uma no bov-san's pretty derby

hello

hi

what are we up to now, 8? the eighth horse girls shitpost. huh.

this month in the horse girls phone app (you know, I keep calling it this as if to neg it but I almost never actually play on my phone, I usually play the PC client and if I’m out and about, I’m on my iPad), it’s October and thanks to the efforts of loud American expatriates, that means the monthly event is Halloween. now, for every event, they usually have two event-appropriate horses ready for people gamble do the gacha for. I’m not actually putting a ton of money into the game (total spend thus far: twenty bucks), but I do save my free crystals and do a 10-pull every so often. and I liked what I saw in the Halloween banner, where Rice Shower (normally, Rice Shower is a soft-spoken, tiny horse always wearing a giant hat and also she goes on the race track armed with a knife) (I feel the need to point out right now that if a horse wears a hat as part of their race costume, they are always wearing that hat. yes, even in the pool. yes, even at the summer training camp at the beach. hell, unlucky cursed horse Tannhauser still wears her scarf to the beach) was dressed up as a cute vampire and also she seemed like a good horse for training for the monthly cup, which was slated to be my number one nemesis, long tracks. so I idly did a 10-pull.

and I got an event horse.

so I’m currently writing this from horny jail, where I have ended up by no fault of my own other than having the curse of bad good luck. instead of cute vampire Rice Shower with the good stats, I got mummy Super Creek with the… interesting numbers.

now you may remember in a previous post I described Super Creek as the resident mommy milky character, a thing impressive for a character ostensibly under the age of 18. and I know you might be asking “did they actually make the mummy/mommy pun?”

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anyway, moving on

so this month’s cup was the Libra Cup. as part of the “hey we have to engage you maniacs” part of the game, they actually announce the details of the cup 3-4 weeks ahead of time so us weirdos can get horses ready. after watching my horses absolutely implode in the previous cup when I needed them to deliver a win after somehow scraping into the winners side of the bracket, I was kind of determined to get a win, even if I had to become a monster in the process.

I already had a plan but also that plan involved giving up a little. I would have to train a couple of new horses and then throw in a horse already kicking around and bam, we have a team I guess. but also I did a lot of watching and investigating other player’s horses.

one of the things they added recently is the ability so the skills of other horses going off during PVP races and suddenly you start noticing a lot of horses that win run the same stuff and suddenly you go “I too should become a metaslave”.

so all of this stuff is fantastic, it really is. however! I kinda burnt myself out grinding event points to fully uncap the event card (a thing I fucked up because my last run ended 2 minutes after the event did) and didn’t touch the game for a couple of weeks.

on October 12th, a WMATA (this is the DC metro area subway system) train car on the blue line derailed at Arlington Cemetery as a result of a known issue with the wheels of the newest rail cars in the fleet. this necessitated taking all of these cars out of the fleet, effectively reducing Metro down to 40% of their normal rail car capacity, which originally manifested as unexplained delays and single-tracking and then was formalized later as, on my line, trains every 30-40 minutes. feel free to read more about it here.

I go to catch a train into work one day last week, unaware of what’s going on and am instead met with nice, comfy 30 minute wait for a train during rush hour. I’ve got time to kill now.

Thus begins the campaign

The Team

Mihono Bourbon
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Role: run in front good

a bit of serendipity led to a non-horny 10-pull putting her in my stable. she is a horse designed to slip into any kind of race length with the proper breeding and the trade off for this is that she only understands the concept of ultimate outrunning. thankfully she has a high stamina bonus so we can offset this.

Bourbon is a horse built within the framework of putting all of her skill budget into passives (the green skills) that make her run better and then praying she heals herself (円弧のマエストロ is best described as The heal button) and if everything lines up, she just blows the field out. also note her ranking score is 8199 and the Open League where I fuck around in is for horses under 8200, meaning she is maximum horse

also she is a gundam

Gold Shi-

okay actually the Gold Ship I tried running was a run for the last long cup where I bombed out to B group finals but she ended up winning in a weird race so I figured she was good. she was not good. I needed a good support horse that could pick up the slack in some way if the other two fucked up by not practicing good breathing. so after the first cup run I hit the horse mines

Nice Nature

Role: 10th level horse mage

she back. now, the idea of dedicating one of your three team slots to a nuke horse isn’t new, and, hell, I’ve done it twice. but Nice Nature has, once you level her up, THE NUKE.

