Quinella betting is an intelligent choice among horse racing bettors as it gives you a good chance of payback with a relatively simple bet. You win your bet whenever you correctly predict the first two horses to finish in a race regardless of their exact order. 

This form of betting has a higher winning rate than exacta bets, where you will have to correctly predict both the order of the finish of the two horses you choose to reach the top 2 of the race. So it comes with less risk but still ensures that you will get a decent payback in any given race by predicting the horses that will finish first and second. If you want to dig deeper into what is a Quinella bet, today's article will cover all its aspects, including its definition, how the bet is placed, how the odds and payback work, and some strategies you can use to maximize the returns from your Quinella bets.

What is a Quinella Bet in Horse Racing

First, you need to know that there are two main types of bets in horse racing: straight bets and exotic bets. The first form is where you bet on only one horse in a race, with the best example being Win, Place, and Show bets. We have an article about this type of bet on our website for your reference if you want to know about it.

What Is Quinella Bets?
Source: Freepik

As for the second form, exotic bets allow you to bet on more than one horse on a track. As a result, they are more complex and have more variables that can impact the outcome of your bets. However, they do have potential paybacks as an undeniable advantage that high-rollers are keen to take advantage of to boost their prize pool. 

What we're analyzing today, the Quinella bet is a small piece of the so-called exotics. Theoretically, this form of bet requires you to correctly predict the first and second finishers in a particular race regardless of their exact order. 

For example, you place a Quinella bet on horses 5 and 7 to finish in the top 2. Then you will win your bet if one of the following two possibilities occurs: 5-7 and 7-5. 

However, the phrase "exact order" is one that you should keep in mind. Occasionally, a horse that finishes in the top 2 may have its results annulled by race officials because it committed a foul while competing with other horses. Therefore, the final result of the race, which will affect the outcome of your bets, is announced only after the referees have checked all potential illegal acts after the race is over. 

How to Make the Quinella Horse Racing Wager

Nowadays, most gamblers choose online gambling sites to make any kind of bet, and horse racing betting is no exception. If you are one of them, it is very simple and convenient to bet Quinella on the horse races that interest you. Your task is to search for the race you intend to bet on, then take turns to navigate, tick the options that suit your needs, to form a bet with the horses that you expect to finish before the other horses in the race. Of course, to do this, you need a reputable platform to play and fund your betting account first.  

In the event that you place a bet directly with the staff at a land-based horse racing facility, you will need to provide complete information about your bet ticket to avoid the staff mistaking your bet. Specifically, you need to determine the following factors before claiming your bet ticket clearly:

  • Name of the track you plan to bet
  • Number of the race on that track's program
  • Amount of money you want to bet
  • Type of bet you want to make
  • Number of the horse (or horses) included in the bet

Of the factors above, the last one is where players get confused the most. In fact, the horse is shown on the bet by its number rather than its name. So if you go to the dealer with the name of a particular horse, it will be difficult for them to determine which contestant you are betting on because there are so many horse races that take place every day at a facility. That's why a horse's race number is an important piece of information that needs to be conveyed correctly. 

How Quinella Payback Is Calculated

Unfortunately, the way bookmakers calculate odds for a horse race is unlike most sports, where fixed odds are announced early on, and players can estimate their paybacks by referring to the odds table. In horse racing, the form of odds calculation used is the pari-mutuel system. The odds for a particular horse then do not depend on the bookmaker's assessment but on the amount of stacks placed on that horse by other players. 

Basically, the sportsbook will first aggregate all the Quinella bets a player places on a particular race and a pool. From this pool, race officials will extract a small portion of their profits. The remaining amount will be split based on the amount placed for each possible Quinella betting combination, and that is how the odds for each particular Quinella bet are determined.

For example, after the bookie finishes taking out a small amount, the amount left in the pool is $1,000. Out of this $1,000, there is $20 that the player bets on combinations of 3-5. Then, by dividing $1,000 by $20, you will have 50 to 1 odds if you bet on this combination. Everything is as simple as that. 

What is the Difference between Quinella Bets vs Exacta Bets?

