What Is the Difference Between a Quinella vs. Exacta Box? [Full Explanation]

Among the countless number of activities one can pursue at this time of the
year is going to the horse track. Whether you know nothing about horse
racing or are an accomplished bettor, there are few things more relaxing
and fun than spending a day at the track.

One aspect that novice bettors often have a problem determining is some of
the various betting terms that make them uncomfortable when going to the
window to place a bet. Let’s look at a couple of those terms that can
enhance your time at the horse track.

What is an Exacta Bet?

When you go to place a wager at the window or through a machine, an Exacta
Bet is when you pick choose two horses and they have to finish in the exact
order of your choice. For example, you like the No. 1 and No. 2 horses in
the order, you would bet a 1-2 Exacta.

What is a Quinella Bet?

A quinella wager would be similar but offers you greater flexibility to
win. If one thought the No. 1 and No. 2 horses were the best in the field
by far, yet their abilities were almost the same, a quinella bet provides a
safeguard. When you went to the window, you would say, for example, “$2
quinella on the No. 1 and No. 2 horses.”

This gives give two chances to win with this pairing, either 1-2 or 2-1 at
the finish line. Though not true in every instance, a quinella payout is
typically less than an exacta (essentially because you have two bets vs.
one for the same price). However, you have two opportunities to win versus

It should know that not every race track offers quinellas; that is why it
is always wise to pick up the program and learn all the offerings.

Understanding The Key Differences Between a Quinella and Exacta Box

An exacta box and quinella are similar, but definitely not the same. When
you ‘box’ a bet, this provides more than one option or way to win. However,
there is a cost to this method compared to a quinella.

Going back to the Nos. 1 and 2, we have two bets for one price with a
quinella. When we box an exacta, this is what we will have.

$2 bet on 1 and 2

$2 bet on 2 and 1

See the difference, when boxing a bet, you are creating more favorable
options, but it costs you $4, not $2.

In the United States, we have pari-mutuel betting compared to fixed odds in
many places in the rest of the world (that’s a whole different article).
Often, winning an exacta box bet pays out a smaller part of the betting
pool compared to a straight exacta wager because the track takes a portion
of two bets in the ‘box’ compared to one. Nonetheless, depending on the
rules set by any state and racing commission, an exacta box winning ticket
will pay out more than the same winning ticket for a quinella.

An Exacta Box is Not Always the Right Choice vs. a Quinella

For the more accomplished horse player or those who want to further their
education on the ponies, a quinella can offer advantages.

Let’s say the two horses you liked in the race were the favorite (2-1 odds)
and the third choice by odds (7-1). For whatever reason, you preferred the
horse at longer odds to win. No question the exacta is the better play,
paying out roughly 30 percent more. Yet, if used a $5 Exacta Box (two $5
bets) versus a $10 quinella wager and the same 7-1 horse won and the
favorite came in second place, the quinella would pay out approximately 15
to 20 percent more.

The most important aspect at any day at the race track is to have fun, but
if you can place the odds in your favor, all the better.

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