八方にらみ is like, she sets off an AOE around her that doesn’t hit friendlies and fields just fucking melt if they get bopped and then your horses go off on their merry ways

also sometimes she comes in third, which is just precious (please consult a Japanese Racing Association loremaster for further details).

Agnes Tachyon

Role: insurance

the horse what I trained while waiting for the train and officially the first, most senior member of the team. she has her own heal baked in and also she has the Big Heal Button so in theory she’s never tiring out. also has The Big Speed Button. meta.

otherwise I do not actually trust her as she falls under the faction of chaos horses. I mean, look at her:

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she’s on the track with her oversized lab coat and vials of chemicals while being high as shit. also you can’t see it here but her eyes have a pattern of scanlines from staring at screens doing science for too long.

Round 1

oh my god it’s a fucking slaughter, the first run that caused me to dump Gold Ship went 4-1 and then when Nice Nature came in it was even more lopsided. Bourbon would routinely blowout the entire field (more than 10 lengths) and Tachyon consistently placed in the top 3

the system works

Round 2 (Group A/winners side)

oh no, other people who know what they’re doing. the RNG machine is in full effect here as Bourbon starts forgetting to breathe regularly and tires herself out, I run into other Nuke Natures and Tachyon… still performs consistently because she can remember to catch her breath while running. even with the wackiness, we get into winner’s side finals day one of round 2 so we’re sitting pretty

Day 5

Day 5 is literally you pick your team for the finals if you’re in and then you have to wait 24 hilarious hours to see your race. having watched my races in full, I expect the worst

Libra Cup Finals, Group A

I look at the field and I don’t like my chances. two Gold Ships, the absolute thief of wins. everyone else has more circles on their race ratings, which usually indicates more or spread out skills to cover the whole race.

race gets underway, everyone hits their positions (except Nature, who is maybe a little too far up) and the whole thing goes as expected for the first 1200-1400m of the race. then something fucking weird happens: none of the horses are healing. well, none of them except for Tachyon and one of the Gold Ships. seeing this, I immediately realize that Bourbon is out because her dumbass thought she could run just a good race instead of a winning race. Nature isn’t built to win, she’s built to kill, so she’s out. Tachyon managed to pop both of her heals, so the backup plan is in effect.

we hit the last corner:

After action report

I got very bad pulls with my free prize gacha tickets and I feel filthy for blowing up countless horses

I’m excited to do it all again next cup

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is there any hope of a game like this but for bike racing because i would fall all the way into that ocean

it could even use the yowamushi pedal license or something

Family Friend’s Ryokan is featured in this and I’ve meant to watch it for 3 years now.

hi

salutations

welcome to the first dedicated horse girls phone app shitpost shitpost

I would love to drone on and on about the current cup campaign, which started 2 days ago and will enter round 2 this evening (or, if you’re actually in Japan, noon on American Thanksgiving) and features me trying something stupid and unnecessary

however

after reading over the fevered insanity I have dumped here over the past 9 months (somehow the last post was 1500 words, I don’t know how this happened), I have realized that I never actually talked about skills

okay, so the first thing you need to know about skills is that, fundamentally, at their core, all of the horses are giant scripts wearing an anime skin on top, Buffalo Bill style. yes, I know, I am destroying the illusion here, but you have to understand, I’m out here trying to win, dammit

from there, a horse is its stats, attribute ratings and skills. the stats and attributes have hard floors (0 for stats, G for attributes) and ceilings (1200 for stats, S for attributes), so, in theory, you can make 2 horses that are 100% identical and then you’re leaving things to a coin flip. at that point, there are two major X-factors directly affecting the horses; the first, motivation, is something that can be controlled by the developers (in the majority of non-training content, motivation is randomized and the only time when all horses are given the same baseline level of motivation is for a group A cup finals race, where all entrants are given maximum motivation) and probably doesn’t make a huge difference. the second is their skill loadout

