Beginner’s Bet of the Week for Dec. 11: The Exacta

Gambling
Fans at Aqueduct enjoy a day of horse racing action. (Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing)

This week marks the latest installment of a new series on America’s Best Racing, the Beginner’s Bet of the Week, sponsored by NYRA Bets. Each week, this blog will explore a new type of bet by explaining exactly what it is, how best to use that bet, and by putting the wager into practice in a race.

All the best fall and winter horse racing awaits at tracks like Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park, Aqueduct and 300-plus tracks. With NYRA Bets, new users can enjoy a $200 Sign-Up Deposit Match Bonus anytime. Just use promo code ABR200 and get in the action today! And be sure to tune into “America’s Day at the Races” running on FS2 every afternoon this weekend.

We’ll focus on the exacta this week. The objective of the exacta is to pick the top two finishers in a race. The minimum wager on the exacta is $1. As noted above, exactas are extremely popular with bettors. On Saturday, Oct. 23, more than $2.2 million was wagered on the 10 exactas offered that day, representing 22.3% of wagering activity.

Exactas are tougher to hit than win, place, or show bets. It’s more difficult to pick the top two finishers in a race, as opposed to simply the top horse. However, with greater risk comes greater reward. On Oct. 23, the average $1 payoff on the exacta was $21.88, with a median return of $16.75.

Exactas can be played a multitude of ways. The simplest way is to play it “straight,” as in, one horse in first and one horse in second. For example, if you play a 1-2 straight exacta, that means that the #1 has to finish in first, and the #2 has to finish in second.

You can also “box” your numbers, albeit for a higher cost. If you play a 1-2 exacta box, that means the #1 and #2 can finish first or second in any order. A $1 exacta box has a total cost of $2. You can box multiple horses as well; a three-horse exacta box costs $6; a four-horse box $24.

Multiple horses can be used in different spots in an exacta. This is what’s known as a “part wheel”. Let’s say, for example, that you really like the #1 horse, and think the #2, #3, and #4 all have a good chance to finish second. You can play an exacta with the #1 in first, and the #2, #3, and #4 all in second. That play would cost a total of $3 (1 X 3).


Saturday’s Aqueduct Exacta Bet

Race 4 at Aqueduct on Saturday is a starter allowance race at 6 ½ furlongs on dirt, featuring a field of 12. I’ll play an exacta wheel, keying my top pick in the first spot and using some other horses in the second spot.

My top pick is #10 Trash Talker. He won a non-winners of two claiming race impressively at Belmont Park last out, setting the pace and drawing off to win by 3 ½ lengths. He ran a career-top speed figure on the Brisnet scale with a 98. He was claimed out of that race by Rob Atras, who is very sharp with recent claims. The post position isn’t ideal, but he’s got lots of early speed and will be tough to catch if he can clear.

Underneath, I’ll use two betting interests. #1 Rudy Rod and #1A Bezos are both owned and trained by Linda Rice, so they’ll race as one betting interest. If you bet one, you automatically get the other as well. Rice claimed both of them out of their last starts. Rudy Rod recovered nicely from a bad start to win going away last out and should pack a strong closing punch. Bezos set a very fast pace at Churchill in his last race and stopped. He showed promise earlier in the year, and may contend if he can rate his speed a bit better. #7 Twelfth Man had a wide trip and flattened out last out. He’s now racing in his third start off the layoff and has shown good closing speed in the past. He should bounce back if he can save more ground.

To win this bet, #10 has to win, and #1, #1A, or #7 have to come in second. If you want to place this bet with a teller, say “Aqueduct, Race 4, $1 exacta, #10 with #1, #7”. On an ADW, click the #10 box in the first column, and #1 and #7 in the second column.

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