What Is An Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta In Horse Racing Betting?

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Written By Eli Hershkovich | Last Updated
horse racing betting

Horse racing betting for Triple Crown events is among the calendar year’s most popular sports wagering events. Many people like to place exotic wagers because they pay out more, but what are these types of bets in horse racing betting? Let’s explore the purpose of the exacta, trifecta, and superfecta and how to approach them for Preakness odds on the third Saturday in May.

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What Are Exotics In Horse Racing Betting?

Whether you’re a casual or avid horse racing bettor, you may consider adding exotics to your betting card. These wagers are a bit more intricate than the standard Win (first place), Place (second place), and Show (third place) bets.

In general, exotics are available for single races and multiple races. The single-race exotics are the most well-known and are listed below:

  • Exacta: pick the first-place and second-place finishers in order
  • Trifecta: pick the first-place, second-place, and third-place finishers in order
  • Superfecta: pick the first-place, second-place, third-place, and fourth-place finishers in order

Moreover, these three exotics in horse racing betting are similar to same-game parlays for other sports. They involve more than a Win, Place, or Show wager on a single horse. These bets pay more but may cost more to place.

Due to construction, this year’s Triple Crown will look a little different. The Belmont goes off at Saratoga Race Course, one and a quarter miles shorter than the Belmont Park venue.

Straight Or Box Wager

Some bettors place straight exotic bets, insinuating that each horse must finish in the selected place. Bettors can choose to “box” the horses. For example, if you bet an exacta box, your horses can finish in any order, as long as you have the first and second-place finishers. The more horses you add, the more your ticket will cost.

Here’s a trifecta box example. A bettor can bet the “1”, “2” and “4” horses to finish first, second and third, respectively. Each horse must finish in the specific position for the bet to win (1-2-4). If they finish 2-4-1, you lose, unless you boxed the wager.

Boxing horses is simple. If you are betting at the track, tell the window you want an exacta box, trifecta box, or superfecta box.

You may also add different numbers of horses to each finishing position. Nothing stops you from having one horse in the first, three in the second, and five in the third-place position. Whether using machines at the track or horse-race betting apps, betting apps will automatically calculate the ticket cost.

Moreover, bettors can play around with combinations and see the ticket price. Horse racing calculators also help with this. But once again, more horses involved with each exotic bet will make each wager more expensive.

Related: Join TheLines.com’s free Discord betting channel for our staff’s Preakness Stakes picks!

What’s The Catch?

Payouts for exotic bets can be large, particularly for the Kentucky Derby, which has 20 horses in the field. Each exotic betting pool is built differently based on the money initially wagered.

The winnings are ponied up by utilizing the total amount wagered in the pool and subtracting the track takeout. Then, divide the remainder of the money by the number of winning tickets. The higher the odds of the horses in your winning exotics ticket, the higher the payout.

Beware, though, because the lower the odds of the horses in your ticket, the lower the payout. Thus, it’s possible to have a winning ticket with too many horses payout less than the amount you paid for the ticket.

Projecting the exact price is seemingly impossible, but multiplying the odds of the horses on your slip is a reasonable estimate. For exact odds, horse racing tracks and apps provide “will-pay” tables on their screens for exactas, trifectas, and superfectas.

You can be sure money is dished out when at least one of the horses has longer odds in the winning exacta, trifecta, or superfecta.

Essentially, the payout is greater if a longshot horse is included and delivers a fine result. Hence, there are fewer winners on exotic bets, and each winning exotic will pay out more to the winners.

2024 Preakness stakes

Post PositionHorseMorning-Line OddsTrainerJockey
1.Mugatu20-1Jeff EnglerJoe Bravo
2.Uncle Heavy20-1Butch Reid Jr.Irad Ortiz Jr.
3.Catching Freedom6-1Brad CoxFlavien Prat
4.MuthSCRBob BaffertJuan Hernandez
5.Mystik Dan5-2Kenny McPeekBrian Hernandez Jr.
6.Seize the Gray15-1D. Wayne LukasJaime Torres
7. Just Steel15-1D. Wayne LukasJoel Rosario
8.Tuscan Gold8-1Chad BrownTyler Gaffalione
9.Imagination6-1Bob BaffertFrankie Dettori

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