okay, are you sitting down

this is where the abyss starts

so the skills are split up into two categories: active and passive. this is easy; passives automatically activate at the start of a race if the appropriate conditions are met (as an example that will become relevant soon, 雨の日 is a passive that makes horses some immeasurable value better when it’s raining during the race), most have two levels, they all make your horse a tiny bit better and they stack, so they’re all pretty good investments (the notable exception is seemingly シンパシー, a passive that only activates if a certain number of horses have it and all of them get it, which means you could also be buffing the enemy) and active skills are skills that do something when specific conditions are met. these skills are split up among three categories which are also helpfully color-coded if you’re some kind of foreign idiot playing the game with no language ability: speed (orange), healing (blue) and debuffs (red). speed skills are further split up by skills that give speed boosts, skills that give acceleration and make the horse run faster (yes these are different I swear), skills that make horses take corners better and skills that make the horse look at their surroundings (and also there’s a skill for coming out of the gate good but they made a unique icon for it so I’m assuming there’s going to be another gate skill at some point). debuffs are split up among skills that tire enemy horses out, skills that enemy confuse horses, skills that anger enemy horses and makes them impulsive and skills that make enemy horses see worse.

in addition to all of that, each of the player-trainable horses have unique skills that have some kind of special condition (or some have boring, normal conditions to fire off) to activate and throughout the campaign, have the ability to level up thrice on top of being able to boost their starting level by uncapping the horse (a 5-star horse has a level 3 unique to start with, as opposed to a 3-star having a level 1 unique). these are the marquee skills where, if they go off, the race fucking stops and you have to watch the animation of your horse doing something not-race related, which powers them up I guess (examples: Mejiro McQueen is trying to enjoy her afternoon tea but instead she has to deal with peasants trying to pass her so she gets up and looks angry; Hishi Amazon punches a fucking rock falling towards her; Maruzinsky shifts into top gear and speeds up after drifting around a corner; Meishoudotou screws up a bunch cleaning a classroom but then she opens a window and sees the sun shining and this makes her happy; Bridal Mayano Top Gun (but not regular Mayano Top Gun) does a HALO jump and also a jet explodes behind her; Mihono Bourbon does an all systems check and then launches at high speed into outer space from White Base; Gold Ship swings around a ship’s anchor menacingly). the large majority of these are regular ol’ speed boosts, a few are acceleration and maybe 4 or 5 are healing.

now with all that, how the hell do we get skills on horses? so horses start with a set of skills to begin with (their unique and a few regular skills) and you can level the horse up to unlock more skills (which is not the same as uncapping), including getting two gold skills, which are more powerful versions of some other skills they have in their kits. the rest of the skills come from doing a training campaign. when you go to start a training run, you have to make a horse deck from your horse cards and each of these cards boost a number of different things but their biggest contribution is the skills they offer and the events they can initiate. the levels of the cards determine what kind of nonsense you get from events and how many events happen (SSR cards usually give a gold skill out at the end of their event chain if the right conditions are met) and the kind of boosts they give in various ways.

so throughout a run, you get skills from:

  1. random slice-of-life events, from cards in your deck, random cards that invade your run or built-in events from the campaign’s story
  2. possibly from winning races in your training route or saying the right thing to your horse after doing an unrequired race
  3. every so often, when training, a “!” will appear next to a type of activity, which indicates one or more of your horse deck horse friends also training there will give you, if you train there, a stat boost lining up with their card type or a random skill on their list


I swear the only pictorial examples I had of this being horses at the pool is a coincidence

good friend Seuin Sky can possibly teach us a skill! except the skill we get (if we get a skill and not a stat boost) is randomized, which means we could get a skill we don’t want. or we could get a skill we already learned, which is kinda nice since it gives us a discount on actually buying the skill for use, but we can still get a skill we already bought, which is… less desirable.

