How to Bet Exactas And Exacta Box

How to Bet Exactas And Exacta Box

What is an Exacta and Exacta Box?

Perhaps the most basic and common of all exotic wagers at the racetrack, the exacta allows even the most modestly-funded players a chance to earn a larger return. The bet can also be viewed as an opportunity to maximize an opinion by pairing a confident pick with one, or multiple horses, thereby also increasing payouts. The object of the bet is simple: to select the top two finishers of a race in exact order. 

Betting a simple exacta box

Many beginning players discovering the exacta, find a two-horse exacta box a simple and appealing bet. The term “box” in exotic betting terms means that all possible combinations a player selects are covered. So, if a bettor thinks the 2-horse and 5-horse are most likely to run first and second, but isn’t sure which runner might finish first and which might run second, he can play an exacta box with the 2 and 5. Placing such a bet means that if the race finishes 2-5 or 5-2, the player holding a boxed ticket on those horses wins. At most racetracks an exacta is a minimum $1 base bet. This means that the total cost of the bet would be a whopping $2 to cover the combinations of 5/2 and 2/5 multiplied by a $1 base. If the player felt that the 5-horse was a cinch to win and thought the 2 was most likely to run second, he might save money by placing a “straight” exacta using just 5/2 for a single dollar. Of course, well-heeled exacta players often wager much higher base bets providing higher returns on winning tickets. The two-horse exacta box, while simple to execute, can still prove quite elusive to hit, making other exacta strategies more plausible. 

Betting a multi-horse box

Occassionally, it makes sense for an exacta player to box more than two horses. If odds are generous and a field is difficult to winnow down, a three-horse exacta box might make sense. In this type of wager a player is simply paying for an additional set of combinations. Using the example above, let's say that a bettor liked the 2 and 5, but also fancied the 8-horse. For the same $1 base bet, the player could box all three animals - 2, 5 and 8 - for $6, and hold a winning ticket if any of the three finished first or second. This means, the race could finish 2/5, 5/2, 2/8, 8/2, 5,8 or 8,5 - in essence six separate bets "boxed" on a single ticket. Rarely is it recommended to box more than three horses in an exacta unless odds are particularly generous, but for the sake of discussion a four-horse exacta box would double the cost to $12 on a $1 base. One way to conceive a three-horse exacta box is to use the favorite, with a middle-odds type of horse and one longshot.

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* REMINDER! - you must be of legal age in your state or province to legally wager on thoroughbred or harness horse racing. Please bet responsibly!