There’s been a lot of talk in the metaverse about new stable owners & making it a great experience to get started. This is an area that has room for improvement (onboarding new users is always a challenge!), so here’s a great way to find a horse that will make the game more fun.

Before we get into the details, let’s quickly discuss the elephant in the room… What is a good starter horse? Or what is a good horse in general? I will concede that there are many opinions on this, but here’s my generic definition.

A good horse is one who: makes the game fun to play. This should be a horse that has a chance to win races & that consistently places in the top 3 money positions. It should be able to find a niche that keeps it approximately ROI neutral, making it fun to play by always having a chance for success. A good horse is also able to be acquired at a cost that makes sense, whether a Buterin budget play or solid Nakamoto.

A good horse may not be: an ATM (aka a huge moneymaker) or a champion. It may not be a highly desirable breeder because of flaws. It may not compete in Class 1 against the best horses in the game.

Okay, we’ve got that out of the way! Let’s get to finding this rather elusive horse! But I think we will find, these good horses with some warts are way more common and inexpensive than you might expect!

The first thing people ask me is: “What do I look for when buying a horse?”. They want a formula to follow, but fortunately, there is no magic bullet! Why fortunately? If it was easy, everyone would do it and there’d be no hidden gems waiting for you to gobble up.

The answer is, I look at a lot of things… Odds (depreciated), flames (the new odds), win rate, show rate, parents success, parents’ flames, parents’ odds, siblings’ success, speed, distance preference, ROI, distance preference ROI, coat color, & sometimes a guy feeling! So, LOTS of things can go into my decision.

But most of the time, you have 30-45 seconds from the time a killer deal hits the market to needing to buy, so you can’t look at everything! You have to figure out your secret sauce of what’s most important. You want to spend a little time researching your strategy and knowing what you’re looking for in a horse, so when you see it pop up in your budget, you can pounce!

So lets get into the tools that will help us QUICKLY make a buying decision and help us research the traits that we can key on when buying a good horse.

While there are many great tools to dig into horses, I will be using two to find a good horse. These are probably the two most widely used tools in the Zed metaverse and you should 100% use them for almost all your Zed needs.

Like an action movie (sure, in this instance, I’m The Rock), let’s start at the end and see what we’re looking to accomplish then flashback to how we got there.

The Action: Buying A Perfect Good Horse

The Rock erects new action movie called Skyscraper about a building on fire  - JoBlo
My arms look like this… Promise.

The clock is ticking and a bomb is about to take out the Digital Derby studio… Only one man can save the day, Naptown Stables and his trusty steed Go Golden Go

While buying a Zed horse doesn’t quite have the same consequences as the destruction of a city, a bad choice could derail your stable strategy. When it’s time to buy a horse, the first place I go is This site updates listings in real-time and gives you all the info you need on a horse in less than 2 clicks!

When you land on the site, you will see a streaming list of all horses that are on sale most recently! if this wasn’t awesome enough, they offer super powerful filtering that allows you to slice and dice this in whatever way you want. I typically start by looking at the newest listings and seeing if anything catches my eye. Some of the best deals can be found on this view, but you have to be fast! Some of these sales take less than a minute if they are amazing!

Above, you can see the standard view. You see the horse name, color (and rarity), overview of flames, odds, wins (hopefully soon!), and number of races. You also see how much the horse costs. This view gives me plenty of info to see which horse I want more info on & the quick view link under each listing will give you TONS more great data.

Before we pick the horse we want to buy, let’s understand the amazingly powerful filters that can help us get a list of horses that a.) meet our criteria and b.) meet our budget without scrolling through all the new horses. Sometimes the best deals are hidden and we need to become masters of finding them.

The filter button on Hawku is your best friend. On the most simple level, it will let you reduce your results to a gender, price range, breed type, or bloodline. But you can combine these to truly filter your results down to the perfect horses to study further. Here’s a look at the filter options.

Remember above that there were many ways to decide what horse you want? While, once you’ve figured it out, this is the tool that gets you a list of horses that match those criteria. All of these have their place, but let’s quickly go through the most common ones.

