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|Types of Tracks|
|There are 4 different types of racetracks on Flying for Home: Flat, Steeplechase, Harness and Series. You can view a list of all tracks on the game on the Tracks page of the Racing tab. This list is sorted by region (American Tracks and European Tracks with Pacific Tracks only used for Series Races), so you can easily find the tracks most relevant to you.
Flat tracks are the most numerous tracks and also host the most races, ranging from claiming to G1. Any horse who is not a steeplechaser will race at these tracks. These are also the tracks you'll choose from when selecting your primary home track as well as additional training assistants.
Steeplechase tracks host only steeplechase races. You will not be able to set a horse's home track to any of these tracks unless they've been transitioned to steeplechase. This means that, most likely, you won't need to worry about these tracks until you're more established in the game.
Harness Tracks host only Harness races. The only horses that will be eligible to be assigned to these tracks must be of the standardbred breed. There is 3 tracks in each region (Americas and Europe).
Series tracks host all of the series races on Flying for Home. These are special G1 races where the best of the best compete for various championships. No horses can have these set as home tracks, ensuring there is no 'home track advantage' in series races.
The Pacific Region only has one track which is a Series Track and therefore holds only series races and no other types of races.
When completing the tutorial, you will select your home track and have assigned all of your horses to it. Over time, through training and racing at the track, they'll build up familiarity with that track. The higher their familiarity, the better 'home track advantage' they'll have when racing at that track.
Though it is always a good idea to race at your horse's home track if possible, there's no reason you can't race your horse at other tracks in their region if there is no suitable race at their home track. However, horses will gain familiarity with each track they race at. Their familiarity with a track (including home track) will decline each month as usual. This means that you'll need to regularly race at a track to maintain high levels of familiarity.
Any amount of track familiarity contributes to familiarity scores in Performance Ratings (PRs), so your horses will benefit if they're consistently racing at the same track(s) even if it's away from home. Their Performance Rating (PR) may be slightly lower away from home, but they can still be quite successful in races.
Entering races away from a horse's home track (in the same region or out of region) will reduce PR, Rest, Energy and may contribute to injury. There is a hidden travel preference trait which determines how well a horse travels to other regions, also affecting how much energy and rest as well as a decline in PR they will lose from racing in outside of their home tracks. It is even more significant if a horse is raced outside of it's home region. It also determines how well they do at home track vs. unfamiliar tracks. The travel trait is largely influenced by the intelligence gene.
If your stable grows significantly, you might find yourself struggling to fit all of your horses into one region's races. At that point in time, consider hiring training assistants in the other region(s). This will allow you to split your stable in half - racing some of your horses in your original region and some in a different region. This does add extra expenses, so you'll only want to do this when you have a very high number of racing horses.
It is important to note that there is a 12 month cool-down period before you can cancel assigned Training Assistants, so be sure you are assigning the Assistant to the correct track before finalising the contract!
When completing the tutorial you contracted your first jockey. In a few weeks, you'll get a notification in your inbox letting you know that your contract is about to expire. Be sure you go extend your contract when you see this notification. If you do not extend your contract, you may lose access to the jockey you've already assigned to all of your horses.
You'll most likely only need one jockey for your horses unless your stable grows quite large. However, if at any point you decide you need a second jockey (such as a steeplechase jockey), you can contract another one on the Jockey page found on the left side of your Stable. This page also has information about custom jockeys - which may be something you want to consider as you get a better grasp on racing.
|Importance of Jockeys|
Contracted jockeys cost money, so no doubt you're wondering if it's worth the expense. The answer is yes. Contracting a jockey allows you to assign them to your horse. Over time, through racing and training, your horse will build up a bond, know as familiarity, with their jockey. This will increase their Performance Rating (PR) in races.
In addition to familiarity, jockeys have their own stats. While this is not a major component of races, it can be enough to swing things. These stats are hidden and can range from best to worst. (Exception being custom jockeys, which are guaranteed to be the best.) If you notice all of your horses consistently performing lower than you'd expect, you might want to consider trying a new jockey. This should be a last resort and done only after you've exhausted every other possible stat/trait that impacts race performance.