Computer: American Pharoah will win the Triple Crown

Yahoo Sports

The nation wants American Pharoah to win Saturday's Belmont Stakes and become the first horse to capture the Triple Crown since 1978. Turns out a computer analysis predicts it will happen.

Breaking down the race using a bevy of factors – the length of the race, trainers, jockeys – Predicteform.com's model shows American Pharoah is "the clear favorite, just over 50 percent likely to win the race," Paul Bessire, the site's general manager, told Yahoo Sports.

American Pharoah exercises at Belmont Park on Thursday. (AP)
American Pharoah exercises at Belmont Park on Thursday. (AP)

"The only legitimate contenders are Madefromlucky, Frosted and Materiality," Bessire said. "The other four horses are projected to be at least six lengths off the lead. Based on current betting odds, Madefromlucky is the only horse with decent win bet value.

"… With a smaller field and only half of that field competitive, we do not expect quite the excitement of recent years down the stretch, but that is actually good for a chance at a Triple Crown."

Pre-race odds put American Pharoah as the 3-5 favorite, with Frosted at 5-1, Materiality at 6-1 and Madefromlucky at 12-1.

Analytics have taken over sports, a reliance on data and performance that was made popular in the movie "Moneyball" about Billy Beane's construction of the successful Oakland A's on a shoestring budget. But analytics are growing in all sports, and horse racing is no different.

In fact, horse racing might be at the forefront of such movements, given how the sport is bolstered by the gaming industry. Predicteform.com specializes in breaking down races to predict outcomes. It's the edge that the savvy track participant might just need to nab that trifecta, and for a graded stakes like Saturday's race at Belmont, the site goes into overdrive to break down the races.

"The most important thing is to look at every horse in an apples-to-apples manner," Bessire explained. "With the amount of data we have available today, it's not too difficult to remove the bias in the numbers caused by tracks, conditions, length of race, competition, class and time off.

"From that point, we focus on how a horse allocates his energy throughout the race, specifically honing in on the relationship between his first half mile and the latter part of the race. This helps to tell us how horses may improve or regress going into their next race."

That's all nice and great analysis but does it actually work?

Last year, Predicteform.com predicted (correctly) that California Chrome would win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, setting up a Triple Crown bid at last summer's Belmont. Then the website predicted that Tonalist would take the final jewel in the Triple Crown, which is exactly what happened.

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Kristian Dyer is a contributor to Yahoo! Sports and can be followed on Twitter @KristianRDyer. He also can be emailed at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com.

 

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