  1. your horse’s parents and grandparentsgood friends whom they have entrusted their deepest wishes for success can pass along skills during visits to the Goddess of Victory statue that happens twice a run and 3-star or above horses pass along their unique skills from the start of a run

okay, now that we’ve gotten all of that whatever the hell that word vomit above was out of the way, we can build ourselves a horse, we just need to get the skills and we’re good, right?

you’ll notice in the explanation of point 3 that I said

actually buying the skill for use

you just can’t use skills, you poor naive soul. you have to buy the skills to actually unlock them for your horse to use. skills cost skill points and your main source of skill points is winning races; most of the rest of your pool comes from card events and you get a tiny bit for training physical stats and a little more for training brains. so, effectively, making a horse with a bunch of skills means runs or slanted towards doing more races, whereas more stat heavy builds ignore doing extra races and stick to the training route (and assuming you are making a horse for the wierdo loser B-rank league cups, you have a budget but oh my god I do not want to talk about horse math right now)

okay, now that you understand way more than you need to for someone ostensibly not playing the game if you’re reading this thread, here comes the easy part; skill selection. skills are split between neutral skills and tactics-specific skills (a thing which the game helpfully and thankfully points out so you just match the kanji and profit) and then each active skill has their conditions for firing off. some simple examples: your horse will heal on a long straightaway; your horse will accelerate when going uphill; your horse will confuse horses in front of them if they are in the middle of the pack in the middle of the race. then we have the unique skills, which can have more… esoteric activation requirements. some examples: you pass 2 (or 3, there’s a second skill that’s the same thing but it’s 3 horses) horses near the end of the race and get horny a speed boost; you (and the text for this skill is cryptic as fuck) are running a good race so you heal big (the cryptic part is that the game recognizes a “good race” as in the mid-front of the pack; your horse can have this skill and if they’re in first place, it will not go off as this isn’t “a good race”); if you are behind the front pack (roughly defined as 1st-3rd) going into the final corner, you get a speed boost; if you get to third place during the last stretch of a race, you get a speed boost.

so once you start understanding how and when skills fire off (read a guide, experiment or be stupid and rely on machine translation like some kind of idiot, who the hell would ever do this), you start to see that 1. there is potential for absolutely stupid, headass combos and 2. skills whose conditions you can guarantee happening are better than those you cannot. this is a large part of why 円弧のマエストロ (gold healing skill) and 弧線のプロフェッサー (gold speed boost) get a lot play when you have a strict budget, since they’ll fire off on a corner and every track has a corner (hell, some of the shorter tracks are almost entirely corner)

okay, so after:

  • picking a horse out based on their tactics and built-in skills
  • picking which horses to breed them with based on what stats, skills and attributes they’ll pass along
  • building a deck of horses that boost our target stats and have the skills we hope to learn
  • deciding if we want to lean more heavily on skills or stats
  • sacrificing a chicken on the altar of RNG
  • looking at the skills that are actually being made available during and by the end of a run and somehow building something usable out of the resulting wreckage
  • budget? horse math!?

we now have a horse

some examples:

Maruzinsky here has a gold heal that activates when going up an incline, a mid-race speed boost, a passive that boosts her main race tactic, her own unique (acceleration boost in the last corner) and Taiki Shuttle’s unique, an acceleration skill that fires off in the last corner if she’s a bit behind, to help her keep up if she isn’t already in front

Rice Shower has a mid-race heal for her tactic, an acceleration skill that goes off on an uphill climb and, in me being absolutely stupid, she has Mummy Super Creek’s unique, which goes off when she is behind another horse by a certain length in the last straightaway, Agnes Digital’s unique, which goes off after passing two horses in the last stretch, and her own, which goes off when she passes a horse in the last straightaway

Mejiro Ryan has a mid-race heal (that she apparently does not need in any capacity, thanks for that horse), a passive for races on rainy days, a passive for races with bad turf conditions (usually caused by weather), a passive for races whose length is a multiple of 400m, a passive for her tactic, a skill that accelerates her if she comes into the last corner on the outside and her unique, an acceleration skill that activates if she’s contesting in the last corner

so, assuming the horses function correctly, we bash our scripts against other people’s scripts and the resulting insanity is a race

things I forgot to mention and I don’t feel like editing in:

