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|What are racing styles?
When you enter a race, you will have to advise your jockey on how to run your horse. The way a horse runs is referred to as racing style, or just style. Flying for Home recognizes three basic racing styles: frontrunner, midpack, and closer. A frontrunner is a horse who will lead the early portion of the race, while a midpack horse will run a little off the pace and begin moving up to challenge the leader roughly midway through the race. A closer, on the other hand, will usually sit at or near the back of the field (horses in the race) and wait until the last moment to make a 'closing' move.
Each style is correlated to two base stats, which you can see on your horse's page. The style is listed directly above the two associated stats, so there should never be any confusion as to which stats correspond to which style.
|Selecting a Style
While all six of a horse's stats matter in races, the stats associated with their selected racing style will be have heightened importance. The bonus they receive for style depends upon their Style Proficiency as well as the values of the associated stats.
You should usually race your horse according to their best style. If you have stats, you can add up the total for each category and easily figure out the highest. For example, consider a horse with the following stats: 5 Breaking, 5 Early Speed, 6 Versatility, 7 Rating, 4 Acceleration, 6 Late Speed. If you add up each category, the horse would be 11 for Frontrunner, 13 for Midpack, and 10 for Closer. This means that they will perform best when running Midpack. In a case where a horse has a tie between two styles, you'll want to bring Pace into the equation. Whatever the case, always look for combination with the most high or fewest low stats.
|Pace of Race
|What is pace?
Unlike style, race pace is something you have no direct control over. No matter what your horse prefers, you can never guarantee a pace will fall in their favor. This is because pace is determined by the ratio of running styles of all horses in the race.
In the simplest terms, a fast past is set by having an abundance of frontrunners in the race. This is because there are many horses vying for the early lead, pushing each other to run faster in the early furlongs of the race. A slow pace is set when there are few (or no) frontrunners - most horses in the race run slower early on and will only challenge for the lead later in the race. An average pace happens when there is a normal balance of styles, with no real bias towards a faster or slower early pace.
Despite not having control over a race's pace, most horses have a pace preference. A horse's pace preference is determined by comparing their Early Speed to their Late Speed.
A horse with higher Early Speed is one who tends to want to take the lead in a race. They will benefit from a slow pace - where they can easily lead through the early furlongs without being challenged. This will allow them to conserve energy, still having enough left to fend off closers who move up to challenge at the end.
A horse with higher Late Speed is one who prefers to sit off the pace and close later. They will benefit from a fast pace - where the frontrunners run themselves down and end up with nothing left at the end. This makes it easier for closers to overpower them in the last furlongs, stealing the win at the last moment.
A horse with equal Early and Late Speed will have no preference. They will be able to adapt to changing race conditions with relative ease. Though they never see huge pace benefits, they will run more consistently in any pace condition.
|Pace vs. Style
Pace and style are commonly confused - please make note that they are not the same thing. In fact, they are not always correlated. You may have a horse who is best as a Frontrunner but prefers a slow pace, or a horse who is best as a Closer but prefers a fast pace.
Knowing how race pace is set can allow you to make some strategic decisions when selecting styles for your horses. If you know your horse prefers a fast pace, check their Frontrunner stats again. Are those stats tied with their other best style? In the case of tied styles, always go with the one that correlates to pace preference. If the style associated with pace preference is only 1 point lower, you might still wish to choose it and hope to get a pace bonus in more of their races.
If you do not know a horse's exact stats or know that their best style is 2+ points higher than their other styles, always go with their best style. While pace bonuses to PR are useful, you would be losing 4+ points from style (take the difference between best and second best x2) just for a chance at getting a few points. The difference, in most cases, would even out anyway, so you're best off sticking to consistently getting the bonus from best style.
|Pace Preference in Training
If you can see a horse's pace preference (Forever Pro traits panel), you can use this to your advantage in early training. If you can't see it - don't worry. Seeing it may make training slightly easier, but will not impact much in the long run.
If you know that a 2 year old (or other unmaxed horse) prefers a fast pace, you also know that their Late Speed is higher than Early Speed. When it comes time to do Interval training, you'll want to train Late Speed first.
If, on the other hand, your horse prefers a slow pace, you know that their Early Speed is better than Late Speed. When it's time to do Interval training, you'll want to train Early Speed first.
If a horse has no preference, you know that their Early Speed and Late Speed are the same. It won't matter which you train up first, so you'll want to look back to Breaking/Acceleration to determine which style, if either, will be higher.
Pace preference may be inaccurate if a horse is a gelding or has been fed Oracle. You should also keep in mind that it does not factor in Midpack stats - it's entirely possible your horse's best style is Midpack. Always keep an eye on Breaking and Acceleration in early training, as well as Rating and Versatility. This may sometimes give extra clues that will contradict the above suggestions - always feel free to adapt your training to what seems most logical for the horse in question. For example, if you know Breaking is 4 points higher than Acceleration, you may want to train Early Speed first even if the horse prefers a fast pace.
|What is Style Proficiency?
|Horses have three bars below their stats/stars on their main page. These are known as Style Proficiency, and there is one for each style. These include Frontrunner, Midpack, and Closer. Horses can improve their proficiency when performing Interval Training, In Company, buddy workouts or entering races. Racing improves proficiency faster, although 2 year olds gain proficiency slower. In addition, Style proficiency is in a state of constant flux, and declines over time.
|Style proficiency benefits horses in two ways. First, it will determine how much style bonus they receive in races. Secondly, unmaxed horses have a chance to gain bonus stats when training based upon their style proficiency.