Among the many aspects of the game which players may find confusing, at least from a strategic perspective, is bidding races. Bidding races can be an excellent tool for you to progress your horse but you may experience some frustration in your race bidding and may be asking why are all my bid races getting big fields and my horse ends up losing? Well this guide will attempt to help you navigate those problems and present you with an opportunity to make the most of your bids.
The current SIM allows you to card races wherever you want on any day or card. Prices vary and you can easily find those in the bid race section the only things I will point out are you get a slight discount for bidding 21 days early (3 credits) and local bid races are slightly more expensive. You also get a discount for bulk purchases of races. You have a rather staggering number of options to consider when bidding races as they can be carded for virtually all age groups and race types. With so many options where do you get the best chance for your credits?
High Value Bid Races:
Low End ($30,000 or less) Starter ALW – I consider these to be the best possible races to bid as they usually give your horse an excellent chance to win. I’m working on the assumption that you got your horse through a low end claiming race and they romped – won by 3+ so you have a horse that is far, far better than it’s $5000 tag. Park that horse in a track you like (let’s take Longchamp in Paris for example) and watch the BPs roll in. This strategy is especially effective when you are one of the extreme spectrums such as 4.5f or 15f. In my opinion one of the most valuable horses in the SIM is a 15f $5K SA horse who can go out and there ring up the BPs for you. You will have a high degree of success and will generally be pleased with the results. As always use caution for all horses who run in the 8f-10f zone, especially on the dirt. You can find some extremely fast horses even in 5K SA races.
Conditional (beyond 2L,1x) ALW races – You will want to be careful here, 2Ls are going to show up in my section below, and all allowance races must be approached with caution as they can attract full fields of fast horses. However, there is going to be a time when you get a horse where the distance/surface come together and your horse takes a big jump forward. For example suddenly you discover your horse just blew up a 11f turf race and won by 3. Bidding a 4L at 11, 11.5 or 12 is a good idea for the development of your horse and may in fact lead to the foundation that gives you a stakes quality horse. One of the best advantages of race bidding is that you can control exactly how far you want your horse to run. I take advantage of this and make slight adjustments to my horse’s races so that I may get a strong feel for where it can run.
Local Races SA and Conditional ALW – While slightly more expensive, local races, especially at the less popular racing meccas can provide you with a steady stream of wins and BPs. If you happen to have a turf based FL tag horse who can get 10f, you will find very few others who can run with you. Care should be taken though, local racing by itself isn’t always a value. For example, there is currently only one MSW for 2yo colts with the FL tag. If you were to bid on you would certainly get a full 14 horse field which is great if you are just contributing to the SIM but not so great if you want your horse to win.
Low Value Bid Races:
Claiming Races – Personally, I never find claiming races to be a good bid. What is the upside? Your horse runs well and is claimed? Not only have you lost your horse you basically paid the SIM to lose your horse. I understand the SIM never seems to card enough of the claiming races you want or need, there are no $150K claims or if your horse isn’t good enough for 150K but too valuable for 20K you may be tempted to bid a $75K but again I just don’t think the value is there. Claiming races should really be half price because of this paradigm.
Maiden Races – Maiden races seem to be the most often bid of all the races so why are they low value? Well first, you don’t even know if your horse is any good. Entering an unraced horse into a maiden is simply guess work. Second there are usually an overload of maiden races although that can be used to achieve a slight advantage. If you see that are a large number of 6f MSW carded in 3 weeks then adding a couple more of your own further dilutes the fields offering you a chance for a 8 field maiden. It isn’t assured and it is a risk but this is the only manner in which I would find maiden races worthwhile. Certainly avoid the distance benchmarks – for example when it becomes possible to card an 8f 2yo race everyone is going to enter that race. Likewise with a 10f 3yo race. There is some value to a 4yo+ maiden but really, if your horse has not broken it’s maiden by then is it really worth the investment?
2yo and 3yo 2L ALW – This is the worst race in the SIM to card in terms of value. You are certain to get a full field of fast emerging horses in which you may easily find your bid horse sitting at 8/1. These are simply money pits.
The Open Allowance:
The case of the open allowance has its pros and cons. Since it has no limiting conditions it is the cheapest of all races to bid. Since people gravitate toward conditional allowance races they often won’t be as full. They also have the largest purses if earnings are a priority to you. The open allowance offers many slight advantages, the only disadvantage is there is nothing to prevent a graded quality horse from using your open allowance as a prep for a stakes race or as a drop in class to get back into form. Approach with caution in the 8-10f range but bid with confidence, especially on the less popular but still lucrative tracks (think New Mexico or British Columbia) at either end of the distance spectrum.
I hope this guide has given something to think about when bidding races. At the very least it will allow you to ascertain what you likely will be facing in your bid race and hopefully this knowledge will allow you to improve your chances of reaching the winner’s circle.