Fellow newbies, how've you been doing?

There’ve been a lot of new players joining up, including me.

I’m wondering how the rest of you are doing? I’ve been talking about FF with a friend offline, and to be honest, we’re a bit baffled as to how to get going. When you start out with $50,000 and you’re trying to compete with stables that have millions…well, how do you do it? If your initial horse is a winner right off the bat, then you’re fine, but that $50k drains fast if you’re entering races and not winning anything and maybe want to obtain a second horse. But the only second horse you’re ever going to get is one that none of the established stables are interested in, since they can totally outbid/outbuy you without giving it a second thought. Their pocket change is more than your entire budget.

I’m bidding $15,000 in an auction thinking “Do I dare go this high?” and then I get outbid by a bid of $150,000 (which, it turns out, was the reserve, so I was never going to get that horse anyway).

It just seems really really hard to ‘get traction’ at FinalFurlong.org. Before I give up altogether, I’d like to know if anyone else who has started in the past, say, 3 months, is winning enough races to remain solvent?

I know this sounds like a whine, and to some extent it is :slight_smile: but if there’re others out there who’re struggling too, it might help to come forward. It may be that something has changed along the way that the old timers didn’t think twice about, but that’s really beating us newbies down.

On the other hand, if other folks are doing all right, then I know I’m missi something and I’ll have to try harder.

Keep in mind, guys, that all you have to do is ask. No, I’m not going to sell masses of horses from Final Furlong for $500 constantly (see the threads where FF did sell a few cheap horses to newbies…you’ll notice a distinct lack of interest, despite all the “whining” about not having anything to buy/race). However, if you actually post an intelligent, thought-out request for a horse (generally a specific horse is better) then usually whoever owns that horse will at least consider it. If you’re lucky, they’ll sell it to you cheap or at least tell you why they won’t, and possibly offer you another horse instead.

On the other hand, people starting 15 threads saying “I need broodmares even though it’s December and a broodmare won’t make me any money for at least a year” does nothing but annoy people (especially Andrea and me :wink:). Make sure you know what you want to buy, what you’re willing to spend (and what you can afford), and why you want to buy that horse (it’s a stakes winner, it’s a yearling and will race in a few months, you want to start a broodmare band, etc). Don’t just randomly ask for horses…no one’s going to leap up and beg to sell you their decent/nice/stakes winning/millionaire horse…especially if they know that all you’re going to do is turn around in a few months and sell it right back because you’re broke since you bought too many horses.

Just a thought…

Oh, and as additional info, newbies used to start with 100k and 6 horses…a lot more challenging to manage, though entry fees were lower then.

And, on the subject of entry fees…50k will get you VERY far if you only enter in maiden/claiming races. Yes, if you blow 30k entering your new horse in a stakes it’ll never win, you’ll lose a lot of money fast…but if you have a decent horse that can consistently place/win in maiden/claiming races, then you’ll be able to move up to an allowance horse, and then a stakes horse, etc. And you can get lucky. La Fiesta was a claimer from Final Furlong, Hearts Are Wild was sold for $15,000 before winning the Breeders’ Cup for his new(bie) owner, etc. (Oh, and for claimers…don’t be afraid to have your horse claimed. Worst case scenario you have at least $5,000 more than you did before and you can buy/claim a different horse)

Oh, and one final note:
The Select Auction is not meant for newbies. If you want to get a “steal” at $500 and buy 8 horses for under $10,000…fine. But it’s never going to happen at the Select Auction. That’s what the Annual Mixed Auction (held in July) and the Annual Foal Auction (held in December) are for. (Oh, and ask Cat for tips on snagging horses…she’s a champ at it!)

Okay, I’m still “new” here on FF, but I’ve had some really good luck. Maybe beginers luck as my first horse was a FREAK!

For newbies, I would suggest that you “shop” the claiming races. There are some great horses who run there. Yeah, you might not win, win, win with them, but there are just some horses who are just claiming runners and consistantly come in with money.

Secondly, look at the horses you do have. If they’re not winning try different equipment, different differences, different something. The old saying goes “Instanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.

Thirdly, watch the message boards. There are some people who clear out their “cull” stock (who might be good or just need more time, but don’t want to mess with it). Yes, there are MANY million dollar stables on the game, but have you ever seen the MASSIVE amount of horses they have?!?! I find it hard to manage 20 race horses.

