Updating the newbie guide?

I was looking at the newbie guide, and figured it might be good to have a section about training practices, shipping, dealing with natural energy, jockey selection, leasing and breeding.  We’ve all had about a year to play around with the new racing code, experienced some of the downfalls and a lot of the cool niftiness of all these options.  For someone just coming in, I imagine it’s a tad overwhelming. 

I’m asking folks to post questions or advice on certain problems they’ve run into/experienced/avoided.  If it’s okay with Shanthi, I’d love to see some of what’s generated here added to the newbie guide.  We’ve got a wealth of information and experience among us, so let’s share it.  =)

I’ll probably add my 2 cents tomorrow.  It’s too late tonight.

Just to start the ball rolling, though:

Stable Location:  Where should I build my barn?  This is probably the most important decision you will make, as it will have a lasting effect for however long you play the game.  Location, location, location!  Think carefully about it.  Australia might seem like a good place to be, as it does have races almost all year round.  That’s great if you can keep your horses locally within Australia.  However, if you want to send your horses to a different track, it’ll cost at least $25,000 a pop to send them to the United States, and another $25,000 minimum to get them back home.  So, in order just to break even, a horse has to earn at least $50,000 while abroad before you can even think about turning a profit.  Choose a location that’s closed to several tracks as it opens up a wider range of possibilities and keeps shipping costs to a minimum because you can race your horses closer to home. 

e.g. I’m located near Belmont.  It’s $100 to ship to Belmont, $200 to ship to Aqueduct and around $500 to ship to Saratoga.  And, for the most part, at least one of these three tracks is usually in use throughout the year.

I had my stable located about a 100 miles from Churchill Downs, KY, and that was before I EVER had a clue about the way things would go with the code and how much money it would cost to ship my crazy kids to their races. I’m just LUCKY things ended up the way they did… I can now ship at a fairly low rate all around the U.S., and as for shipping outside the U.S.–I usually don’t do it unless it’s for a stakes race, because those usually are the “big money” races and just about as worth the effort of taking a chance on entering a stakes as shipping from country to country (hey, if you’re gonna put that much on a horse, I say go all out!). So yeah… :stuck_out_tongue: My two-cents again. I’m not sure what you would do if you stayed within a certain country alone though… In this game, it seems like most of the races I see are located in the U.S., Australia, and Canada, with occasional big stakes races in England, Japan, etc. (can’t remember them all :/). I don’t know if that is necessarily the way it is, but–basing all of this on what I see, personally–I think if people want to stay near their home country, that’s great, but I don’t know how that would work if the country they wish to be located in, only gets one big stakes race a year or so. That makes staying within their country pretty difficult I would think, and making a profit nearly impossible. :S

Actually, I’ve been meaning to revamp the newbie guide for a long time, and just fold it in with the rest of the FAQ (as its own section, though).  So yeah, feel free to come up with more info for it. :slight_smile:

I have lumped all the newbie guide questions (including Cat’s addition, above) into the “Starting Out” section of the FAQ. :slight_smile:

As always, if you have suggestions for FAQ questions to ask, please post/PM.

Was going to post this in response to some post regarding NE.  Forgot where it was, but still have the post.  Figured it’d be good info to have on hand.

What is Natural Energy?

Natural Energy (NE) is separate from and unrelated to a horse’s “energy” rating, denoted by a letter grade, that you see on your training summary page.  Think of NE as a horse’s mental attitude towards racing.  When he’s fresh from the farm, his mind is also fresh and relaxed.  The longer he is away from the farm, his NE decreases.  It will decrease faster with training/racing, but even just being at the track will decrease it.  The lower NE gets, the less interested a horse will be in racing, and the MORE he will act up during training.  Also, you will see a decrease in his performance as his NE decreases, because he’s not as interested in passing the other horses.

How do I tell how much Natural Energy my horse has?

The only way to gauge NE is by the jockey’s comments during a workout.  Unlike other comments, which are based on how well a jock knows his mount, NE comments are usually pretty spot-on, with a very small margin of error.  “Lack-luster” and “Not interested in racing” are phrases that you should look for if you want to avoid the above comment (the one about ripping the jock’s pants off and heading off done the road), which pretty much means your horse is practically tanking on NE. 

What do I do if my horse is low on Natural Energy?

