Bet Like A Pro – Straight Tote Exacta

Want to make more money betting on horses? Then play smart and learn to play like the professionals. This is a series of articles designed to help you get the most from your Tote betting. Why should you listen to a bookmaker? Tote isn’t a traditional bookmaker; it is a pool betting company which means that no matter the result or the number of winning bets our take is the same, so it is in our interest that you make money and get the most out of our products. 

In the first of the series we will look at the Straight Tote Exacta bet.  At a basic level it is a simple bet, pick the horses that will come first and second in the correct order but the key to playing it efficiently is to have a deeper understanding of when to play it.

A Straight Tote Exacta should be used if you are confident of the supremacy of your first named horse over your second selected horse and of the pair’s supremacy over the rest of the field. This may sound like a rare occurrence, but it can happen regularly in bumpers or maiden races. When these circumstances arise a Straight Tote Exacta is a bet that really should be replacing a traditional win bet.

Here is a good example from Leopardstown at Christmas 2015;

Leopardstown Result

This was an 18 runner juvenile maiden hurdle where Let’s Dance (4/7) and Ivanovich Gorbatov (10/3) were a clear standout pair. On the day, there was plenty of chat about the chances of Ivanovich Gorbatov (currently favourite for the Triumph Hurdle) that could easily have you expecting him to win. If this was the case you could have backed him to win and you would have got a return of €4.30. However, if you looked at the race again you would see that Let’s Dance was by far the most likely horse to come second if Ivanovich Gorbatov were to win. So instead of a win bet you play a Straight Tote Exacta on 8 to beat 18 and instead of a €4.30 return you get €8.60. To put that in context, it is double the pay-out for figuring out that the 4/7 favourite in an 18 runner race was most likely to come second to your selection.

Here another example from a Fairyhouse bumper in January 2016;

Fairyhouse result

Sutton Place (4/9) was backed as if defeat was out of the question, but backing horses at long odds-on isn’t an appealing option to most. However, if you had decided that Sutton Place was going to win (which he did easily) your best option would be to try and find the horse to follow him home. In this case Greco Romain (11/4) was by far the most obvious contender with the others in the race priced at 10/1 or bigger. Greco Romain, as could have been expected, was comfortably  second best in the race and the Tote Exacta paid €2.40.

Neither of these examples are out of the ordinary, nor do they boast life changing pay-outs. But both illustrate how selection of bet type should be as important as selecting horses. They didn’t require anything more than a basic knowledge of form but show that choosing the correct bet for the circumstances can quickly increase your profit.


  • Finding the winner isn’t the sole purpose of gambling, making profit is. So think twice before rushing into a win bet and ask if there is more value to be had by taking another angle.
  • In races where a pair are clearly better than the rest, but you fancy one in particular to win consider a Straight Tote Exacta to enhance your profit.


Did you know?

Tote Exacta paid on average 22% better than CSF in 2015. 

As always I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments so feel free to leave them in the box below.

The second part of the ‘Bet Like A Pro’ series will be available on Wednesday 3rd February.

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