In fact, for example, I just sold off a bunch of my horses that I was quite frankly just sick of messing with. Watch for the auctions. I’ve bought MANY good horses off the auctions for 500 to 1000 each. In fact, my 3 stallions I got for 500 or 1000 each. Yes, fluke, I know, but still I got lucky. Just gotta know how to bid!

The select auction ISN’T the place to buy a horse. It’s more or less a playground for those with tons of money! Although, I’ve done my damage on it too.

Just hang in there. You’ll get better horses as time goes on. And if you ever have a problem with your horses, post it to the boards. I’m sure someone can help you figure them out to make them winners, or at least money earners!!

Best Regards,

Just as a point of interest – note: thanks to insomnia – I looked up budgets for stables who joined since August. You and one other stable (Deadwood) are at the top of the list of budgets by over $30,000. So maybe you’d want to be looking at what you’re doing and giving tips to other newbies. :wink:

Thanks for the tips, you two.

Now, for just a few counter-points, but first, Shanthi, I completely admire what you’re doing and the reason I’m bringing this up is not so much for me to do better, but to see if there’re ways for newcomers to get involved and have fun from early on in their careers here. I’m doing this on the assumption that you’re looking to get and keep new blood. If you’ve got all the players you can handle now (I realize this is a hobby for you!) then I apologize.

  1. I didn’t realize the Select Auction wasn’t the place for us newbies. So that’s good info all around. Though I did get a weanling out of it. :slight_smile:

  2. I didn’t realize Furlong Farms was open to selling horses to players. Nor did I realize the big stables had so many horses that they could be coaxed into selling a horse to an interested and enthusiastic player. I’ve never thought to go look into this because I feel like I’m ‘snooping’ which, I guess, is a silly attitude to have.

  3. Claiming races: I’m scared to death to enter these!! If someone claims my horse, yes, I have $10,000 more, but one less horse, so now (if I’m a raw beginner and just have 1 horse) all I can do is claim or wait for a lucky auction or a stable cleaning house. I myself have tried to claim a few times and never got the horse, so I assumed most horses that went into claiming races were claimed.

  4. My stable budget. I bought into my budget by donating to FF. I was trying to set that extra $105K aside in my arguments, since I assume most people don’t donate when they’re just starting (I personally run a free website as a kind of public service, much like Shanthi does, so I’m more prone to offering early fiscal help to other sites than your average visiter). On the one hand, I’d be in the red without that extra injection of
    cash, but on the other hand I wouldn’t have spent $40k on a horse if I hadn’t had it, so its hard to say where I’d be.

  5. I guess a lot of it boils down to me, at least, not having proper patience. I wanna RACE! So maybe I don’t enter the right races (maidens). Once I feel my horse is rested, I’m so impatient to race him that I put him in the first race I can find that he’ll qualify for. For a 1 horse stable, assuming 2 weeks of rest and an average week to find a race he’ll qualify for, that’s one race every 3 weeks. Its hard, for me at least, to stay engaged when I go weeks at a time with nothing to do. (Again, I’m projecting to a certain point since, thanks to that injection of cash, I have 3 active horses, and in fact one of them I did get from a ‘cleaning house’ deal, for a low cost of $10K.)

In the end, it probably ALL boils down to not having patience. The internet
has a lot of us assuming everything is immediate. When (some) people join a site like this one, they’re wildly enthusiastic and want to dive right in. Personally, I tend to dive in and get in over my head in fact. blush.
I do wonder what it was like to get 6 horses, though. You’d be less afraid of claiming races, and more apt to have a horse that you could enter into a race that ‘fit’ that horse in the near future after starting…

Anyway, thanks for listening to all this. Your responses have been very encouraging! I’m going to start looking more closely at claiming races and do a better job of monitoring the boards for deals.

Well, I won’t object to more members, but my goal membership is around 75-100-ish, and we’re on the lower end of that, so I’m not hustling around for more people. Possibly in the spring when I upgrade to a larger hosting package I’ll have the room/flexibility to go to something like 150-200, but I also don’t want FF to get so big that no one knows who’s joining or leaving or who owns what horse.

