One of the most important changes in Racing 3.0 is the banding of horses by ability levels. This puts an EXTREME value on optimal racing: the right distance, the right format, and when possible, the right fields. There are simple methods to identify the latter (eyeball levels in the race) and great tools (SN Pro, etc) to help with that. I want to focus this piece on the quickest, most cost efficient way to “discover” your horse either for the first time, or rediscover it in this new racing meta.

### Optimal Distance

In Racing 2.0, horses might have had more than one distance they could compete at. In 3.0, for lower VAR horses (think under 65) honing in on your ONE optimal distance is going to be the difference between a positive or negative ROI. When you rank horses by their “best ability” (which for all horses is 1000 or 2600), as 3.0 does, hitting the one distance within that where you have the biggest relative advantage is goal #1. Otherwise, you’re “wasting” levels. A 478 carried by its mean speed at 2600, might be the equivalent of a 150 at 1000 without the DP. I consider that “wasting” 338 levels of ability putting it at a huge disadvantage. That’s an extreme case to highlight the principle of “wasting” levels, but it happens to a less obvious extent at every distance.

### Optimal Format

We currently have 4 primary race payout formats that reward varying percentages of the field:

**12-Horse Top 3 Payout (T3):**Top 25% of field get paid (**50%:**0x,**67%:**0x,**75%**: 1.8x,**84%**: 3x,**92%**: 7.2x)**12-horse Top 6 Payout (T6):**Top 50% of field gets paid (**50%:**2x,**67%:**2x,**75%**: 2x,**84%**: 2x,**92%**: 2x)**6-horse Winner Take All (WTA):**Top 16.7% of field gets paid (**50%:**0x,**67%:**0x,**75%**: 0x,**84%**: 6x,**92%**: 6x)**6-horse Top 2 Payout (T2):**Top 33% of field gets paid (**50%:**0x,**67%:**1.8x,**75%**: 1.8x,**84%**: 4.2x,**92%**: 4.2x)

Depending on our horses mean and variance, it will have relative advantages at certain payout thresholds (percentile speeds). A high mean, low VAR horse will have a much better relative 50th percentile speed (T6) than it will an 84th percentile speed (WTA). Conversely, a low BA, high VAR horse will ave a much better relative 84th percentile speed (WTA) than it will a 50th (T6). Finding that sweet spot, the percentile speed your horse excels at relatively (50th, 67th, 75th, or 84th), is the key to profit in Racing 3.0

### Discovery Workflow

Let’s begin with a situation facing a bunch of us; we have a bunch of horses just given new levels and we don’t even know which horses to prioritize.

**Step #1:** Start with your “top of class” horses. All other things equal, the horses starting near the top of a class have a relative ability advantage, at least in terms of mean speed. We’re looking for x80+ class levels to test first (80-100, 180-200, 280-300, etc)

**Step #2:** Amongst your high-level horses, let’s start with high-VAR horses. This is a bit subjective but let’s say anything over 65 VAR (or expected high VAR based on parents if low raced).

**Step #3:** If not fully discovered, based on what info you do have (expected DP, early results) test the most likely distances in frees or cheap paid. Follow the flames.

**Step #4**: Once your optimal distance is settled, let’s move to payout format. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but generally if a horse has 90+VAR, I’ll start with a WTA and a T3. If a horse has 80-89 VAR I’ll start with a T3 and a T2. And if a horse has 65-79 VAR, I’ll start with a T2 and aT3. This is basically all about how your 67th, 75th, 84th percentile speeds scale (those being the payout thresholds and the more VAR the better the higher percentile speeds should be)

**Step #5: **Let’s now test our lower VAR horses with x80+ levels. These are easier. If they are 40 VAR or below, stick to T6/Double Ups. In the 50-60 range you could dabble in some T2’s.

**Step #6:** Finally let’s test your high VAR horses that are mid-lower class. The higher the VAR, the less level matters. The difference between 50 levels in Class 2 thru 5 is more or less the difference between a Z10 Genesis and a Z9 Genesis, and no horse with high VAR is afraid of that. Repeat steps #3-4.