Clearly horses are your stables main asset! You must have a minimum of 4 horses in your stable at all times.
Each horse has attributes and skills that determine their overall racing ability, while there are also some additional factors that will affect their performance in different race situations. The horses also have an 'Overall Rating' which is a quick way to compare horses, as well as having experience at different Distances and Track Conditions.
Horse Stats and Abilities
Every horse can run any distance on any track condition - but the horses attributes will make them perform better/worse in certain situations.
It's your job to consider the strengths and weaknesses of your horse, and decide which horse is best for each event. Each attribute of the horse will affect it in different ways - as will the balance between each attribute.
(See The Race!)
- Spirit - A horses spirit is an important factor in determining how well the horse and jockey 'read each other' during a race. A horse with less spirit is able to be controlled easier and relate better to a jockey than a high-spirited thoroughbred. Spirit also determines how easily your horse gives in to adversity.
- Height - The height of a horse largely determines its stride length and physical presence on the racetrack.
- Weight - Some horses weigh more than others, which can affect the performance of the horse on race day. It's probably a bad idea to put a fat jockey on an underweight horse!
- Gender - Mares and geldings are a little more predictable than stallions, which may outperform sometimes but at others might just cause nightmares for an untalented jockey! Horses in foal (pregnant) are not eligible to race.
- Stride - The physical length of the horses stride is an important factor when competing against other horses, particularly in races over distance, after all, the longer the stride the less steps a horse will need to take to get to the finish. A shorter stride has advantages too though.
- Medical condition - The medical condition of the horse affects its overall abilities to race competitively, and also affects how quickly a horse can recover its Physical condition. So make sure your vets get your horse properly prepared for the race, otherwise your horse will certainly underperform! Also, bear in mind that horses that are worked too heavily are at an increased risk of injury - keep an eye on results of training and also on the Trainer comments after a race for information to help decide when your horse needs a spell.
- Physical condition - A horse must be in good physical condition to hold up to the vigours of thoroughbred racing. A horse in poor physical condition probably won't be in winning form, and is more likely to pick up an injury from racing. Physical condition is improved marginally by the vet and more so by some training types, and is reduced by racing, training workouts, and of course racing!
- Vet Assessment - The Vet Assessment is visible for all of your horses and all horses in the Auctions. It shows a quick and simple assessment of how ready your horse is to race at full potential. Vet Assessment takes into account Medical and Physical condition, and also an estimate of how prone to injury the horse is at the moment. (See 'Injuries & Improvements' below for more information)
- Gate speed - Gate speed determines a horses ability to get a quick jump out of the gate and subsequently make quick decisions and change direction during the race.
- Acceleration - The acceleration of the horse describes how well it can accelerate! Simple as that! Good reactions need good physical skills to complement them.
- Muscle tone - One of the most important characteristics, muscle tone helps determine the horses staying power in a race. A horse with poor muscle tone is likely to tire more quickly.
- Stamina - A horse with bad stamina may not be able to maintain its speed and abilities over the length of the race. Stamina becomes more important over longer race distances and on tracks with heavier conditions.
- Heart - A fit and healthy horse needs a fit and healthy heart - heart and stamina help determine how long a horse can keep going. Heart also has a 'mystical' quality for some, with suggestions that it provides an extra ability to beat the odds.
- Racing styles are a somewhat rare specialty skill determined at birth, sometimes inherited from a parent, or sometimes a quirk of nature. The racing style of a horse sometimes affects its performance during a race:
- Early Sprinter - Slightly faster over the first quarter, but these horses tend to tire more quickly in bad track conditions, unless they have extensive experience.
- Fast Finisher - Slightly faster over the final quarter, but a tendency to tire quickly in bad track conditions.
- Mud-lark - Loves to run on a wet track - the wetter the better! Dry tracks are a turn-off though, and the horse may underperform.
- Natural Champion - Sometimes called a 'Stayer', this horse is born to run the long race.
- Stalker - Prefers to come from a few places back during the final quarter, rather than leading the pack.
- Breakaway - Prefers to be among the first few runners in the second half of the race, rather than being caught back in the pack.
- Unpredictable - This horse can have good or bad patches over the course of a race...it's hard to know what will happen next.