Gender: Sometime you want to start a male. Sometimes a female. Each have their advantages, which we will get to. But the gender filter lets you filter exactly what you’re looking.

Price: We all have a budget, especially for a new horse. This allows you to put a low and high number or just leave it blank and sort by price.

Genotype: This may never be used or used a LOT depending on your strategy. Personally, I rarely do a search without using this filter.

Breed Type: One of the most common, especially if you’re targeting a specific type of horse. If you know you want a Genesis or know you can only afford an exclusive, this is really helpful.

Bloodline: Another filter that’s really important if you have a very specific type of horse in mind. Whether you only want to see buterins or Nakamotos, this gives you the option.

Color: Rarely use this, but if you want to go for super coats or coat rarity (Steppe Color Calculator is awesome if you are), you may be looking for a specific color. This is more cosmetic, but can be important for resell (and naming!).

Color Rarity: This one I use much more! I find good color offspring sell better! So maybe I want to look for rare coat colts or super rare fillys. This lets me group it together in a nice way.

Average Fire %: These are super powerful! You might just put it at 1% to know that the horse you’re buying could get flames. You might put it at 30% because you find that’s the best for your research. This often works well with the number of races (100% of 1 is way different than 100% or 10 races, etc.)

Win %: Easy to understand. The same concept, oftentimes I’ll put it really low if I’m looking for a raced horse so I know it can win. Might put it higher if I know I’m looking for a great horse.

The others are self-explanatory but can be valuable depending on what you are looking for. Most of the parent stuff is cool, but maybe outside of this general guide, so I’ll skip them for now.

Overall, the combination of these filters lets you really narrow down your results! It’s awesome. You may find that you’re eyes are bigger than your budget (sure, I want a Female, Nakamoto with 50% flame and 20% win, but I haven’t sold my private jet yet), so you may have to play around with these settings.

Overall, I have 5-6 combinations that I check to see what’s available for some of my targeted good horses. You’ll get a good idea of which to use as you move through this article, because everyone is different!

So going back to our now filtered view, now let’s look at some of these targeted horse details. Here’s my filter (I’m looking for low z Buterin legendary horses with a little fire… These probably have been bred with Szabo or Nakas, which fits with my strategy.

Here’s what the filter looks like:

Here’s my new list:

Here’s what the quickview looks like for the horse I’ve targeted for .17ETH:

You get some incredibly valuable data here quickly. You see the win rate, average racing gate fee (so you know if they’ve raced in cheap or more expensive races), the average class, & where they finished.

Looking further down, you see flame rate by distance & class as well as their last 80 races (with times, places, flames, etc.). WOW! In one click, I can see all the important pieces of data about my horse! We’ll circle back to why each is important in the flashback, but know that within that view, you will be able to see if a horse meets your GOOD criteria.

We’ve checked a few horses, we’ve identified our target and we’re clicking the BUY button when the screen fades and the flashback begins… How do we understand what this data MEANS and which horse is PERFECT for our strategy!? Let’s find out.

The Flashback: Researching Your Perfect Horse Strategy

Closer to reality than The Rock, honestly

Flashback: I’m sitting here, just a normal guy wanting to get into Zed Run. Where should I start? What should I do? What horse should I buy?. There is so much information!

I feel you! I made some terrible decisions when I started Zed Run in April, with my two horses bought costing .72ETH (~$1000 at the time) and earning me 0 wins in over 100 tries! I could have saved money, bought horses that made sense for my strategy, and been happier from the get-go if I knew just a few things.

The most important takeaway from this article: There is no perfect way to play Zed and everyone can do it differently. Our recommendations are here to help it be enjoyable, but how you get there is a very personal decision. You have to live with it!

There are lots of strategies and you will have to find your own secret sauce eventually, but let’s make it really easy for you to start and find your perfect good horse. We won’t focus on all the options, just a few of the easiest to understand and quickly find.

