Exacta Bet

Learn about how to use exacta bets in tote and parimutuel betting along with the best exacta betting systems.

Exacta bets are very appealing because they give punters an opportunity to make a huge amount of money from minimal stakes at horse racing and greyhound racing. The chances of winning an exacta bet are low but the opportunity for a large payout makes this particular type of bet stand out.

Throughout this exacta betting guide, we will go through the different types of exacta bets available and discuss if they represent good value. We also cover the most successful exacta betting systems.

What Is an Exacta Bet

An exacta bet, also known as an exactor or perfecta bet, is when you are betting on the first two positions in that race. In order to win an exacta bet the horses you have backed will need to finish in first and second, in the exact order.

Exacta Rules

The main rule of an exacta bet is that the horses backed have to finish in the top two positions in that exact order. If this doesn't happen the bet will not payout.

If the race in question has a non-runner the repercussions of this will depend on how many horses have been included in your bet. For Straight Exactas, a non-runner would deem your whole bet void.


Horse C and Horse D are the favorites for the 12:20 at Newcastle. Therefore we decide to place an exacta bet on these two horses. In this example, we have selected Horse C to win the race and Horse D to finish in 2nd.

For us to win this bet, Horse C would need to finish first and Horse D would need to finish in 2nd. Any result which is not this one will result in a losing bet.

Pros & Cons of Exacta Betting

Exacta bets in pool betting have multiple advantages:

  • The odds for these bets are high, making the payout potentially huge.
  • These bets have the lowest minimal stakes.
  • Ideal for races with a high number of runners.
  • Only need to be successful occasionally to return a profit.

Exacta bets have a few disadvantages:

  • It is very difficult to predict the precise outcome of a horse race.
  • Very likely to result in numerous unsuccessful bets.
  • Even with good strategy, this bet requires a huge amount of luck.

What Are The Best Exacta Betting Systems?

Predicting the first two runners in a race in exact order is extremely difficult. Therefore it will be useful to look at some tote exacta strategies to help increase our chances of winning.

Exacta Wheel Betting

An Exacta Wheel bet involves picking sets of horses to finish either in first or second position. This strategy improves the chances of your bet winning because with this bet you can select multiple horses to finish in each position.

This bet is particularly good for when you are selecting two horses that are judged as light outsiders.

Boxed Exacta Betting

An Exacta Box bet is very versatile. This type of bet allows for multiple bets to be placed on a single bet slip. This type of bet is best explained with an example.

We bet on Horse C and Horse F. We will receive a return on this bet if any of these horses finish in the top 2 positions in any order. Meaning that your bet will win if Horse C finishes first and horse F finishes second and vise versa.

This can be viewed as placing multiple exacta bets. It is possible to add a third horse to your bet slip but this will of course drive up the price of your original bet.

Tote Exacta Permutations

A key part of Tote betting is permutations. With tote betting, it is possible to place multiple bets within one overall bet. There are a few types of bets covered in this guide that will involve these permutations.

To use one example, if you are placing a boxed exacta on five horses this will actually consist of 120 different bets. Although in your bet slip this will be covered in one overall bet.

So if you were to place a $1 bet on this selection, the total amount of this bet would come to $120. So before placing any of these types of bets make sure that you are aware of how much you are staking in total.

Reverse Exacta Betting

Similar to a straight Exacta bet, a reverse exacta bet means that you will be betting on who will finish in the first two places in a horse race.

The main difference here though is that the horses backed do not need to finish in exact order. meaning that a Reverse exacta bet consists of two selections and two bets. Therefore a £1 reverse stake would come to a total of £2.

Quinella vs Exacta Bets

With both of these bets, you will be betting on both backed horses to finish in the top two positions. The major difference being that with an Exacta bet the horses will have to finish in the exact order you placed a bet on. While a Quinella bet requires the horses to finish in the top 2 in any order.

This means you will have more chance of winning a Quinella bet but you are more likely to get a bigger payout with exacta bets.


Our answers to some very common exacta-related questions.

How much do horse racing Exacta bets pay?

The payout of an exacta bet will be dependent on the size of the pool.

After all the money has been collected the money will then be dispersed equally amongst the people who have winning exacta bet tickets.

What is a straight Exacta bet?

A straight Exacta bet is the most straightforward type of exacta bet.

The idea is to place a bet on the top two runners in the race in that exact order. Therefore you can only win a straight exacta bet if the horse you backed to finish 1st does so and the same applies for the horse you backed to finish 2nd.

How are Exacta payouts and odds calculated?

With Exacta bets, you are placing money into a pool and the odds will be determined only after all the money has been collected.

The exacta dividends and payouts will be determined by how much money is in the pool.

Are boxed Exacta a good strategy?

Yes. Predicting the outcome of the first two positions in a horse race is a very difficult task. Therefore a boxed exacta strategy means that the horses backed don't need to finish in exact positions.

There is a little more flexibility. Because of this, there is more chance of success.

Are exacta boxes a smart betting system?

In truth, the likelihood of winning this type of bet is unlikely. Therefore it will be difficult to describe exacta box bets as a smart betting system.

It is best suited for people who want the chance to make huge money from a small stake.

An exacta bet with all of its different permutations might at first appear to be a little daunting but after a short amount of time, it will appear as easy as any other type of betting.

It is not easy to be successful with these types of bets as predicting an outcome this precise is extremely difficult. But when it comes off the rewards have the potential to be huge.