Google autonomous horse wins Kentucky Derby

California Chrome, the entry of Google and named after the California-based Internet search giant's fast, sleek browser, decisively won the Kentucky Derby today, completing one and a quarter miles in 2:03.66. Technical details were not available at post time, but it is assumed that in lieu of a jockey, the autonomous horse carried a LIDAR sensor system with access to detailed compute-intensive cloud-resident 3-D maps of the Churchill Downs track, enabling it to win by one-and-three-quarter lengths in the 19-horse field.

Just kidding. In fact, as the Washington Post puts it, “In a game dominated by millionaires and billionaires, this was a victory for the little guys. Owners Perry Martin and Steve Coburn bred an $8,000 mare to a $2,500 stallion to win the world’s most famous race with their one-horse stable.”

Google, LIDAR, and virtual maps were not involved. Congratulations to the owners, trainer Art Sherman, and jockey Victor Espinoza.

The horse is not named after the Google browser; rather, the name was picked out of a hat from suggestions entered by the owners and their spouses. The chosen name, CNN reports, relates to white markings called chrome by horse-racing aficionados. Also according to CNN, California Chrome is the first California-trained horse to win the Derby since 1962.

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