Before we jump into the strategies, let’s introduce our second tool we’ll be using: Know Your Horses! This is one of the OG tools and is my go-to for all general research. Where Hawku was designed for easy, quick viewing, Know Your Horses was designed to research and go deep.

While I may not use KYH when I’m actually buying a horse as much, it’s the tool I’ve used to help me choose the perfect strategy and make it possible to use a tool like Hawku quickly to find the perfect horse for me.

One more quick plug, KYH has awesome stable features & breeding features that will be vital in your day-to-day understanding of your horse. So I’m only going over a few of the many, many features for this site.

Typically I start my research on KYH with a horse I want to dive into. Let’s continue to use Starlight Express from our other examples. All you do is search for the horse you want to get to the profile which lets you do lots of stuff!

When you search a horse, you land on the overview tab. This is similar to the Hawku overview and actually offers much of the same details.

Where the two tools start to diverge is the filter functionality & tools that help us dive deep into each horse. My favorite page is the drilldown functionality, which lets me slice and dice the data on horses who have raced.

So with these filters, you can pick whether you see paid or free races (BE CAREFUL with horses that have lots of free races… You have to look at those races different, so high level be aware) and you can filter on class and distance links. You can also set a timeframe (how has the horse done in the last month or last 3 weeks or is it getting better).

All these can be very powerful in their own way. When you filter, you will see the win, place, show, odds, flames, races, profit & ROI for those conditions! This is a GOLD MINE of information.

Let’s take a look at how this can be used. Let’s first start with the standard info on this horse with NO filters.

We can see she’s won 3.5% and has lost .0052 profit and -18.77%. Not a bad horse, but with the races she’s currently won, she’s losing money for her owner.

BUT you are not her owner. And you know where to look (or will, soon enough) to get more out of this horse!

One of the first things I do is open the filter and check out how she’s done on each length. You can see an overview of aggregate data on the overview, but we want more, better views!

Looking at her only at 1200M, we see she’s got a great fire rate, good place and show, and a better ROI. This is only 5 races, so be careful making too much of this small sample size, but this looks fairly promising. It would be easy to see her winning one of her next 5 races at 1200M and being ROI+.

I’d go through each length and see where she shines vs where she is not doing well. I will ensure that if I buy this horse, I will run her at her best distances. This is a fairly quick process.

You can also now grab 2-3 of her best distances and see how she’d fair if you would have JUST run her at those distances.

Had we just run her at 1200, 1400, & 1600, she would be ROI+ with an awesome 56% pay rate. These are small stats and may not hold up as she classes up (so always be careful with small data sets), but this at least shows a path to profitable, fun potential with this horse. If I do this with 5-10 horses I start seeing patterns and seeing which stats really stand out. For some horses, it makes sense to do the full deep dive before buying. Others, you can see in Hawku and have a good idea.

While the drill down is my favorite section, KYH also gives some really deep, technical info. Things like speed analysis, speed statistics, & charts all give you more and more information. Again, I love these tools & we will talk about them in other articles, but know they are there and feel free to use them!

Strategy #1: The Lotto Ticket w/Future Functionality

If Zed sanctioned a battle of the sexes, the women would be dominating. They have higher prices almost across the board, they are more valued in breeding because you keep the foal, and they don’t seem to be any lesser on the track. In fact, some of the greatest horses in the game are females.

So with this strategy, you’re zigging, while everyone else is zagging. One of the main reasons Colts were so much less valuable is because of the breeding difference. With a mare/filly, you can breed a foal every month and you get to keep it. With a Colt, you get residual income from selling 3x more studs. The problem thus far? Cheap studs have been readily available. That should change moving forward, but part of your evaluation with Colt’s short term is you really need them to race well to see the full value.

With this strategy, we take advantage of the fact that Colts are undervalued and we look for unraced colts that have a chance to be stars! Because these unraced, unnamed horses don;t have much in the way of data, they are the highest risk, but with a high reward. But there are things we can look at to help with this strategy.

