straight exacta bets are more common and require you to pick 2 horses who will finish first and second. For example, if you pick horses #1 and #5, the betting slip would display £2 (or any other amount) Exacta (1-5).
When it comes to boxed Exacta bets, they require you picking two pairs of horses who are most likely to finish first and second in any order. If you again pick horses #1 and #5, the slip would display: £2 exacta – #1 Win – #5 Place or #5Win – #1 Place. Boxed bets are more versatile and cost double your wager as you’re essentially placing 2 bets. Of course, you can pick more than two horses for a boxed exacta bet – in this case, the bet would cover more possible winning combinations and will cost depending on how many of them there are.
However, betting on boxed exacta bets can be dangerous if you don’t manage your bankroll. The more horses you add to the bet, the more money you’ll spend. If the top favourites win often, your profit will be tiny, which can lead to huge losses over time. So, if you’re a new punter, it’s best to leave the exacta to experienced punters and stick to more popular types of horse racing bets.
We’re sure you’re already wondering how much money you can win with an exacta bet. It depends on the event – at the 2012 Kentucky Derby, the payout for a $2 exacta bet was nearly $1000, and the prize was even higher in 2009. However, at the 2016 Kentucky Derby, the payout fell down to only $30 for a $2 bet, when favourite Nyquist beat second-favourite Exaggerator. The bigger the favourite, the smaller the chances of a nice payout in the end. Bet small, do proper research and don’t rush into things and you may be looking at a nice outcome with an exacta bet.