What is an Exacta Bet in Horse Racing?

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An exacta, sometimes called an exactor, is a wager that requires the bettor to correctly predict the winner and the second-place finisher of a particular race — in exact order. Variations of this bet include an exacta box, an exacta key and an exacta key box.
 
What is an exacta box?
 
An exacta box is a wager whereby the bettor plays a number of horses to finish either first or second. The cost of the ticket is determined by the base bet amount and the number of combinations. For example, a $1 exacta box with three horses would cost $6 ($1 x 3 possible winners x 2 possible second-place finishers).  
 
What is an exacta key?
 
With an exacta key — or exacta key wheel — a bettor uses one horse in the win position (“on top”) and numerous others in the place slot (“underneath”). The cost of the ticket is based on the base bet and the number of horses used underneath. Hence, a $1 exacta key with three horses underneath would cost $3.
 
What is an exacta key box?
 
This bet is very similar to an exacta key, except that the key horse can finish either first or second — as long as at least one of the other contenders on the ticket wins or places. For example an exacta key box of 1 with 2, 3 would pay off on the following combinations: 1-2, 1-3, 2-1, 3-1.

Again, the cost of this wager is determined by the number of combinations — all the non-keyed horses multiplied by two — times the base bet. So, a $1 exacta key box of 1-2,3,4 would cost $6 ($1 x 3 x 2).

 

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