Benter was struck by the similarities between Kelly’s hypothetical tip wire and his own prediction-generating software. They amounted to the same thing: a private system of odds that was slightly more accurate than the public odds. To simplify, imagine that the gambling public can bet on a given horse at a payout of 4 to 1. Benter’s model might show that the horse is more likely to win than those odds suggest—say, a chance of one in three. That means Benter can put less at risk and get the same return; a seemingly small edge can turn into a big profit. And the impact of bad luck can be diminished by betting thousands and thousands of times. Kelly’s equations, applied to the scale of betting made possible by computer modeling, seemed to guarantee success.
Horse racing is an equestrian performance sport, typically involving two or more horses ridden by jockeys (or sometimes driven without riders) over a set distance for competition. It is one of the most ancient of all sports, as its basic premise – to identify which of two or more horses is the fastest over a set course or distance – has been unchanged since at least classical antiquity.