  1. how well your horse utilizes skills, possibly how many they use/memorize and generally their decision making is governed by the brain stat
  2. your horse can and will decide to not use a skill because they think they can just win without it, because they keep fucking up or because they forgot
  3. you’re making a ton of assumptions about ideal conditions for your horse that may not always pan out; Rice Shower up there is set up for the mid-front chase tactic and her push at the end of a race is contingent on there being horses in front of her to combo off of. this doesn’t work when two-thirds of the field are horses with rear tactics and suddenly she’s running in front because simply because no one ran a horse in the outrun position


man that seemed like an awfully specific example, couldn’t have happened to me…

so like I said about talking about skills in the same post quoted above,

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I understood very little of this but hugely appreciated the energy of the post.

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yes

now imagine figuring it out with no Japanese knowledge

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i refuse

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hello

hi

wishing all the good boys and girls and horse daughters a wonderful horsemas

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hi

hello

welcome to the horse girls phone app first anniversary shitpost

we made it a whole year, huh. this is a game that just disappeared for 4 years and they kept hacking away at it with that Granblue money and kept releasing CDs and then, all of a sudden, hey the game is launching in a month. and it came it, and it was a miracle that a game with such a hilariously protracted development came out and was good and fun

I cannot overstate how much they righted the ship

here’s a trailer of the game from ~2017:

please compare and contrast with any race video in this thread

Cygames almost released some jank-looking PSP-ass game in 2018 and instead went “no this looks bad, send it back” and then in 2021, we got a game that understands the speed and drama of racing

horse racing

but they’re girls

it really shouldn’t work, none of it, but it do

anyway, cups

we ain’t won shit in the past 4 cups, mostly because I’m out there chasing dumb ideas instead of good horses, but I’m having fun. but the old meta, it dragged on for a year.

okay, so, horses have five stats: speed, stamina, power, intelligence and… guts. what the stats influence is mostly self-explanatory: speed makes horse go faster, stamina makes the horse go longer without getting winded, power influences they’re ability to push around other horses and intelligence makes them smarter. but guts?

guts is described in in-game text as a kind of last well of energy your horse taps into when they run out of stamina. its icon is a flame. training guts also gives you speed and power, as a bonus.

in theory, you can be an asshole and zero in on a single stat at lower ranks and it can be a workable horse, depending on the context. in no context was guts a good stat. it is a fool’s errand to mainline guts as a stat. here, have a rough stats guide from the Dark Tome of Knowledge:

stat

these guidelines represent rough minimums of where your various stats should be to clear your horse’ scenario, by length of the race. even if you look at this and cannot understand what is going on, you can see that the stat with the lowest grade for everything is guts. guts is a stat to be avoided. you don’t need it. it doesn’t do anything.

AND THEN THEY PATCHED THE GAME AT THE BEGINNING OF THE ANNIVERSARY EVENT

and now guts is good. everything about the whole first year of horse theory is out the window. now guts governs how aggressive your horse will jockey and it’s now seemingly the main stat for outrun, front of the pack horses. it’s absolutely ridiculous. it’s literally an anime power-up, it’s fucking BURNING SPIRIT

she just… decided to stop losing and then she won. she got angry and then she won. the guts effect is real.

this is a massive buff to all the Escape Girls who try to outrun because now you can make them be angry and fight for wins. hell, all horses in general seem to get real motivated at the last corner and fight for that win a lot more now.

this is it, we’re in the Year Two Meta. the GUTS meta.

oh also they added a new training scenario, Make a new track. unlike the two in the game thus far (URA Training and Aoharu), instead of having preset training plans where you have to get your horse ready for everything in their path, you just need to accumulate points, F1/NASCAR style, to qualify for the finals. also there’s an item shop.

