Race Math UPDATE


If horses are the face of Photo Finish™ LIVE, and $DERBY is the blood, the math behind the outcome is the heartbeat pumping the system and keeping everything healthy. The schedule is the lungs, the servers are the pancreas…eh sorry, let’s not get carried away.

Over the span of three massive Betas, we’ve had time to gather not only a lot of data, but also a lot of insight into how people race horses and what they need to be competitive at every tier of competition. This is Paul N., your faithful systems lead, here to reveal the next evolution of PFL race math.

Where We’re At

Anyone looking to be successful at Photo Finish Live knows that finding the right races for each horse is critical. Wins not only mean purses, but mean sales and long term breeding profits. One of the biggest challenges we hear from the discord is that players can’t find the right distance for their horse.

We work hard to investigate concerns raised in the Discord, and this one was valid. Over the past month we’ve done a deep investigation and saw in clear data that while horses definitely have optimal distances, the difference between best and worst is small. In truth, it’s small enough that it could be clouded out by other race factors.

Finding your distance is one of the primary steps in developing a great race horse. If you can’t find it or the effect is too small to matter, it becomes an expensive and un-fun endeavor. We didn’t like that, so we got to work.

What We’re Doing

We’re updating the race math to make horses’ best distances clearer. After this change, you should expect to find a small range at which your horse is clearly optimal, and that running outside that range isn’t very effective. Imagine your performance at different distances as a nice curve with a peak at your best distance. What we’ve done is we’ve squeezed the curve so that the peak rises more clearly above the valleys.

Be aware, in order to make room for the best possible horses (SSS) to have strong peak distances, overall horse times will increase. We’ve effectively lowered the floor on everyone so that your individual horses can truly showcase their talents when running in ideal conditions.

Fleet Figure Bonus

There’s a nice bonus to the change. Fleet Figures ought to become significantly clearer in terms of showing you what your horse is good at. With a bigger contrast between best and worst performance, Fleet Figures at those distances will follow suit. This should help, not just the owner, but wagerers and buyers as well.

Race Validation, Release Timeline

We’re also proud to release the “checksum” data for our race simulations. We’ll try to stay a little bit out of the weeds, but at the top level, we now sign the “library” that handles race calculation. By its nature, it will change if we change anything in race math, and won’t change any other time. And so now, at the bottom of every race page, a public “signature” is posted of the this data so you can always know for sure if / when the race math changes. Alongside this, we are in the process of having this signature and math independently audited, again so you (and we) can know for sure there is zero unexpected “interference” in the simulation logic.

We’re releasing this blog to you today April 10th as well, to let you know that the new race math will roll out April 12th. We will let you know exactly what time the rollout occurs (likely should be right around noon ET), but we wanted to make sure those racing know what’s coming and when.


Running on “good” or “bad” distances for your horses should become much more obvious. Horse times across the board will get slower because the baseline is lower. However, your horses should perform better relative to their baseline if you run them at the right distance. Fleet Figures should also become more valuable now that there’s a more visible difference between performance at different distances.
As always, thank you for playing Photo Finish™ LIVE, and we’ll see you at the track!

– Paul

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