An exacta bet, also sometimes known as a perfecta or “straight forecast”, is a wager on two horses to finish in first and second place in that exact order. The bet may also be referred to as an “exactor” in some places, but exacta is the most common term today.
As an example, a bettor may like the looks of Horse #2 and Horse #6 in a race and place a straight exacta on them to finish in that order. If Horse #2 finishes first and Horse #6 finishes second, the exacta wins. In any other outcome, the exacta loses.
The exacta is one of the more straightforward types of bets classified as “exotics” because it involves a wager on two or more horses.
Exacta Betting vs. Quinella Wagering
Exacta bets are similar to quinellas, but they are not the same. The difference is that when placing an exacta, the bettor must get the order of finish correct. In a quinella wager, the bettor only needs to pick two horses to finish in first and second place, but the order does not matter.
Thus, an exacta bet is more difficult to win relative to a quinella, but it also provides bigger potential payouts.
Straight Exacta Horse Racing Bet
The exacta we have discussed so far, and the example provided above, are classified as straight exacta bets – a simple wager on two horses to win in that exact order.
Bettors can “box” their exactas by adding additional horses and winning outcomes to increase both the odds of winning and the cost of the bet. Every extra horse added to an exacta box increases its price, so bettors must balance the benefits of doing so against the added costs.
Exacta Box Horse Racing Bets
The practice of boxing an exacta bet involves covering all possible win combinations of two or more horses. Exacta box bets cost more money to place because bettors are essentially placing multiple bets at once.
Exacta box bets are popular because they still provide respectable payouts but provide more flexibility. A simple exacta box bet would be to pick two horses and cover two possible winning scenarios: Horse A finishing first and Horse B finishing second, or Horse A finishing second and Horse B finishing first.
A two-horse exacta box functions similarly to a quinella in that regard, but it will pay more in most situations. However, in some cases, such as the bettor preferring a horse with longer odds to win the race, a quinella may be the better play. When deciding whether to place an exacta box or a quinella, bettors should consider the potential payouts of each relative to the cost of the wager.