- Competitive - Loves close-in racing, this horse doesn't mind tight races and competitive finishes.
- Needs Space - Doesn't like to be boxed in or racing in tight packs. Prefers the open spaces to run in.
Injuries and improvements
Aside from racing your horses, you'll also need to take care of their training needs and their veterinary care to make sure you always get the most out of them. (See Vet services, and also Training). After racing and training you'll notice the physical condition of the horse will decrease. Medical condition decreasing is often a sign that your horse has picked up an injury - in races, this is reported in the Form Guide after the race.
If your horse is getting repeatedly injured, or if your horse has a lower 'Vet Assessment' than you would expect, then maybe you might consider giving your horse a spell (rest) to allow the horse time to heal naturally? This can be a very effective tool to continue to get the best from your horses.
Injury Profiling, commonly referred to as IP, is a measure of how likely your horse is to sustain an injury next time it races or trains. There is no direct display of this stat, but you can estimate this by looking at the Vet Assessment. If it seems much lower than the average of Medical/Physical condition, then the horse is at a high risk of injury from being too active recently, or because of a recent injury that might be made worse. The best way to help your horse recover if it has a poor Vet Assessment is to give it a spell, or in other words, a short rest from racing. A spell of 3-4 weeks is enough for any horse to recover, but your horse might not need that much of a rest? It's your decision!
Some General Guidelines for Injury Profiling
- A horse should be able to be involved in some sort of activity (training and/or racing) for the majority of the season.
- A spell of 2-4 weeks should totally recover Injury Profile from even the worst position. Of course a lesser level of IP doesn't need as much of a spell.
- Different training types have different intensities, which can be measured by looking at how productive they are, and how long the training session is.
- Training and racing in the same week is possible, but of course your horse will need a lighter training schedule or more regular spells.
- A horse that does not train at all can sustain weekly racing for a longer period
- The strain on a horse from Racing depends on a few factors, including the horses physique/characteristics, the competitiveness of the race, how hard the horse is raced, and the race conditions. There are optimal conditions for each horse physique
- Injury Profile does affect a horse within a race and also slightly limits the effectiveness of training
You can keep track of your horses activities in their schedule
As you'll notice, a horses week can get very busy! Be sure to keep an eye on the Upcoming Schedule for each of your horses, to make sure that they don't have any conflicts. Where there is a conflict in schedule, the horse will simply take the earliest thing that you have told it to do and go with it - even if that means missing out on training or missing out on a race, or even missing travel arrangements to another track. Of course, if a horse misses its travel, it might not make the next race or get home in time for training etc.....so it can have quite a big flow-on effect. Any Schedule conflicts are highlighted in the horses' Upcoming Schedule, so they shouldn't be hard to notice! If you see any, you can remove the conflicting item/s by going into the "Schedule & Transport" page for that horse, and cancelling them directly from the schedule.
Re-naming and Aging
Horses age on the first day of each 3-month season
It's also possible to rename your 2yo horses, any 3yo's that were bought within the past 3 weeks, or any horses with career earnings of less than $1,000,000. It costs 1 'Game Credit' for each time you want to rename a horse. The number of Game Credits you have is displayed on the 'Home' page, and Game Credits can be bought through the Shop, or are provided free with purchases of Owners Club (See Owners Club). To rename a horse, simply select the colt/filly that you want to rename, and then select the Rename a Horse link from the Page Menu. A member of staff from Track King will approve or reject the renaming as appropriate within 24-48 hours at most!
And finally, the great circle of life! Each season, on the first day of January/April/July/October, horses will be considered as one year older - regardless of their actual date of birth. As a general rule, horses may only race from the age of 2yo (3yo for league races) up to and including 10yo. After 10yo, stallions may continue to be used for Stud until (and including) the age of 12yo. After age 12yo (or age 10yo for geldings or mares), there isn't really anything useful for your horses to do around your stable, although a mare will still give birth to a foal as an 11yo provided she was serviced before her 11th birthday. It might break your heart to part with these virtual champions, but in the interest of your stable it should probably be done. You can either organise to give them away, or if you are an Owners Club member you can retire them into the Hall of Fame, so that we can all look back at their stats and achievements. (See Owners Club)