
Exacta betting in horse racing, using exacta boxes and wheels as a betting
strategy. How
to figure the cost of exacta boxes and wheels and the best horse racing exacta bets to make
How
to bet exactas
The Exacta or perfecta is a bet made in horse racing to pick the first and second place horses in a race. The exacta was the first "exotic" bet at most racetracks and today is the least exotic when compared to the trifecta, superfecta, pick 3, pick 4, and pick 6 wagers.
There are 3 types of exacta bets; the straight exacta, the exacta box, and the exacta wheel. In a straight exacta you are picking the first and second place horses in a race and they must finish in exactly that order. An example of a straight exacta bet would be a $2 exacta ( 57) This means that the 5 horse must finish first and the 7 horse must finish second. Any other outcome makes that bet a loser. In the Exacta box you are covering both combinations, a $2 exacta box (57) would be a winner if the 5 finished first and the 7 second, or viceversa, the 7 wins and the 5 places. When you make a $2 exacta box with 2 horses you are really betting $4: a $2 (57) and a $2 (75). You can box as many horses as you would like in an exacta, and the price of the bet will rise accordingly. The more horses you cover in your exacta box, the more likely you are to hit your exacta but the payoff may not cover the cost of the bet.
In an exacta wheel, you are usually picking one horse to win and two or more horses to come in second. A $2 exacta wheel 7 with 2,3,5 would cost $6 and would be a winner if the 7 won and either the 2, 3, or 5 came in second.
HOW TO READ THE EXACTA PAYOUT CHART
EXACTA PAYOFF MATRIX 




SECOND 











1 
2 
3 
4 
5 
6 
7 
8 


Horse Win Odds 

F 
1 

155 
327 
195 
98 
281 
202 
199 

1 
15:1 



I 
2 
169 

342 
190 
123 
285 
270 
152 

2 
8:1 



R 
3 
349 
395 

277 
134 
410 
208 
290 

3 
24:1 



S 
4 
126 
146 
201 

49 
130 
46 
50 

4 
6:1 



T 
5 
53 
69 
79 
38 

50 
26 
22 

5 
2:1 




6 
342 
302 
360 
153 
86 

181 
177 

6 
10:1 




7 
145 
193 
169 
44 
33 
126 

42 

7 
3:1 




8 
122 
106 
192 
44 
28 
122 
40 


8 
7:2 


The exacta payoff matrix can be found before each race at the track and is updated as new bets come in and the payoffs change. In the above example we can see that the 57 exacta will pay $26.00. We find this out by looking down the left hand column and finding the horse we want to come in first, in this case # 5, and following across until we find our second place horse, # 7, and finding the value where our first place choice intersects with our second place horse. The 57 exacta is one of the lowest paying combinations on the board and that makes sense because the # 5 horse is the favorite at 2:1 and the #7 is the second choice at 3:1
Use the Exacta Calculator to figure the costs of boxes and wheels.
Looking at the exacta matrix can provide insight into the way the race is being handicapped. In this race, the 58 exacta pays less than the 57 even though the # 8 horse has higher odds: 7:2 It is not unusual to see these types of discrepancies in the exacta payoffs and they can be used to your advantage. If you your handicapping of the race leads you to believe the # 8 horse is the one to beat you may find more value in playing him in the exacta pool than you would Handicapping the race with value in mind will allow you to play the exactas that pay more, because the public is overlooking those combinations. Using handicapping software could allow you to find horses that have the speed to win, but may be overlooked in the betting.
What you are looking for as a handicapper is a situation in which your best play in the race is being sent off at odds that provide a value to you, the player. Lets assume that in this race you have determined that the # 5 horse is a false favorite. He is a speed horse who won his last race loose on the lead. He was the only speed in that race on that day, and had a huge pace advantage. Today he will be facing two other earlyspeed horses and will not make the lead as easily, if at all. In handicapping the race, you see that he has never won before when being pressured early and you see no reason that he will do so today. The # 8 horse is a stalker and will sit behind the early speed duel and be well positioned to win this race when the early leaders tire. He is the 3rd choice in the betting, and you believe that # 5 and # 7 will burn each other up in a speed duel and finish off the board. You could play the # 8 horse to win and place and cash a nice ticket, but why not look at the exacta payoffs to see if your contrary view of this horse race would be better rewarded in the exacta pool? If you throw out the 5 and 7 horses as you believe they have no chance, you could wheel the 8 on top of the remaining horses in an exacta wheel. A $2 exacta wheel 8 over the 1,2,3,4,6 would cost you $10 (Five combinations X $2). If you were to bet $10 to win on a 7:2 horse you would get back $45 if he won. Your lowest paying exacta in the 8/1,2,3,4,6 exacta wheel is the 84 which returns $44. Any other result makes playing the exacta a better bet than a straight win bet.


