A Quinella is similar to an Exacta, except for the fact that is does not matter what order your two horses come in, the payoff will be the same.
That differs from an Exacta box. If you like two horses and play an Exacta box and your first choice is a longshot and your other choice is a favorite, in most cases you will be rewarded more if your longshot wins the race.
For example, say a 15/1 longshot wins the race and the 2/1 favorite runs second. The Exacta might return $80. If the 2/1 favorite wins with the 15/1 longshot running second, the Exacta might pay around $45.
The Quinella would pay the same regardless of which of the two won the race.
Not all tracks offer Quinella wagering, but for those that do, you can generally see the probables on the toteboard or online.
It is a good idea to compare the odds to the Exacta probables, as you can sometimes find better value in one of the two pools.
If you are a big bettor, you might consider the Quinella the baby pool, as the betting pools generally are considerably smaller than the Exacta pools.
While it used to be cheaper to play the Quinella as many tracks had minimums on Exactas, that is no longer the case.
That makes the Quinella wager the dinosaur of the racetrack, but with those probables right there on the toteboard, perhaps you should not ignore the wager entirely.
Michael Dempsey on Quinella Wagering:
“What, is this 1973? The last time I played a Quinella I was wearing a leisure suit and white shoes. Actually, for those who like to watch the toteboard, you can occasionally find an overlay in the Quinella pool, so don’t dismiss the wager completely. But hum a good K.C. and the Sunshine Band song if you hit a good one.”