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Competing on a Budget: Tips & Tricks

Everyone loves rooting for the underdog, and Photo Finish™ LIVE is no exception. So much so that large swaths of the racing schedule have catered to the smaller-to-middle stables in terms of budget and number of racehorses. 

Thanks to that focus, finding success on the race tracks doesn't have to come with a hefty price tag. For budget-conscious players, there are many strategic approaches designed to help maximize your chances of winning without breaking the bank. 

Still, we often hear that players aren't sure where to start or look when searching for an edge below the most elite competition and pricier entry fee racing.

This guide will provide tips and tricks for selecting the right races, managing entry fees, and leveraging freerolls and other events.

Understanding Event Structures

Major Events Race Series

Photo Finish™ Live features four major race series each season, offering substantial prize pools. 

These series include:

  1. The Third Time Championship (RD)
  2. Harbor Classic (LT)
  3. Artemis Cup (RT)
  4. Kentucky Derby (LD)

Each series consists of qualifying weekly races, culminating in a main event. The races are categorized by sprint, gallop, and long distance. 

The total prize pool for each series is $42,000, with individual races offering $10,000.

What is often overlooked, however, is that the week's most significant races, which require entry in qualifying races, come with a complete undercard stacked with chances at winning free money.

Major Series Undercards (FREEROLL)

All Major Series races feature undercard freeroll races at the same turf/track, providing $4,000 for 90 and $2,000 for 70 benchmarks.

You'll often find some of the most successful stables competing in these undercards. That's because not only do they reserve a showcase spot on the main card, they come with a chance at stacking your $DERBY balance for the following week's entry fee costs.

Pro Tip: Set your entry fee slider to 0-0 to see all freerolls during a season. This ensures you can participate in races without any entry fees.

Grade Expectations (FREEROLL)

The Grade Expectations takes place on the first Saturday of each season and features freeroll races for the best low—to mid-tier grade-restricted horses (A—to S—). 

With a $13,000 prize pool, these races are based on the Last 28 Day (L28) earnings at the race archetype selection committee. This ensures that horses with the highest earnings in their grade compete against each other.

Pro Tip: With the L28 selection committee in place for undercards and minor race series, the Making the Grade series on Wednesday nights is your best opportunity for high-stakes grade-restricted racing.

Rising Stars Series

If you're looking for a place to test out a beast two-year-old that may be ready to step up and compete for the big prize money next season, the Rising Stars series is where the action is. 

This series highlights the best juvenile horses each season across four races, each offering a $4,000 prize pool. 

The undercard includes graded stakes races for A- to A+ horses aged three and older, with $3,000 in total prize money using the L28 selection committee.

NEWCOMERS: Rookie Rally (Allowlist FREEROLL)

If you're new to Photo Finish™, this is your chance to test out the game with your brand-new horse free of charge. 

Exclusively for new stables in their first season of paid racing, the Rookie Rally offers $150 in Derby ($12,000) and 250 Crown in each of the four races. 

To participate, fill out the form to get allow-listed and follow the instructions on Discord by typing !rookierally

Strategic Race Selection Recap

Freeroll Events

We've covered some notable freeroll races above, but let's highlight them here to ensure we're all on the same page. Every season offers north of six figures in freeroll races available to all stables, so you want to be sure any horse eligible is involved. 

To recap: The major series, Rising Stars races, Grade Expectations, and various benchmarks offer hefty freeroll prize pools each season:

  • Major Series & Rising Stars: $64,000 total per season
  • Low/Mid-Grade Horses: $32,000 total per season
  • New Stables Only: $600 total plus 1000 Crown


  • Focus on freeroll events to build your stable's earnings without paying entry fees.
  • Use the entry fee slider to filter for races with 0-0 entry fees, ensuring you don't miss out on freeroll races.
  • Regularly check for Grade Expectations and Rising Stars Series events, which cater to different horse grades and offer lucrative prizes.

PFL Racing Stream Events

We've reached the point where there is at least one streaming event happening every night of the week, and with those special events come great opportunities to race for bigger pots, most notably, to build your stable's bankroll by making horse picks.  

You'll gain additional insights and community support by watching the racing stream events. More alpha on picks. More tips and tricks on race entry. More of an edge. 

Here's a rundown of key events:

Monday Mayhem

  • Time: Monday nights, 5:30 pm-9 pm EST
  • Host: Doughboy on Twitch
  • Focus: Deep dive into PFL picks and race analysis

Trackside Tuesday

  • Time: Tuesday afternoons, 2 pm-4 pm EST
  • Host: High Octane Racing on Twitch
  • Focus: Maiden-themed racing for new horses

After Dark Tuesday

  • Time: Tuesday nights, 7:30 pm-10:30 pm EST
  • Host: Doughboy on Twitch
  • Focus: Detailed analysis of PFL picks and races

Making The Grade Wednesday's

  • Time: Wednesday nights, 9:30pm-midnight EST
  • Host: Taco on Twitch
  • Focus: High stakes Grade Restricted races

Finish Line Friday

  • Time: Friday afternoons, 2 pm-4 pm EST
  • Host: High Octane Racing on Twitch
  • Focus: Benchmark-themed racing

After Dark Friday

  • Time: Friday nights, 7:30 pm-10:30 pm EST
  • Hosts: Mo and Fib on Kick
  • Focus: Fun, lighthearted race analysis

Sunday Showdown

  • Time: Sunday afternoons, 3:45 pm-5:45 pm EST
  • Host: Urban on Kick
  • Focus: KO Races with high-stakes excitement

Get in the Game

Competing on a budget in Photo Finish™ Live is feasible with strategic planning and participation in suitable events. 

Smaller stables can thrive and steadily build their bankrolls by focusing on freerolls, managing entry fees, and leveraging the insights from PFL racing streams. 

Stay engaged with the community, watch upcoming events, and maximize every racing opportunity.

Happy racing!