One of the best parts of our horse racing game is that there are so many different ways to play. Though we never expect to be everything for everyone, the more you understand how the game can be played, the more enjoyment you will experience once you've identified your game playing strategy.
If you're trying to achieve top honors in the game and gain that community recognition as well as the trophies and awards that will soon begin, then, more than likely, you'll have to plan on frequent breeding. Breeding frequently, obviously, will increase your chances of getting better rated horses, but it also can dilute your evaluation process for each horse you acquire. If you plan on becoming a proficient breeder with the intention of making it to the top of the leader boards, you must first develop a quick but effective evaluation program for each horse. The evaluation program has to include surface preferences, distance preferences, consistency in practice mode, and your horse's overall ability to be a champion. If your horse has a speed rating of 120, but is consistently beating your other trainer horses that have higher speed ratings at certain distances, then this horse may be a potential superstar. Every horse has what we call a preferred racing condition. It is a combination of track surface, horse's age and race distance.
When you put a new horse in your barn, besides evaluating his initial speed rating number, make sure you pull a performance report. It's free and will give you as idea of some of your horse's traits. If you are playing the game with the intention of going after the top positions as a breeder and trainer, your streamlined evaluation program shouldn't take more than 10 minutes per horse. As part of your evaluation program, make sure you race your horse in-game on the off-tracks, such as soft turf and sloppy. There are plenty of instances where horses will excel on these surfaces and significantly exceed their birth speed ratings
No matter what your long-term objectives are in the game, we always suggest starting out with just a few horses in your stable. Even if you end up with only 2 or 3 horses with their natural birth speed ratingsright around 100 or slightly above, you will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the game. More importantly, testing every aspect of the trainer game by competing in insta-tournaments, general tournaments and restricted tournaments will give you a feel of what the level of competition is and what is needed to win at certain levels.
Once you've bred your first few horses and have evaluated them, before you even start to enter any trainer tournaments, you need to evaluate the competition and what is needed to win particular tournaments. For example, since most horses carry a trait and preference for dirt and more than half the horses in the game are natural sprinters at any level of play including low-point entry general tournaments and restricted tournaments, you'll find these tournaments more competitive and harder to win than if your horse naturally favors long distances - a mile-and-a-quarter or more. One of the things that is overlooked by a lot of players is that sometimes they have a horse that is just as good running a long distance as he is running a short distance. If that's the case, always choose the long distance because the competition will be easier. You'll notice in longer-distance races with similar entry fees, the speed ratings and ending race times are less competitive at longer distances.
A common mistake that a lot of players make is that they believe if they enter lower-entry tournaments - 2,000 to 4,000 point entry fees - that the competition can be easier than those with entry fees at 8,000 to 10,000 points. That may or may not be the case depending on the overall setup of the tournament, which includes maximum number of entries and subsequent entry fees for each race. Also pay attention to the VIP bonus. If a 4,000 point entry fee tournament has four or five races associated with it, and there are additional race fees tied to each race entry, that tournament will attract some good horses. A good rule of thumb is that the more races involved in the tournament, the better the probability that you will find good horses. The reason is, bigger barns want more races because it allows them to accumulate more earnings for each horse. This adds to their stable record and the horse's overall racing record.
When you're looking at these tournaments, also pay attention to the race classifications - Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3 as well as Ungraded races. When tournaments contain Grade 1 and Grade 2 races, because of the higher purse value (dollar value, not community points), you'll also find better horses entering for the same reason just mentioned - the higher the graded race, the greater the earning potential. You can easily find tournaments with 5,000-point entry fees ascertain final purses that would exceed tournaments with higher entry fees.
To just recap, the reasons are that the tournament may contain more races and each race requires its own entry fee, thus assuring a bigger purse; the tournament may contain more graded races attracting stables with good horses to build up their overall purse earings on their horse and stable for both the leader board and possibly the breeding shed; and there may be a big VIP payout where a couple of big stables are entering either fully-nominated or partially-nominated horses going after the big bonus.
If you know, after evaluting your horse, that he's not a superstar, the first tournament you might want to enter is an insta-tournament. Entering your horse in an insta-tournament allows you to get a race under his belt and help qualify him for restricted tournaments where the competition is less competitive. A lot of restricted tournaments carry big prizes now, but do require at least one race to qualify. There are multiple ways to play out restricted tournaments. One strategy is to enter restricted tournaments under the worst possible conditions for your horse so he gets the lowest possible speed rating and then qualifies for the lowest restricted tournaments. Yes, you will probably lose the insta-tournament, but your natural 105 speed rated horse (just as an example) might end up running less than a 90 in the insta-tournament and then would be eligible for a restricted tournament for horses tha have run 90 speed ratings or less in tournament races. In this particular case, after that very poor performance in the insta-tournament, you can find a nice restricted tournament limited to horses of 90 and below knowing that your horse has the potential in excess of 105, his birth speed rating, as long as the other racing conditions are good.
What a lot of players don't understand is that we offer a tremendous variety of racing. In order to take advantage, it's important you plan your strategy. If your objective is to sell your horse in an insta-tournament, then from the word 'go', he needs to be placed in an insta-tournament with the conditions best suited for him. If your objective is to qualify for restricted tournaments, then you want to place him in insta-tournaments where he really doesn't belong when it comes to racing surface and racing distance. If you feel you have a champion horse and you want to try to get him to the breeding shed, then you're looking for general trainer tournaments that contain a lot of races as well as higher graded stake races. Keep one thing in mind. The moment you run your horse in his first tournament, he's now exposed or revealed. How you want him to be perceived and what type of career you're planning for that horse are important factors you need to consider for that first tournament.
One breeding note. Most players know that certain sires and dams get hot and cold over time. Even though this is true, it does not mean that non-hot sires cannot produce a super horse at any given time. The idea of breeding the same combination over and over again because mathematically you feel your odds will increase is not necessarily true. It is actually better to try different combinations of sires and dams while at the same time you observe the sires and dams of other players' horses that are running in tournaments that were bred recently. In other words, if Player A has a superstar horse by a certain sire but he bred that horse four months ago, the chances of that sire still being part of the 'hot' sire and dam program are low. Don't fall for the old trick of buying the stock high and selling low. As the sire continues to get bred, at some point he cools down and the sires and dams that have been dormant begin to heat up. Try to stay in front of the trends and not way behind.
Later in the week we will cover why the sire is more important in the breeding than the dam and its correlation to real world racing.