Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta Betting Basics

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Monday, September 28, 2020

Same race exotic bets are some of the most popular wagers after win/place/show. The most common same race bets are exactas (sometimes called perfectas), quinellas (not available everywhere), trifectas and superfectas. With same race exotic wagers, you are betting the order of finish in the race.


To win an exacta bet, you must pick the horses that finish first and second in exact order; hence, exacta. Exactas pay more than straight win bets but are more difficult to win. Online horse wagering sites and track tote boards usually show potential payouts for exacta combinations; so, you will have a sense of what the winning payout could be for every exacta combination for that race. 


A quinella is similar to an exacta. Again, you must pick the horses that finish first and second; however, the order of finish does not matter. For example, a quinella with the 1 and 3 horses would be a winner if the 1 wins and the 3 finishes second or if the 3 wins and the 1 finishes second. Quinella payouts are usually lower than exacta payouts because they are easier to hit without the exact order of finish requirement. For example, a 3 – 1 quinella will pay less than a 3 – 1 exacta. However, a 1 – 3 quinella is also a winner; whereas, at 1 – 3 would not be a winner if you did not bet it. 


You probably guessed it by now. A winning trifecta bet requires you to choose the horses that finish first, second and third in exact order. Unlike exactas, online wagering sites and track tote boards, potential payouts are not published. As such, it's a bit of a guessing game. As a rule of thumb, trifectas tend to pay somewhere between 2.5-and-4 times exacta payouts. For example, if the 1 – 3 exacta payout is $10, then a trifecta that starts with 1 and 3 should pay somewhere between $25 and $50. Of course, trifectas are more difficult to win than exactas and that's why they pay more.


The next in line, requiring you to pick the first four finishers in exact order. There are no rules of thumb that we are aware of for guesstimating potential winnings. Superfectas might be the most difficult of all horse racing wagers to hit and usually offer the biggest bang for your buck. 



Boxing allows you to pick multiple horses for exactas, trifectas and superfectas without placing them in specific order. For example, if you select horses 1, 2 and 3 for your exacta wager and bet an Exacta Box, it's a winner if any of the three finish first and any of the remaining two finish second. 


If you really like one horse (maybe two) in a race but are unsure about your other selections, then you might consider "wheeling" it in a trifecta or superfecta. For example, if you believe the 1 horse has an excellent chance of finishing in the top three, you could wheel it with a few other horses. A wheel puts the 1 horse in first place with the other selections in second and third place, puts the 1 horse in second place with the other selections in first and third, and puts the 1 horse in third with the other selections in first and second place. This way, if your wheel finishes in first, second or third and any of your other selections fill out the first three, you are a winner. 

If you are looking for professional picks with exotic wagers, Guaranteed Tip Sheet suggests exacta and trifecta bets for all races they handicap. 

Get today's full picks for all tracks and races at Guaranteed Tip Sheet.