the above depicts a dumb combo: you tell your horse to drink the supergreens smoothie to get back all their energy, but it tastes so bad that it lowers their motivation. you then immediately give them a cupcake and they’re motivated again. there are items that give you a percentage buff for stat training for X amount of turns but also training weights that give a percentage buff for one kind of stat and yes of course they stack. everything stacks. everything.

they have thrown their arms up the air and gone “fuck it. you figure it out. you’re smart.”

this is it. the end of horse racing.

they also added a bunch of new, goofy random slice of life events and also the now the best BFFs Palmer and Helios show up and their presence gets announced with airhorns


also I grabbed the anime so I could spam screenshots of it at opportune moments. like talking about THE GIRLS

I’m ready for a whole 'nother year of trying dumb bullshit and being shocked that it didn’t work, but I’m going to win

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oh, also, they upgraded the grass

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dank

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I’ve been seeing this thread title in my peripheral vision for months now, not paying it too much mind, until today, when I realized: wait, I’ve been watching the anime this game is based on for the last three weeks. And now I’m invested.

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username’s work to date did of course need its evil twin

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Magia Record is also a very solid choice if you like girly-mobile-game-based anime. I ended up watching the full two seasons

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anime power ranking:

watch it: season 2 - holy shit this was unironically one of the better shows of 2021

???: Umayon - they made one of the episodes where 3 of the horses whose joke is “eats too much” eat too much

uhhhhh: season 1 - I thought it was an okay show at the time and it still holds up but Special Week is the least interesting character of Team Spica and it comes through with how much Gold Ship blew up or how fun it is to watch rivals/girlfriends Scarlet and Vodka constantly bicker. I was bitter about how season 2 made Spe a single joke background character but it turns out she has just enough character to knock it out of the park

the important thing about season 2 is that it has The Girls Palmer and Helios and their forbidden technique of Ultimate Outrunning

I am ready to sacrifice a paycheck on the gacha altar when they add Palmer to the game (she shows up in races now!)

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man I should probably talk about the last cup they ran too because it was kind of a wild one

after a year of the game being live and 7-8 monthly cups, they finally did a cup on a dirt track. this is a big deal because the majority of horses are not good on dirt.

quick numbers: as of writing, there are 70 horses available for training, counting event reskins (they have different skill loadouts and stat growth bonuses so they’re functionally different); of the 70 horses:

  • 4 start with an “A” rating to dirt
  • 5 start with a “B” rating to dirt
  • 4 start with a “D” rating to dirt
  • the rest of the cast (57 horses) start at “E” or worse, with “G” being the lowest

of the reasonably workable 13 horses that require no to some breeding to make them race ready for dirt tracks, your account starts with one of them, regular Haru Urara; one of them is a two-star you have to pull for, El Condor Pasa; and the other 11 are all three-star horses (event El, event Haru, Maruzinksy and event Maruzinsky, Oguri Cap and event Cap, Agnes Digital, Smart Falcon, Gold City and event City and Taiki Shuttle). so, understandably, if you wanted to field a full three-horse team for the cup, you either needed to be some degree of lucky or know what you’re doing and burn the free 3-star ticket new accounts get on Shuttle or Cap.

I had been joking all year that Cygames wouldn’t do a dirt cup because it’s so hilariously tied to the gacha and then they actually fucking did it, the Gacha Cup

it was not uncommon to see teams with 1 or 2 horses not bred or lucky enough to do good on dirt. or whole teams! it was a weird roulette, I couldn’t actually get a grasp on how good my horses were during the first round because there were so many dead teams


what happens when horses that don’t into dirt against ones that do

so if you’re familiar with MOBAs or fighting games, you understand the idea of “losing at character select/in the draft”. in this cup, a whole swath of trainers lost at the gacha screen.

it was a fun, chaotic mess and now we have even more chaos with guts being a real stat suddenly

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i’ve never understood what you were talking about with this horse girl racing stuff but now i wish i still didn’t

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look

I’ve been very transparent from the start

they’re girls

who are also horses

who race

also they are idols

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Can you equip your racing girl with late-for-school mouth toast for a speed boost?

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