Season 11’s Foal’s Day introduced over 4,000 new thoroughbreds into the Photo Finish™ world, but none with more fanfare than that of a new legend – Exoticus, the first-ever SS-horse.
Behind the historic achievement is the team at Blue Elder Racing. We recently had a chance to catch up with them and chat to understand their reaction to being at the center of this monumental moment in Photo Finish™ history and their plans for the horse.
A quick history lesson for those of you new to Photo Finish™. In PFL, horses are graded based on genetics, with D as the lowest grade and SSS as the highest, and each grade is subdivided into S-, S, and S+.
It’s taken players over six months to push upwards from S+ to the new first-ever SS- in Exoticus. So it’s anyone’s guess how long it will be before Foal’s Day reveals include SS, SS+, SSS-, or SSS.
Over 23,000 horses in the game. Only one SS- in the group. A literal, 1 of 1.
And to be clear, the slow progression to the top of the racehorse gene pool isn’t by chance. It’s the plan.
While horses must retire to breed and age out of the ecosystem after 25 seasons, new, more powerful horses are also on the way.
Unwrapping a new foal on Foal’s Day is like breaking a pack of cards; only what you find inside results from your actions and breeding barn strategy.
Still, no one could have reasonably expected to find a horse that was the first-ever of its kind waiting for them on the other side of the reveal. Not even Blue Elder Racing, who at the moment could only say what most of us were thinking — holy shit, look at this.
“I was pumped, I won’t lie. I was jumping up and down, and so was my 1-year-old son in reaction to me,” Blue Elder Racing shared, adding his team had the possibility of breeding an SS- on their radar, but not this season.
“We knew there was a chance we could breed an SS-, but our goal had always been Season 15.”
For those new to Photo Finish™ LIVE, the breeding of Exoticus marks a significant milestone for both the player base and the game’s creators for more reasons than one.
Most importantly, Exoticus shows breeding is going accordingly as gene pools progress upward and downward, evidenced by the first C+ horses also showing up this week.
Overall, it’s a jolt to the system and a feather in the cap when pointing to one long essential claim — the best horses in Photo Finish™ are not yet born, and anyone can own them with a little effort and strategy.
“Exoticus shows that the best horses are yet to be bred,” Blue Elder Racing agrees, “You can move up in the game if you so choose. It might take time, but you can do it,”
All good things come to those who wait, but in Photo Finish™ on Foal’s Day, they routinely come to those with a sound breeding barn strategy.
Blue Elder Racing shared theirs behind breeding Exoticus, which was meticulous.
“We plan our breeding through four generations back – mainly to avoid inbreeding – and sometimes we pair horses that will make people scratch their heads, but it is because of a larger plan that we are working on,” Blue Elder Racing shared.
“With Exoticus in particular, we knew both parents had 2 SS- stats, with one set stacked at Heart and each had one at start/speed, respectively.
“We knew with the right roll, we could pull from those to get a very nice roll.”
To Race or Breed
To race or breed – that is always the one-million-dollar, judging from past seasons, literal, Photo Finish™ question.
The decision between focusing on racing Exoticus or breeding him is still up in the air.
“Breeding is my gut reaction,” Blue Elder Racing says.
“However, if he is a great racer, we will most likely have to race at least his Age 3 season,” adding money and the market talks.
“Pot sizes and the market for breeding covers will factor into that decision, though.
The question everyone has been asking since Exoticus was born is the most obvious: what is this horse worth to other players? With the current record horse sale at $50,000, many believe the floor for Exotics could be much higher. Much higher.
“I have had numerous owners say he is worth $250,000,”
“One person even reached out to me and said Exoticus might be the first million-dollar horse.”
Negotiation tactic or not — Blue Elder Racing says don’t expect to see Exoticus on the Marketplace page anytime soon. They plan to keep the rarest horse of them all in-house in hopes of creating new bloodlines that stay a step ahead of the competition.
“Honestly, I think someone would have to offer a very large number for us to even think about selling him – the prestige of having the only SS- is hard to put value on.”