Using Excel to pick the Triple Crown

While many people look at the May as the unofficial start of summer, others celebrate it because it is the beginning of the biggest horse racing season of the year. The first Saturday in May is the Kentucky Derby, followed by the Preakness two weeks later and the Belmont Stakes, in early June. These are the three races that make up the Triple Crown, a prestigious award that has not been given out since a horse named Affirmed won all three in 1978.

These events are often accompanied by large parties, floppy hats, seersucker suits and betting. Betting can be taken so seriously that some people are turning to Microsoft Excel as a tool for finding the winners.

An article from Business Insider by Jim Edwards goes through a specially designed spreadsheet he created to improve the odds of winning money. Specifically using the Kentucky Derby, this involves thinking of the race as a portfolio and placing smart bets. Using Excel, he listed all the horses, their odds of winning and the payout. Then, the goal is to determine what the cost of placing a $10 bet on all the horses is ($190 for the Derby). Once that is known, you determine which horses you can place a $10 bet on that has a payout more than the total of betting on all the horses.

There are nine horses that fit that bill and one of them, Commanding Curve, came in second for a nice payout.

This is just a small way that Excel can be used to gather information. With the help of an Excel consulting any business can create a custom spreadsheet to improve company decision making.