By Ryan Yousefi
A Parkland resident is building the future of virtual horse racing amidst the city’s real-life horse farms.
Having moved from the Orlando area in 2017, Abhijit Lothe, his wife Anjali, and his two daughters are still relatively new to the Parkland community.
But, in just a short period, the Lothes have quickly fallen in love with everything Parkland is about, including an aspect that hits close to Abhijit’s heart — horses.
Originally from Nagpur, India, Lothe and his family of four, including daughters Aditi and Antara, students at Heron Heights Elementary and Westglades Middle, settled on Parkland because of its strong community, excellent schools, and top-notch recreational facilities.
“Before moving the family here, I had scouted various towns but settled on Parkland because of the communities here,” said Lothe, who now lives in Heron Bay.
“While Parkland is relatively small and a newer town in South Florida, the schools in the area are great, and the parks and other recreational facilities are top-notch.”
Lothe, a University of South Florida graduate, tells Parkland Talk his family relocated from the Orlando area after he transitioned to a new job.
The vice president of engineering for Third Time Games, a gaming development studio behind the realistic virtual horse racing experience Photo Finish™ LIVE, he coincidentally now lives in a town well-known for its love of horses — where it’s not uncommon to see horses trotting down a busy State Road 7 intersection.
Lothe says the game’s realism — including the player’s ability to own, race, and even breed virtual racehorses — and stunning visuals make it nearly indistinguishable from the real thing, evidenced by the fact that NBC utilizes Photo Finish™ LIVE simulations on its race day preview coverage of the Kentucky Derby.
Lothe tells Parkland Talk it can be surreal having real horse farms so close to his home office, where he’s hard at work helping create digital counterparts.
“It’s been interesting for sure,” Lothe said.
“We visited the horse farms nearby when we first moved here, but we haven’t had a chance to visit the horse stables or ranches yet. This year my daughter wants to visit one for her birthday and also try horse riding.”
As for his family, Lothe says his daughters are extremely active in taking advantage of Parkland’s many recreational activities, including its youth sports programs and outdoor activities.
“My elder daughter plays basketball at the Parkland Recreational Basketball tournaments – they are in the Playoffs,” Lothe said.
“We love Parkland, especially that the parks are state of the art and constantly maintained and renovated. Park Trails is very close to us and hosts a myriad of activities, including soccer, basketball, carnivals, and concerts we enjoy.”
- Ryan Yousefi has lived in Coral Springs for over 30 years. He has worked as a writer for multiples outlets over the years, including the Miami New Times where he has covered sports and culture since 2013. He holds a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree in Business Healthcare Management from Western Governors University.
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