It’s not that it’s “not the place” for newbies…but it’s not the place for cheap horses (and that’s generally what newbies are on the lookout for). As Nadia said, it’s mainly a “playground” for the more established, richer stables. It’s also a good way to know that the horse you’re selling will bring in at least a certain amount. This is the first year we’ve had the Select Auction, and in previous years, there were some VERY nice horses going for 100k or less because they were in the 2 other auctions (and people kept bugging me to be allowed to spend more if they had it, or buy more horses :wink:). Hence the creation of the Select Auction. (Also, at least for the horses that I consign, I set reserves based on what I think the horse is worth, as well as what the horse can earn. So basically anything from FF or Stillwater in the Select Auction should be able to pay back at least the reserve price fairly quickly.)

Now, don’t get me wrong. As certain members (cough Jason *cough) know, Final Furlong is not in the business of selling individual horses to individual members. Earlier this year I did offer about a dozen horses for sale to new members only, and occasionally I’ll put a few more on the sale page for new members only, but the main purpose of FF horses (at this point, with this level of membership) is to fill the races, and if FF sells all its horses, it can’t do that. (Plus, it’s not fair if I sell FF horses to you because you ask and don’t offer any to anyone else). And I can’t speak for other members (though I know some have done this), but I am generally willing to consider offers/requests on horses that I own (Stillwater Farms). Obviously, almost all of my horses are worth a lot more than a newbie can afford (not bragging, just statement of fact here as I’ve bred 37% stakes winners from racing foals). However, as long as it’s not a sentimental favorite of mine (though, granted, almost all my horses are :wink:), I’m generally willing to consider offering something in response to a polite request. Whether that be a cheap foal, or a cheap racehorse, or a discounted breeding, etc.

Actually, throughout this year, there haven’t been that many claims. In the past couple of weeks there have been, but on average most horses (not owned by FF, since FF enters horses too late for people to claim) don’t get claimed.

True, but there are probably just as many newbies who have joined since August who have a handful of horses and about as much money as they started with as there are newbies who have a handful of horses and only $1,000. So it is possible to keep yourself afloat even with buying horses…you just won’t be a millionaire overnight, unless you’re really lucky. :slight_smile:

True, but 3 weeks is a lot of rest for most horses. The unofficial “recommended” rest is 10-14 days, though horses can need anywhere from 5-25. I generally race all of mine either 10 or 14 days after their last race, unless there’s some need to race them sooner, or they look like they need more rest.

Very true, and I’ve been toying with the idea of having people start out with 2 horses instead of 1 so that if they pick 2 racers, they can generally have something running every week, assuming the schedule works out ok.
Also, with the improvements I have planned (though who knows when I’ll have time to work on them), there will be training, vet checks, workouts, etc. to occupy oneself with in the “downtime.” So even if you don’t have a horse running, you can be researching what distance/equipment a
horse likes, or figuring out how it stacks up against other horses, etc.

Well, when that was the startup system we were running on a different racing program (one that didn’t have online results, you basically just got to see an order of finish), we were running on 1:4 time (1 week real time = 1 month game time), there were only races once a week and only umm, 10? of those… For most of it SC wasn’t an option and I’m not even entirely sure we had turf races. And if your horse got injured you’d never know about it.

We voted to swap to real time about 12 months ago so real-time is still experiencing "growing pains. Shanthi and I coded the program that runs races and it has bugs in it we don’t know where they’re coming from. Overhauling the code for what, the 3rd time Shanthi?, is on the “to-do” list but Shanthi’s busy getting ready to graduate and I just started Grad School. Shanthi reorganized the way the database stores data about 3 weeks ago and I think claiming has been broken since then and neither of us has had time to fix it.

FF doesn’t “advertise” that it’s willing to sell Allowance level horses and below b/c we don’t want the hassle of selling to stables that are going to be gone in a week. Plus we’ve seen WAY too many newbies join, spend their startup money on over-priced weanlings, and then go bankrupt.

And adding more races/balancing the schedule better is still on the to-do list, but Shanthi had to make up the entire schedule (minus stakes races) from scratch, on her own. Now that we’ve gone through it we can see there are some issues (not enough high priced claimers, not enough open allowances, a bit heavy on F/M races, etc etc). But these are things we want to fix at set “points” (ie the start of the new year) in order to not confuse the heck out of everyone.

