Why Exacta Box Tourneys Can Be the Most Fun and Most Rewarding

We are proud at HorseTourneys to be the only tournament site out there offering exacta box contests. Our strong and avid customer base gives us the confidence to experiment a bit in creating new formats that we believe at least a portion of our players will like. And our very capable and nimble Technical Department is fine with utilizing multiple page layouts and mechanics from tourney to tourney. strives not to be a one-size-fits-all Website.

For those who haven’t tried one yet, the rules are very simple and intuitive. Instead of picking one horse per race for a mythical $2.00 win and place bet, you pick a three-horse exacta box. If you win, your score is credited with the full return on a $1.00 exacta box play. There is no price cap on exacta payoffs, and players have the option of selecting an alternate horse to be used in case one of the three main horses in your selection winds up being a late scratch. If a player doesn’t specify an alternate in a race in which one of his three horses is replaced, he is assigned the post time favorite to replace the scratched horse. (Or the second-favorite, if the post-time favorite was already among his original three in the exacta box.)

One of the most obvious appeals to exacta box contests is the ability to spread a bit. You don’t have to take a stand with a longshot — or with a short-priced favorite. You can use them both (plus one other) and still have a shot at a very nice payoff if you’re right. And this is where strategy comes in. Is this a race that looks like it can be locked up by using the first three choices? Is the favorite formidable but attempting to separate the rest of the field gives you a headache? Or does it shape up as an absolute chaos race that would have 10 different winners if it were run 10 different times?

These questions are part of what makes exacta box tourneys so much fun. But I touched on another reason earlier in this blog: No cap!

Do you see a 45-1 shot that you think is completely live? You can use him and get 100% full value on your contest score if he makes the exacta. No haircuts!

Of course, your strategy or approach can (and probably should) change somewhat from one exacta box tourney to another depending on whether you are playing a winner-take-all game, a 50-player game paying out to the top five finishers, or one of our many head-to-head games. (And all of the above come in both Live and Pick & Pray formats.)

Boxing the top three choices in every race probably won’t win you many 50-person tourneys. But it could be an effective strategy in a head-to-head in the hopes that your opponent’s more daring picks will give him just enough rope with which to hang himself. (Whether playing $2.00 win/place or the exacta box format, it is a fact of head-to-head life that you don’t have to necessarily be good…you just need to be less bad!)

If you haven’t tried an exacta box tournament yet, I heartily encourage you to play in one of our $8 games and dip your toe into the water. You might find that you really like it. Or you might hit upon a strategy that works really well for you and could make you dangerous in higher-stakes tourneys. Sometimes the biggest edges are to be had in games that haven’t quite found their way to the masses yet.

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And even if you abhor the concept of exactas and think that all racetracks should go back to the 1940s when all you could play were win, place and show and the daily double (just one daily double, of course, on races 1 and 2…hence the adjective “daily”), I still think you should consider playing our $42 exacta box game on Saturdays. Why? The $2,000 purse for those are guaranteed and they don’t often sellout. The last two have run with player overlays of 25% (two weeks ago) and 20% (last week).

You’re not going to find better value than that anywhere. And you’ll only find exacta box contests right here at HorseTourneys.