Tech startup uses AI to correctly predict Kentucky Derby exacta

With its ability to crunch massive data and make predictions, it was only a matter of time before artificial intelligence (AI) was going to be applied to gambling, if it had not already done so.

It wouldn’t be surprising if people have already been using the technology for such application on the quiet so that they can reap their rewards.

AI Certain has announced that it has correctly predicted this year’s winning exacta pick at the Kentucky Derby using its new, patent-pending AI technology.

The AI narrowed the field of 20 horses down to just two – Justify and Good Magic – and its deep learning neural network system predicted how close the race would be with win-odds separated by only one percent.

The AI’s top exacta prediction paid out at US$69.60 on a US$2 bet.

The Vermont-based company, founded in January by father-son duo Tim and Nate Kenney, launched AI Horse Racing last month.

“We were really excited as we watched and saw that the AI had correctly predicted the exacta for the race,” Nate said.

AI Horse Racing’s deep learning neural networks use hundreds of data elements about each horse, jockey and trainer, along with specific information about the race, to predict the likely finishing position of every horse.

The system produces a forecast called AI Fair Odds that includes odds for first, second, third, fourth, place, show and top exacta and trifecta picks.

The win odds are calibrated to within a 0.5 percent accuracy by analysing thousands of past races. The odds for major tracks and most small venues in North America are posted every day for free at

AI Certain also uses the technology to create AI narrated videos which are posted on itsYouTube channel.

“We train the neural networks with tens of thousands of real races. The neural networks learn by seeing real-world results from past events. Training involves quadrillions of calculations for the networks to learn how to predict the races,” said Tim.

The company aims to give players an accurate forecast on the race, allowing them to make smart choices at whatever risk factor they are comfortable with.

“No system can call every race correctly every time. There will always be randomness involved when it comes to horses, so the goal is to reduce that uncertainty,” said Nate.

“We don’t tell people how to bet, we just give them the probabilities to do it better. Wagering involves a mix of prediction, final odds and risk management. Some players are more comfortable with a lower-risk 60 percent place or show prediction with a low payout, while some want the thrill of a long-shot overlay that becomes available minutes before the bell. The goal is to provide information to both types of players,” he added.

Tim pointed out that his tech friends wanted to know how it works.

“A 20-horse race can have a finishing order of more than 2.4 x 1018 combinations. That’s quintillions of possibilities. I’m always careful how I answer because we are protecting our intellectual property.  We’ve put two years of research into this AI with statistical modeling,” he said.

The technology has applications to other sporting areas as well as financial markets, healthcare and business. The system can look at N-dimensional data from very diverse sources – even ones that may be missing data. The training of the neural networks takes some serious computational power and time.

“What’s astonishing is that the predictions for a new scenario are ready in seconds. Our predictions are generally more accurate than other methods because they include such a wide field of information,” said Tim.

“We knew the technology had many applications. While we do find profitable wagers, like the one we placed on the Kentucky Derby, we realise there is more to be gained in becoming a hub for sports prediction. We are focused on rolling this idea into many other market opportunities,” he added.