Kudos and high praises for our recent blossoming at the BTB offices.
Good writers and good articles are proliferating at a happy rate. This veteran reporter would like to join the recent trend toward articles outside the normal framework of race previews. (Although, the previews always have been and always will be our best contribution to the game.)
It seems like there are a fair amount of new players these days, and as such I thought maybe I would offer some basic lessons I have learned after running a modestly sucessful, small operation for 20 years in the Sim.
The first and most basic advice I can give a new player is this: Your basic job as a Sim trainer is to learn what your horse wants in terms of class, surface and distance. There is a good reason that class is listed first.
Unless you enjoy repeated beatings about the brow, you have to race your horses where they can win. You can set everything up perfect for a Sim horse and still get beat. If you ask a horse to compete at anything other than its prime conditions, you increase your chances of missing the board. If you see your horse getting beat bad in consecutive races, you have limited choices. You can drop in class, or you can send to the farm. There is a confidence factor in the game and if a horse keeps getting beat it loses all confidence. Conversely, if you can somehow win a few in a row with a horse it is easier to keep going.
An ancillary point becomes featured here: Get in control of your horse’s form cycle. If a horse you think has earned another chance goes bad, the best way to give them another chance is to rest the horse. Then, maybe the first race back is just an easy race. You may even tinker with the effort. Second race back, horse starts to show some life. As a trainer, you may now fairly anticipate that your horse is sitting on a big race.
This writer has witnessed top Sim trainers use this strategy to huge success in big spots over the years. They know when their horse is ready to give its best.
Conversely, you may ultimately begin to anticipate when your horse is about to go over the top. You will know ahead of time when you may consider backing off on a horse.
Resting horses became much more convenient in the new Sim, with the ability to send a horse to farm. Very often, when I find myself shopping the claimers, I see a horse that I know just needs a long rest. The back class is there, and too many races have taken their toll. While Sim horses may indeed be machines, they are not machines without damage from overuse.
Other points to consider may be:
– If you are unsure how much rest to give a horse, err on the side of more rest.
– When you go shopping for horses, whether in claims or at auction, give extra consideration to 4yo horses. This is the year in which many Sim horses experience their most significant improvement. They also become physically mature and ready to withstand the hard rigors of racing. When you are shopping for runners, also give extra consideration to horses that have not tried a certain surface or distance yet. The most obvious example is a horse that never tried turf, or never tried dirt. (I now agree with my friend Chicago Nextbonus Bill who says poly tracks are a farce and should be eliminated.)
Ideally, you may hold an opinion on a horse as to what it will want. You may look at a horse and say to yourself, “this looks like a horse that would want two turns on the turf.” And, you notice it has tried turf, but only sprinting. So, your appraisal of the horse fits an option with the horse.
I believe it is true that the new Sim is tougher. There are a lot more fast horses than there used to be. Speed figures done blowed up, yall. But you know what that means? That means the castoffs run faster, too. You can find good horses in claiming races. The crumbs that fall off these table are more appetizing than they used to be.
– If you have a question, look for people in chat and ask away. There is a long, long tradition of veteran players helping new players in the Sim.
So, here is to tradition!!!