Firs and most obvious… Linage! Horses get some (how much is a huge debate) of their skills from their. parents. Getting into the theories and strategies isn’t in the scope, so let’s KISS. Better parents mean better chance of a better child.

Hawku makes it easy to see:

We see this horse has one parent with a nice fire rate. The mother hasn’t had much success on the track. I like the value of getting a Z4 Szabo dad that has had some success even with a weaker parent, but that’s up to you to research and decide eventually. Note, this isn’t an example of a u/u/u, but you can also see the offspring. Something that should be considered if they have it.

If you are on the fence or want more information, you could look up both parents in KYH and drilldown. tosee if they have a special distance or if their other foals have become elite. The data is available and you can decide how much time to spend finding the perfect hors. . The only thing we’ll say… This is a gamblers mentality. You can giv. yourself an edge, but you will always be gambling. High risk. High Reward. Good Luck!

Strategy #2: Fast & Steady Wins the Race

Sometimes you just want to find a good horse that will let you understand the game and have some fun! Eventually you want a superstar, but to start, you’ll be happy taking your singles and getting on base.

This is a perfect strategy for those who have a tighter budget or want to get a feel for the game without a huge financial commitment. There’s also nothing wrong with mixing strategies (buy a lotto ticket Colt & a stead Mare).

With this strategy, you want to find a good horse that has proven successful. Now, as we saw before, just because overall the horse isn’t having the success you expect doesn’t mean it shouldn’t! With this strategy, you want to find under-performing, value horses and help turn them into solid, good horses.

With these, you want to look at things like high fire percentage with lower win totals. Lower win totals with higher fire percentage. Horses that have been run evenly at every distance… Most horses have 1-2 prefered distances, so if you can find it in the data and change the strategy, you can turn glue into ETH.

You might find that some horses are raced in higher classes than they should be or in more expensive races. Bringing them back down to where they should be could be the key. Others, it’s finding the right distance and ONLY running that distance.

Typically with this type of horse, you want some wins, fire, and/or racing success (WPS). Some horses rarely or never win no matter how well you care for them. We are looking for horses that have unlockable potential. We minimize risk by buying a horse that’s been run enough that we can find the warts and cover them up.

Not every horse will fit this… But there are plenty that do. The lower the budget, the more warts, but the less financial risk. If you set the right expectations (ROI neutral, fun to play), this could be perfect.

Strategy #3: Hot & Heavy Superstar

I know that everyone wants the next Ducky Mellon, Dank, or even Go Golden Go. But you aren’t going to find those sitting out there in the trash bin and truly great horses make it known pretty quickly. Some have had great success evaluating horses early, but that will take time and practice.

You can, though, find value in buying a great racer. This is not typically my advice to newcomers, but if you do your research, understand the horse, have the correct expectations, and most importantly, have the right budget, you can get a star horse for less than you think.

Now, you’re not going to get a discount on a Z1 Nakamoto. But you may be able to get a legendary or exclusive horse that has great success but doesn’t fit in the plan for its owner.

Zed, especially in the top tier, is expensive! And for some stables, you have to let go of some great horses to make room for new ones.

This is one hot horse with a steamy 3.8ETH price tag!

If you go this route, I highly recommend doing tons of research. Understand the bloodline. Understand inbreeding and the theories behind it. Make sure you calculate the breeding costs and have a solid plan.

For some, this could be buying a horse for .25 that has a 10% win percentage & room to grow. Others might jump in at 6ETH for an undervalued Genesis. But no matter what, you use the same skills and tools to truly understand what you’re buying and how much value you can unlock.

Flashback to the Present

You now are ready to be the star of your own action drama and smash that buy button confidently. You know that you’ve done the research, understand the game, and have found a good horse! It’s time to spend that ETH and proves you have what it takes!

See you on the track!

Need help buying a horse? Hit us up on Twitter @NaptownStables. I’m happy to look over your work and make sure you’re not making any big mistakes! There’s definitely a lot that goes into this game, so I’m happy to be a second set of eyes.

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