Thanks for letting us know you’ve got concerns, we appreciate the feedback a lot. But I’m not sure how/why you expect instant gratification out of a real time SIM game that goes for realism :wink:.

Actually, I did get a chance to fix claiming. :wink:

Ooh, awesome :slight_smile:. Welp, disregard that part of the post then.

Just one last point…obviously you boosted your budget by donating real money (which I am very grateful for :wink:). But it’s not like that’s not an option for any player. $20 is less than what most people spend on games (online or otherwise), and it would effectively triple your starting budget.

And, as I said before, newbies who didn’t “artificially” boost their budget seem to be ranging from holding their own + accumulating horses slowly to being broke + accumulating horses quickly. :wink:

Just hang in there buddy…

I’ve been playing since what, September 2004 [back then it was 4:1 time and was through till 2007]. Just enter your horses where they have a chance of at least paying you a dividend. Do not, no no no, enter your horses in stakes races. Even if they might come fourth, you shouldn’t bother with the big entry fees. MAKE SMART PURCHASES. Look for older geldings, they do great guns and rich big stables don’t want 'em come 5yo cos it’s time to make room for some other horses coming along the next year. Now is a very good time to do some buying.

In my first full year of playing I had the 2005 HOTY. So it DOES happen. Lots of newbies I have seen this year have had some luck with their horses, and I’m sure that the horses they’ve had luck with have been good, smart buys/claims. Run a search on the search page and see if you can find any 4yo/5yo geldings that are allowance runners and see if the owner will sell up.

Good luck!

Nothing much I can say that hasn’t already been said but I would like to emphasize that you should be on the lookout not necessarily for standout stakes horses (very well bred or stakes level horses will be expensive) but more for lower allowance horses that will consistently bring in a nice check to build up your budget. Bigger stables are more interested in their stakes horses so when they have a horse that is only allowance level they tend not to be so interested in him/her and would most likely be willing to sell him if asked nicely :slight_smile: . These are still very good horses with nothing wrong with them!

Oh and the claiming races are a JACKPOT! You have NO IDEA how many eventual stakes winners went through the claiming races this year!! Even the spectacular, the fabulous KING DAVID was in a claiming race earlier this year!! Final Furlong often enters some premo horses in them. Just keep your eye on them and look for a horse that could do really well if a change was made in distance/equipement or SC or whatever! I’m serious, some awesome horses go through the claiming races and somehow rarely get claimed.

I’ve entered lots of claiming races and never had a horse get claimed.
And I know the game seems really slow right now but real time is so much better then 4:1! 4:1 went faster but it always seemed like when you finally got your quality horse before you knew it the year was over and he was a “has-been”! I’ve noticed with real time, horses that in 4:1 would
probably never have amounted to much, now are winning lower stakes races! Its because of the extra time owners get to spend with them figuring them out.

Well anyway, thats all I have for now until I thnk if something else to be helpful about :slight_smile: -OH and FYI, I NEVER mind when I get an offer on one of my horses. Don’t be afraid to ask anybody, the worse that can happen is that they say no :slight_smile:

Once again, thanks a ton for all the feedback; its been very enlightening and encouraging!

But I’m not sure how/why you expect instant gratification out of a real time SIM game that goes for realism
Well, we’d have to define gratification, I guess. I don’t expect to do well instantly of course, but I’d like to be active instantly, I guess. And it looks like that may be coming in the future. And now, because like so many others I’m a frustrated game designer, I have An Idea!

Shanthi, how hard would it be to add a ‘standard’ race during the mid-week set of races. This race would have no, or a very low, entrance fee, and no purse. It’d always be a set length (for the sake of argument, say 6f) . Perhaps it’d alternate between dirt and turf, week to week.

Why? This would give us newbies something to do. With a standard length, and 14 days between surfaces, they could take their horses for trial runs using the various different kinds of equipment to get a feel
for what the horse does or doesn’t like. And in the meanwhile, we’d be watching for appropriate real races to enter.

Basically I guess I’m talking about poor man’s training…but it doesn’t sound like it’d take any coding…just adding the races to the schedule.