If I see “lack-luster” in a jock’s comments, I just ship the horse home for a month or so.  He probably doesn’t need that length of time to regain his NE, but better safe than sorry.  Typically a horse should have some time off at the home farm at the very, very least–once every six months.  I like to do it every 4 to 5 months, depending on his performance and what his jock tells me during workouts.  Some barns who race their horses close to home will ship horses home between races, or for a week or so, in order to avoid having to do a long layup later on in the year.

Screw Natural Energy!  My horse is a monster, he can run 24/7/365.  Anytime, anywhere!

If you continue to work a horse with no NE, you can, effectively, shorten their racing career/life-span one day at a time.

Much like real horses, FF ponies are not machines.  They need time to unwind and just be a horse, or else they get bored, go crazy and refuse to perform.

You wrote too much, and I’m not going to bother to read the above.  Tell me what you said in a sentence so that maybe I’ll read it and remember.

So, the moral of the story is: Rest your ponies at home at least a couple times a year.

Hope this helps…to whoever I was trying to help originally.

Great post Cat and I bet this is the post you were looking for here

Lol, Love that last part!

Heh.  Glad you like it.

On the dailyjolt (college-wide forum) for my uni, long posts would usually get a response along the lines of, “Too long, didn’t read.” 

Figured that the dailyjolt wasn’t the only place people don’t read long, rambling posts.  ;D

…especially when sick. I only read this post because I saw Jade quoted something, even then I scanned Cat’s post to figure out what was going on!

People with good humor amuse me greatly :slight_smile:

Kudos on the effort put forth towards this, Cat. :wink:

I was going to ask this a long time ago but was a tad frightened to…

I run my horses at the track and then send them straight home after every race to recoup–is this wrong? I notice that they tend to run on F condition, but I never run them on F energy–they always have A energy when I ship them to the track. Am I doing this right? Should I not be shipping them home after every race so that they can train and get in better condition before each race?

I’ve never seen that answered before, because I don’t know if anyone else does it… That is, ship their horse home after every race…

P.S. Very well thought-out answers to very common questions. Thanks for that, Missuz Cat :]

I spent most of the second half of last year doing exactly that, and my ponies didn’t seem to suffer too much.  In fact, they did much better than when I left them at the track to recover (and still they had F’s or D’s if they were lucky for fitness).

This year I’m attempting to balance the two out more, and trying to keep horse’s fitness levels up around C’s if I can.  I don’t know if that’s improved their running any or not, but it hasn’t hurt them.  It does take awhile to see a fitness improvement in them though, so if your horses are being successful with your current strategy, don’t feel like you have to change it.

Yay, thank you Andrea!  Glad someone else is jumping in on this conversation. =)

This wasn’t supposed to turn into an “Ask Cat” thread.  Heaven knows, I don’t know all.

I would be concerned about the cost of constantly shipping back and forth.  I imagine that adds up.

When I’m at my home tracks of Santa Anita and Del Mar I like to ship home after every race, esp. Santa Anita b/c its only 43 miles away. Letting the horses rest at home really seems to help them recover a lot faster. I always try to race with A fitness and of course I go for A energy as well but I’m ok with racing on A/B/C energy…I’m trying to stay away from racing below C energy this year. I’ve been noticing that if I race my horse, ship him home immediatly(when home is only 100miles at the most away) they recover fast enough to keep their A fitness and I can race some of them with even the precious A/A energy/fitness ratings without touching them in workouts. I’m trying out some new techniques this year so I’m not yet sure what will work best…

I should’ve mentioned that I, too, only ship home after every race if it’s a race a Belmont/Aqueduct/Saratoga (I’m located outside of Belmont).  The horses who I’ve given in and shipped to Gulfstream of Santa Anita have to stay where they are for at least 2 races before I’ll bring them home.  The NE seems to play a large factor in racing.

Jade, I can only dream of running horses with A/A.  What sort of workouts do you use?  I’ve been doing 2 mile gallops on any horse with an A/B energy and C/D/F fitness, but they never seem to make it up past C.  I’m guessing that racing just isn’t enough to boost them to B. Typically seems like the horses recover in 5-6 days from their gallop and I do it all over again.  I’ve been experimenting with 1/2 mile breezes lately, but I’m not convinced that’s a better fitness gain for energy loss ratio yet.

