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With this bet you must pick the first two finishing horses in the order of their finish. In other words, you must pick the horse that wins and the horse that finishes second.
A "box" on two or more horses in a race means taking all the possible combinations of those horses in each place of finish. If you have determined that two horses are the best in the race but you are not sure which one will win and which one will finish second, then the safest bet is to do the exacta box. You can box more than two horses, but it is very important to remember that with each additional horse you add to the box that the cost of the wager goes up substantially.
The formula for calculating the cost of an exacta box is (horses in box x (horses in box minus 1) x dollar amount of bet). A $2 box of two horses would be (2 x 1 x 2) = $4. A $2 box of three horses would be (3 x 2 x 2) = $12. A $2 box of four horses would be (4 x 3 x 2) = $24. As you can see the cost of the exacta box increases greatly with each additional horse. Also remember that you can wager a $1 exacta box. This reduces the amount of your wager by 50% but also reduces your earnings by 50%.
Exacta Wheels / perfecta wheels
If you are confident in a horse winning a race, but may have several choices as to the second place finisher, you may elect to do an exacta wheel. If for example, you think the #4 horse is going to win and either the #2, #5, #7, or #10 horse will finish second, you could place the following wager: ($2 exacta wheel the 4 WITH the 2, 5, 7, 10). Following the same formula for calculating the cost of the exacta wager as above we have (1 x 4 x 2) = $8. So it will cost you $8 to do an exacta wheel with one horse to win and any one of four horses to finish second.
Another point to note is that some horses do not like to win. They allow other horses to pass them without making an extra effort to win the race. This can easily be determined by simply looking at their past performances. If for example, their racing record indicates that they have won one race and have finished second six times, you may want to place multiple horses in the win column and this "seconditis" horse in the place column. The previous wager might be ($2 Exacta Wheel the 2, 5, 7, 10 WITH the 4).
The best way to bet exactas are to box combinations. Boxing combinations is not only simple but increases your odds at having a winning ticket. We will use $1.00 examples.
Example: $1.00 exacta box #1, #2, #3 cost $6.00. With this wager any 3 of these horses must finish 1st and 2nd.
Example: $1.00 exacta box #1, #2, #3, #4 cost $12.00. With this wager any 4 of these horse must finish 1st and 2nd.
Tip: not many people will bet an exacta this way but in certain races it will increase your odds significantly. Example in a race with more than 8 horses, more money is bet into the pools. Believe it or not you can make a considerable amount of return on this type of wager.
If you think a horse is going to win, the way to play your exacta would be, Example: $1.00 exacta key #1 with / # 2, #3, #4 cost $3.00.With this type of wager the #1 must win. The #2,# 3,or #4 must finish second.
Another way to play would be if you think a horse is going to
win and you do not know who will finish second, $1.00 exacta: #1
with / all cost $7.00 (based on 8 horses in a race.) The #1 must
win, and any other horse in the race must finish 2nd. This would
be a way to play a back up ticket, Example $1.00 exacta key #2, #3,
#4 with/ #1 cost $3.00. With this type of wager the #2, #3, or #
4 must win, the #1 must finish 2nd.
If you are undecided on a couple of horses another example would be $1.00 exacta wheel: #1,#2 with / #1,#2,#3 cost $4.00 with this type of wager #1 or #2 must win and either #1,#2, or #3 must finish 2nd.
Tip: Any serious bettor bets back up tickets. If the main ticket does not win it is possible the back up ticket will cover some if not the entire initial loss.
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