As rights holders find new ways to leverage the data being collected about their sports, official horse racing information supplier Equibase has partnered with AI provider Pramana Labs to get more out of its trough of past results.
This Triple Crown season, the two sides are using Pramana’s natural language querying tool, SHIFT, to generate insights about horses, trainers and jockeys with plans to eventually let bettors around the country dig into the data in search of an edge.
“The past performances, if you’ve ever looked at them, look like hieroglyphics to a lot of people,” Pramana CEO Corey Patton said. “What we do is make sense of that.”
For instance, after Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby as an 80-1 longshot, Equibase was able to quickly compare the victory to other surprises at the track, with that trainer, for that distance, and so on.
Patton said his background in horse racing started by working for Merv Griffin, the talk show host and producer who also kept 50 thoroughbreds at a La Quinta, Calif., ranch. Patton ended up joining a few others in buying and selling horses himself.
“My deep interest in horse racing led me to believe that there was an applicable use case for SHIFT on top of what is I think maybe one of the largest, hardest, most comprehensive statistical sports there are out there,” he said.
Pramana has previously worked with the NHL to surface noteworthy nuggets and is also expanding beyond sports into industries like finance and pharmaceuticals.
Equibase president Sal Sinatra said the company is looking to create products that would not only appeal to hardcore bettors but also help attract fans of other sports. Its database includes results from every American race stretching back to 1991, when it was formed in a partnership between racetracks (under the Thoroughbred Racing Associations of North America) and The Jockey Club.
“It’s very difficult giving someone a racing form,” Sinatra said. “It’s like, here’s The Wall Street Journal–buy a stock. It’s very intimidating.” Simpler narratives could convince newbies to feel more confident about backing a horse.
“With sports wagering out there, we’ve just got to be not left behind,” Sinatra added. “If we’re just sitting there with a string of data that people really can’t understand who haven’t been in the sport all their life, that’s putting us at a disadvantage.”
The wise bettors of the future, then, might not give the right answers. They might simply pose the right questions.