When an AI-powered “swarm” correctly predicted the order of the top four finishers in last year’s Kentucky Derby, the surprising story got picked up around the world.
For the 2017 Derby, artificial intelligence learned the same lesson that has been beating up dyed-in-the-wool handicappers for over a century: horse racing is the most unpredictable sport on the planet, and the Kentucky Derby is the most unpredictable race in the sport. That’s what makes it so exciting.
This year’s swarm only predicted two of the four top finishers—Always Dreaming and Classic Empire—and it had the pair in the wrong order. The swarm picked Always Dreaming fourth while the colt ended up controlling the race and winning easily. Classic Empire was the disputed top selection of the swarm but he barely nabbed fourth in the race on Saturday.