Bet Like A Pro – Tote Exacta (Part III)

Over the last three weeks we have examined the Tote Exacta and the strategies needed to be successful playing the bet in some detail. Today in the last installment we will look at the Tote Exacta Banker and look back at the lessons we have learned in the last three weeks.

Tote Exacta Banker

The Tote Exacta Banker is an under-utilized bet but it provides great opportunity to get an angle into a race where there might be one stand-out horse. In these cases where a win bet on the favourite maybe an unattractive option you can instead treat it as a banker to win and stack up on options for second place to get a potentially good return.

Here is an extreme example of this from the Curragh in October 2015;

Exacta Curragh

The Aidan O’Brien trained Black Sea (10/11) was definitely banker material after a highly promising debut as a fast finishing fourth at Gowran Park but outside of the favourite there wasn’t anything in the race to get too excited about.  If you wanted you could have covered the rest of the field for this race for just €15 and you would have made a handsome profit of €150.40 when outsider Red Rannagh (100/1) came second. But that isn’t the most efficient way to play and you are relying on an outsider to make it worthwhile.

Instead use the resources available to you with the projected Tote Exacta pay-outs and decide what combinations will be worth winning if you are going to take more than one option. In the case of the race above a €1 Tote Exacta on Black Sea with the field would have returned less than your outlay if the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or possibly 5th favourite had been second. Instead consider weighing your bets. Here is a simple example of how weighing your bets works;

  • A Tote Exacta of Black Sea (5/6) to beat Benny Paret (3/1) is forecast to pay €3.50.
  • A Tote Exacta of Black Sea (5/6) to beat Red Rennagh (100/1) is forecast to pay €165.40.

So a €5 Tote Exacta on Black Sea/Benny Paret and a €1 Tote Exacta on Black Sea/Red Rannagh would cost €6 and could return either €17.50 or €165.40 for a profit of €11.50 or €159.40 rather than €1.50 or €163.40. This is obviously a very simplified example and if you want to cover more of the field you will have to designate a weight to each of your selections but its point is to show a different approach to betting.


A more common example of how a Tote Exacta Banker bet can work is from another flat maiden in Leopardstown 2015;

exacta part 3 leop

Here The Crewmaster (4/6) was a red-hot favourite to back up his promising debut run at the Galway Festival and in truth there was no clear stand-out to take him on. Foolish (25/1) was one of three runners in the race for Godolphin, all of which were with different trainers and had two runs already to his name. There is every chance that he would have made your short list in the race considering his connections and you would have been thrilled with your return of €32.90.

In this race if you decided to cover five horses in a Tote Exacta with The Crewmaster as a banker to win your portfolio for the race could have looked something like this:

  • €5 The Crewmaster/ Griko (5/1) (Exacta showing €3.50 on screens)
  • €4 the Crewmaster/ Aared (6/1) (Exacta showing €5.00)
  • €2 The Crewmaster/ Catch Word (8/1) (Exacta showing €12.00)
  • €2 The Crewmaster/ Spiritual Man (16/1) (Exacta showing €19.00)
  • €1 The Crewmaster/ Foolish (25/1) (Exacta showing €32.90)

Your total spend for the race is €14 and if any of your selections come in you are turning a decent profit on the race.

You might still be sceptical about the approach of covering a number of runners in a Tote Exacta thinking that the large majority of the time the favourite will beat the second favourite for a small return. But what if I was to tell you that the average Tote Exacta return when an odds-on favourite won the race last year was €9.54? Sounds like a bet worth playing now.

This is the core concept we are trying to touch on throughout these articles; betting isn’t about finding winners it is about making profit. If this means that you cover most of the options and can still turn a profit then it is a far superior method than backing a single runner.


So after three articles on the Tote Exacta, what have we learned:

  • 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.
  • Use combination Tote Exacta in open large field races to give you a greater spread and a potentially bigger payout.
  • Do not put short priced favourites in Combination Tote Exactas. It isn’t worth it.
  • If there is one stand out horse in a race but not much strength behind it try using that horse as a Win Banker in a Tote Exacta and cover plenty of options with him.
  • Use the probable prices screen to decide how to weight your selections.


Using the approach outlined in these articles I will be posting the recommended Tote Exacta plays for Thurles tomorrow to see if we really can make money playing the Tote Exacta.

Also, stay tuned for the next in the series of Play Like A Pro next Wednesday 17th February.

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