Well things are sort’ve an unorganized mess right now, I started the year by entering horses in races and working them out like I did half of last year with a series of 5f breezes(70% effort) and a 1-1.5mile jog a week before the race which worked great last year and might have worked ok this year except I’ve been busy and I’ll forget to go online and do the workouts…so then they were ending up without all their workouts(which meant fitness was not A) but enough workouts to bring their energy down. Last year, the way it worked it was an all or nothing thing where they were either super fit and won or not fit enough but with low enough energy that they lost…badly. As you can imagine this kind of workout required trips home about every 3 races for a couple of weeks.

This year, especially since Shanthi said she changed the way energy works, I’m going to try to do something where I can just enter horses and forget about them with less workouts overall. My most consistent horses seem the best to test things out on. Before Shanthi announced changing how energy works I worked out my mare Gazelle(who seemed to adore that workout schedule last year-it was her best year ever with 4 GI wins and couple of speed records) the way I did last year(except I think I missed one) and she got 3rd on turf which isn’t her favorite-so I figured it was a good performance. I sent her home after that race to rest for a few weeks and then shipped her to Austraila for the Epsom and she hasn’t had any workouts but is currently A/A. Tomorrow we’ll see if this kind of thing works(last year what worked for Gazelle generally worked for the rest except she recovers super well and trains very well too-she’s been my super reliable filly which is something I never thought I’d say lol), if it does I guess I might try to get horses fitness up with some breezes, maybe I’ll do it at 50% now, race them, rest them then not touch them and race them again. Not quite my “set it and forget it” ideal I was going for though(maybe if the scheduler allowed you to change effort % that might help), especially once the Santa Anita season ends. So yeah, basically, I have no idea what I’m doing! lol :wink:

*also one reason it might be easier for me to get to A/A is because my horses, after 6 months of campaigning like that last year seem to hold onto fitness really well(they don’t drop dramatically overnight like they used to while resting)-which is something I think Shanthi said she coded for…(makes sense, really fit horses stay fit longer during periods of rest) AND because they are so fit breezes don’t drop their energy nearly as much as when I start a new horse on this type of training.

*Another note: I’ve noticed RL trainers prep their horses for races with some breezes before the race…so I guess what did last year was sorta similar, except I did nothing else(just a few breezes, a jog and that’s it) and again, this year I’m going for a more balanced ratio of energy/fitness.

**And sorry if this is a bad place to make a post like this, I’d add a word of warning to Newbies though: USE AT YOUR OWN RISK…don’t look at me for the right thing to do…like I said, I have no idea what is the best way for me right now(I’m in experiment mode) and everybody has the “right” way for them that can be completely different…

Yeah, I’ve been tempted to set up the “set it and forget it” schedules again for some of my horses… Brought the 2yos who are 15h+ to the track to start them on some easy workouts, so maybe I’ll add some of the 3yos and see what works.  It does seem like workouts are taking a lot less out of horses than they used to, so now I’m getting more willing to experiment. :slight_smile:

I’ve got a really easy walk/jog/canter 5 day rotation for my 2yos, and they seem to be thriving. This is a “Set it and forget it” Training program that I monitor weekly or biweekly. So far so good, though Fitness gain is slow. I did this as well in Jan, sent them all home in Feb, and now they’re back at the track to prepare for March.

My 3yos( and older) have another “set it and forget it” training, which uses the walk/jog/canter AND 2 1 mile gallops thrown in. So far, none of my ponies have tanked on the NE from the constant training and their fitness is above c ( Many at a or b).

as a rule, I do not breeze my horses unless they -need- a race and I can’t find one, then it’s a 100% ( or even 110% 3 furlongs.

MS - When you say 5 day rotation do you mean, work say Sunday then not till 5 days later ie next would be Thursday?

I tried something similar last year but all I did was flatten the horses, I had to go back to training randomly, although it looks like there has been changes since then?

I’m leery of the set it and forget it schedule.  I had a horse break her leg at a walk when she was on a very mild one (walks and jogs maybe 2 or 3 times a week).

I had the same thing happen this year with one of my 2yo’s. She went on a 1 mile walk and broke her leg. Luckily I just so happened to be checking how they were doing in there workouts and caught it.