Many players often confuse these two types of bets. Even so, the difference between them is very recognizable. They both ask you to choose two horses that you think will finish the race in the top two places. However, the standard of Exacta bets is higher as you have to correctly predict the order of the finish of those two horses, and for Quinella bets, it is not necessary.

As such, the Quinella bet offers a double chance of winning where you can win the bet with two possibilities of two different pairs of positions on the two horses, while the Exacta bets will only pay you if the exact finish order of the two horses you predicted occurs. The argument in favor of Exacta bets, of course, is that the payouts for them are usually much higher than for Quinella bets. So, what is the best solution for you? It will depend on a self-assessment of your betting needs based on the following aspects:

Risks You Want to Accept

If you are a lover of wins and want to increase your profits slowly and safely with potential payouts, Quinella is a more affordable choice than Exacta. In a particular race, your probability of winning a Quinella bet is more than twice as high as if you had to correctly predict the order of the top two horses that the Exacta bet provides. 

The Prize You're Looking For

In terms of winnings, Exacta, of course, has a clear advantage over a Quinella bet with the same set of two horses. Essentially, a single Quinella ticket will represent two single bets for the two possibilities it comes with, which will reduce the size of your payback if you win. In other words, if you are looking for a big win to change the situation, Exacta bets will give you that opportunity. 

Your Self-Assessment

Both Quinella and Exacta bets have their advantages. Therefore, there is no one approach that is perfect for everyone, and it just depends on your analysis of opportunities. If you see the benefit of winning the bets of two horses in any order, you should opt for Quinella. On the contrary, if you think that the attractive payout that Exacta bet offers is worth its risk, you can pick this option to try your luck. 

Basic Betting Tips for Effective Quinella Wagering

Quinella betting is not limited to just the definition we talked about above. They are diverse and have many variations to help any bettor find a suitable option. Here, we will introduce you to the most basic strategies so that you can maximize the profits from your Quinella bets. 

Include More Horses

First, the Quinella bet is not necessarily only covered by two horses. You can increase the number of horses you bet on as much as you like if you think your chosen competitors will finish at the top of the race. However, be aware that this will increase the size of your bet and decrease the payouts. 

For example, in an eight-horse race, you believe that the two leading positions can only go to the pool of potential horses, including the 1st, 3rd, and 5th horse. Then, you can claim a Quinella bet for this set of three horses, and you will win if one of the following happens: 1-3, 1-5, 3-1, 3-5, 5-1, 5 -3. 

As you can see, your bet ticket includes 6 possibilities to help you win. With the minimum bet for a single bet of $2, you will need $12 ($2 times 6) to claim the Quinella bet on this set of 3 horses. That means a larger bet size for a smaller prize, but in return, your chances of winning will increase significantly.  

Eliminating Possibilities

To address the issue of the payout size being significantly reduced if you include multiple horses in your Quinella bet, you can become more assertive and eliminate horses that You are hesitant to focus on horses that you are convinced have a great chance of winning. That will help you maximize the return on your Quinella bet. Sometimes, recklessness can yield resounding victories.  

Play Favorites

This is a very clever Quinella game and is often used by experienced bettors to increase their winnings. The theory says that you trust a single horse on the track to get to the finish line first. However, instead of betting it to win, you would bet it to beat all the remaining horses. It sounds similar, but in reality, they are two independent situations with different natures. 

[UI:appBoxItem=For example, you choose horse 1 to win, but you decide to make a Quinella 7 bet with different combinations, which means it beats the remaining 7 horses in an 8-horse race. Then, the results that help you to win the bet include 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6, and 1-7. {Enter App ID...}]

Since it is a combination of 7 different possibilities, your minimum bet size will be $14 ($2 times 7). While your chances of winning are the same if you compare it to your bet of horse number 1 to win, the payout is much more impressive. So, the final decision is up to you. 


Today's article gave a brief introduction to Quinella bets and how they work in the world of horse racing betting. We hope that your understanding of it has improved after you have read this article and that you can use this type of betting expertly to increase your chances of winning in the future.

Published: 12 May 2022 10:08