Just a crazy idea that came to me while walking to the train station today…

OK, so how is a race that gives you no money helpful? Especially if it’s only at one distance. Maiden/claiming races have entry fees that are between $500-$1,500 (that’s pretty low) and you can actually get money. Not to mention try out different distances, etc. Yes, a maiden race that is perfect for your horse might not come up, but barring my steeplechasers (since the schedule is rather light on SC races with the addition of turf this year), I can generally find a race for any/all of my 38 racers within 0-4 days of when I “want” to race them.

I have to admit I have been feeling lost. Reading the wealth of information that has come out of this post has helped and I think I can identify why personally I find myself in this state.
I think my problem is I came here knowing nothing about horse racing or indeed much about horses. I didn’t know things like what a maiden was and didn’t realise they were the races I should be focusing on until I went and looked it up, I didn’t know if my horse qualified until, it seems, all the
2yo maidens have finished for the year. Now I’ll accept that this may be a place that only horse racing enthusiasts should come, it has been built from a passion for horses and horse racing and people like me have no grounds to expect to be given a crash course in the basics.
I don’t refute your right to have that rule but will simply be disappointed. After starting up here a month ago I’ve had a growing interest in the “Sport of Kings” and horses in general. I drive pass paddocks every day to and from work and hadn’t really paid much attention to the animals grazing in them. Now I take a keen interest in what horses I see and
was unexpectedly delighted to see a new foal with its mother just the other day. I feel this game has brought me closer to a world I never appreciated and in that way I’ve already gotten something out of the experience.
The thing is, in the game itself I’m very concerned about my little stable. I have been trolling the claiming races, in fact I’ve grabbed two horses at $10000 each, I also grabbed a great little yearling for $5000 from buy
horses. At this point I don’t think I can buy any more or I won’t have the money to race them, I’ve seen Shanthi’s warning in a number of threads to people who’ve bankrupted themselves before they even raced the horses they’ve got, so I’ve been very aware of this problem.
So now I need to think about earning money with what I’ve got, I think I may have made a few mistakes.
First, I’ve been entering Conny in allowances, mainly because since
I’ve learnt what a maiden is I haven’t found any for a 2 yo and in keeping with the rules I can’t enter her in a claiming for 6 months. I have been reading the lineage, race history and GOT of every horse racing against her and I thought, in her last race that she had a chance at fourth, maybe even third. This tells me that I am not yet any good at reading this information.
This also affects my claimings, I picked what I thought were the best horses to claim based on the horse profiles and race history, but I think maybe I haven’t chosen well at all given my track record at judging virtual horse flesh. Now I can’t put these horses into claimings until they’ve had their three races. It seems to me that unless one of
these horses earns something I won’t have the money left to enter them in claimings.
So if you have some more of the good oil for this know-nothing-about-horses, I’d really, really appreciate the help.

I was thinking it’d help to give you an idea of what kinds of

equipment your horse likes. If I race a horse in a 4f dirt race with No Whip selected, then a

few weeks later race the same horse in a 6.5 f turf race using a Whip, it’s pretty hard to

determine (at least, for me) whether the horse does better or worse with a whip. This might

go back to my lack of real-world horse knowledge, though.

But I also may be missing

something, because Shanthi, you said something upthread that really perplexed me. You


That last bit, “they look like they need more rest”…how in the

world do you determine that kind of thing?

I’ll figure it all out eventually. For now I

have to go Scratch my little horse out of a NW3 race before its too late. :slight_smile:

If they suck in races, or if

they perform worse than they usually do, then I’ll give them more rest and see if they do

better. (Or try less rest, since rest = lose of fitness, too, so too much rest is bad).

Gotcha, so again its really a

matter of patience, getting to know your horses and kind of following your gut to a certain

point, am I right?

Well, I scratched <a

href=‘http://www.finalfurlong.org/viewhorse.php?horse=1782’ target=’_blank’>Crafting

Magic from a $55,000 purse NW3 race that I’m sure he had no hope in placing in.

Instead I’ll let him live an easy life until the 25th when there are some Starter races open

to 2yos.

Is that a wise move? Crafting Magic has only been in 3 allowance race, where he

came at best 6th.

Oh wait, to be in a Starter he has to have run a Claimer in the last

year (I’m finally learning!). So I guess I’ll have to wait until the 2009 calendar is up.

I don’t see any claimers or maidens open to 2yos between now and the end of the year.