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|Factors and Tools
As you will learn throughout this page, there are many factors that go into determining your horse’s talent and grade level, and this page will explore the tools that can be used to help a player do so in a useful manner. While Potential isn’t the only factor at play, it is considered the baseline for determining a horse’s talent level. Potential, as discussed in the Stats & Traits section of the Handbook, is simply the sum of a horse's six base stats. For players with Hidden Stats, you can see their exact potential while players without Hidden Stats can see a Potential Range. If a horse has 1 Breaking, 1 Early Speed, 1 Versatility, 1 Rating, 1 Acceleration, and 1 Late Speed their Potential would be 6. On the other hand, a horse with a 10 for each stat would be 60 Potential, otherwise known as Peerless.
Potential is simply another word for aptitude or talent. It is a measure of a horse's predisposition for racing well - or racing poorly. The higher a horse's Potential, the more likely they are to end up performing in the highest grades of races.
Please keep in mind that these are just a suggestion and if you can see Hidden Stats and/or Performance Ratings, you will likely have better results by utilizing those tools instead.
The first grade suggestion included is the Potential Grade. This is simply the grade a horse should do well in based upon their Potential. Potential is always the primary way to figure out what grade a horse is capable of entering, though some horses may end up in a higher or lower grade depending upon their feeding, training, and entering routine. The suggestion here generally aligns with the chart found further down on this page. You could consider this suggestion a target for your horse.
Potential Grade is adjusted based on Peak Gene for 2 and 3 year olds as appropriate for age. If you use an item to increase a horse's Peak (percentage) but not their Peak Gene, you will likely want to enter higher than is suggested. You may also see "Highest Available" for 2 year olds, which indicates that the horse should do well in the highest available grade. These horses are typically series candidates and will do well in G1, but can enter G3 or G2 races when G1 aren't available. Potential Grade for 3 year olds assumes they are entering 3 year old only races. If entering against older horses, refer to their Performance Grade.
The second grade suggestion given for a horse is called Performance Grade. This looks at race performance and suggests what grade is appropriate based upon their recent, non-Handily, Performance Ratings (PRs). This suggestion resets in January each year due to the many things that can change as horses age up or perform off season training. Performance Grade will not offer a suggestion until a horse has raced within the new year.
Once your horse has an eligible race under their hooves, you might notice an icon next to this suggestion. You will see the Underperforming icon () when a horse is running lower PRs than their Potential indicates they should be running. You can click the icon to go directly to the Performance Ratings Handbook page to troubleshoot what might be hurting your horse's PR.
On the other hand, you'll see the Overachieving icon () if your horse is running higher PRs than expected for their Potential. This is a great thing to see, but does mean you may need to enter the horse in a higher grade than Potential suggests to avoid getting Handily notes in future races. For example, if you have a 15 Potential horse it likely has a Potential Grade of Allowance, but if that horse is running 170 PR it will have a Performance Grade of Grade 1.
Considering the unpredictability of 2 year olds, they will never show Underperforming or Overperforming icons. You should pay more attention to Potential Grade than Performance Grade for them since their PRs can fluctuate significantly from race to race.
|What it Indicates
|Your horse’s Potential & Performance Grades give you an excellent idea of where to enter your horse. This would be a solid guideline for where your horse will place best against other horses. If a horse is performing very poorly at his suggested level, it’s a great time to ask a moderator or admin for help determining what might help your horse perform better!
|Performance Ratings (PR)
|What it Measures
Performance Ratings are a measure of how well a horse ran in a specific race. You can purchase these as a stablewide upgrade, but you can also estimate them by looking at a horse who placed before or after your horse in the race: Lengths Apart * 2 = Difference in PR.
PRs can vary from race to race for even the most accomplished horses. They are influenced by many factors each to varying degrees. Some larger components of PR include: Potential, Peak, Rest, Morale, Equipment notes and in some cases Mud and Experience. Other components of PR include: Energy, Consistency, Courage, Experience, Favorite Distance, Distance Proficiency, Surface Proficiency, Equipment, Jockey (and Familiarity), Track Conditions (Mud), Style Proficiency, sometimes Colt Composure/Filly Power, Track Familiarity, Travel, Soundness, Maturity, Pace, and Track Bias. This sounds like a whole lot of stuff, but it gets a lot easier to understand as you begin to race more!
It is worth noting here that injuries incurred during a race can reduce PRs and some things that have little to no influence on PR can contribute significantly to chance of injury.
|What it Indicates
You can use PR to determine what grade your horse should race in, as it is the most specific and detailed way to gauge a horse's true ability at a specific point in time. While all horses will experience rise and fall in PR, a significant change in PR can also indicate a problem. A horse could run a 200 PR one week and turn around and run a 190 PR the next week, but running 200 and then 150 would be concerning. Looking at the various factors that contribute to PR can help you determine why your horse's score might vary.
Horses who are downgraded will also have handicapped PRs, causing them to run a lower PR than they would have in the appropriate grade. Performance Ratings are never a reliable indicator of talent if accompanied by a 'Handily' note. Should you ever see this note, enter your horse in a higher grade immediately.
Always keep the date of last PR in mind. If a horse's last PR was 6+ months ago, it may in no way indicate their current capabilities. If you're looking at a 4 year old who last raced as a 2 year old, you might as well ignore their previous PR(s).
|Putting it Together
|What to Use When
|Now you're probably feeling a bit confused about when and where to use the various ways to measure your horse's talent. While any and all of these measures can be useful throughout a horse's life, there are certain times when one may be more useful than others. The sections below give some general guidelines as to determining where to enter horses of various ages and circumstances.
|2 Year Olds & 3 Year Olds
2 year olds, as a whole, are lower (current) Potential than older horses as they have not yet reached their maximum Potential. There is not significant difference between one horse and another, so Potential is rarely the deciding factor in 2 year old races. What is the most important factor? Peak! In fact, a 6 potential 2 year old can win series races over much higher Potential horses if their Peak and other smaller factors are better. PR can be useful as the year goes on - however, Potential is rarely a reliable grade or talent indicator for 2 year olds.
3 year olds are often somewhat in the same boat - as they are not maxed usually when it’s time for their Series races.
|Normal Mature Horses
Normal older horses are loosely defined as horses who are maxed in Potential, have high Morale, and are at Peak. These horses are the easiest to manage and enter in races, as they are very straightforward with little variability. Unless there is a problem, high Potential horses should race well.
When determining what grade a mature horse should be competitive in, look to Potential Grade suggestion. This is the easiest evaluation method and, thankfully, reliable for most well-attended horses.
Every now and then you will come across horses with special circumstances. These may be horses who meet any of the following cases: out of Prime and losing Peak, low Morale, and/or low Courage and/or Consistency.
Performance Ratings are the most reliable indicator of what grade horses with special circumstances should enter. You may also find PRs more useful when determining whether a horse should enter regular G1 races or Stellar races or when deciding which of your horses to campaign for series races.
The chart below serves as a loose guideline for choosing which grade to enter. . When in doubt, always check PR if a recent, not 'Handily', PR is available.
If you don't have Hidden Stats (and exact Potential) and don't want to calculate out PRs, you can use the chart below to figure out what grade to enter based on your horse's Potential range. This guide is for horses entering 3yo+ division races. Younger horses of any potential may be able to enter higher grades. Refer to Peak (or PR) for young horses.
It's recommended that you start with the lower suggested grade for a horse's first race as they will probably have race notes. After that, try entering them in the higher grade a few times to see how they do. Only bump back down to the lower grade if a horse is never placing 6th or better.