Exacta Bet in Horse Racing – Understanding the Basics

exacta bet

5 minutes

Last Updated: October 31, 2022


With so many betting options available when it comes to horse racing, it can take some time for new punters to get the hang of it.

One of the most popular options, that is available for horse racing is the exacta bet. This is also one of the bets that all new bettors looking to make money on horses should learn.

Simply put, the exacta horse bet allows bettors to pick two horses that will finish first and second.

But, as is often the case with betting, there so much more that you should know if you are planning to take on horse racing seriously.

If you are interested in learning more about the exacta bet, you have come to the right place. In this article we will be teaching you everything you need to know about this particular bet.

What Is the Exacta Bet?

The exacta bet is a type of bet that horse bettors use to predict the horse that they think will win the race as well as the horse that they think will finish in second place.

The exact order of the horses is specified in the bet with the following format:

If you place an exacta bet with 4-6, this means that horse number 4 must finish first, and horse number 6 must finish second for you to win your wager.

This is where the name exacta (exactly) comes from.

As you can see, hitting an exacta can be quite tricky, but fortunately for bettors, there are other bet types based on the exacta that are easy to hit and thus give them better chances to win their bet.

One of these alternative bets is the exacta box.

What Is the Exacta Box Bet?

what is exacta bet

The exacta box bet is a type of bet that a horse bettor uses to predict which two horses will finish in first and second place in any order.

For this bet, the order of the horses does not matter, as long as both of the picked horses finish in the top two spots.

This is why the exacta box bet always costs double the stake of the exacta bet.

If you place an exacta box bet on 4-6, this means that your bet will be a winning if the horse number 4 come first and the horse number 6 comes second or if the horse number 6 comes first and the horse number 4 comes second.

From the example above, you can see why it is a lot easier to hit an exacta box bet than the naked exacta bet.

What Is the Exacta Key Box Bet?

The exacta key box bet is another alternative to the exacta bet, this bet allows bettors to choose one of the horses that they are focusing on, called the key, and add other horses to cover additional options at a lower cost.

To explain this bet type more clearly, we will use an example.

Let’s say you place a $1 2,5/9 exacta key box bet. This particular exacta box key box bet consists of two exacta box bets.

The first exacta box bet is 2&5 and the second bet is 2&9 (the 2 must finish in 1st or 2nd place, and either 5 or 9 also must finish in the first two positions.

As you can see in this example, the key horse, in this case, horse 2, must finish in the first two places for the bet to stand a chance, and either 5 or 7 must accompany the 2 in the first two places for this exacta key box bet to be a winning one.

How to Place the Exacta Bet

exacta box

To place an exacta bet, you will need an online betting account and some funds. The process of placing an the bet is pretty simple and consists of the following steps:

  1. Open your online betting site
  2. Visit the “Horse racing” section and open the race that you want to bet on
  3. In the betting menu select the option to place an “Exacta bet”
  4. Choose one of the following options: exacta bet, exacta box bet, or exacta key box bet
  5. Select how many horses you want to bet on based on the type of the bet you selected
  6. Input the amount of money you want to stake and the option “Place bet”

If you want to make additional bets with the same horses, we advise that you repeat this process every time, so you don’t get lost in too many combinations or wager more money than you had planned.

Horse Betting Strategy Tips

If you are planning to give horse betting a shot, apart from knowing all the betting options, you will also need a solid foundation from the betting strategy perspective.

Money Management

Like with all types of gambling, if you want to be successful and make some money, you need to develop good money management skills.

Having a separate bankroll for horse racing is extremely important as it will help you separate your betting bankroll from your everyday budget.

exacta horse racing

Betting on horses is a marathon and not a sprint, so apart from having a good work ethic you will also need a bankroll that can survive the swings.

Keeping a separate amount of money will also prevent you from getting too emotionally involved and making irrational decisions in times when things are not going so well.

Betting on Value

One of the biggest mistakes that horse bettors make is that they approach it from the perspective of picking winners.

This is a totally wrong way of looking at horse betting, and one that will probably cost you some money.

You need to realize, that instead of picking winners, the best bettors in the world, look to buy value and that is what you should be doing too.

This means that you need to place bets on horses that have better chances of success than the betting odds suggest.

It is not an easy thing to do, but nevertheless, it is the correct approach and the only way to make money on horses.

Researching The Jockey’s

A lot of punters do their research on horses, as they should. However, there is another important factor they often forget to consider, and that is the jockey.

Just like with Formula 1, it is not only about the car, it is also about who is behind the wheel. This is why you need to invest as much time researching the jockey’s as you do researching the horses.

Check their track record, whether they’ve been winning lately, how is their physical condition, whether they are in form or not, etc.

By researching both the horses and the jockeys you will create good fundamentals that will put you in front of all those horse punters that aren’t doing any heavy lifting.

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