For as long as I can remember, my father (and his father
before him) have been big horse racing fans.
In fact, for the last 20 years or so, my dad has bred and raced Standard
bred harness racers. Harness racing, for
those that aren
As is the case in many sports, the horse racing enthusiast can choose to concentrate on certain aspects of the sport, or go the whole hog and participate in all aspects. In horse racing this means one can simply buy a horse and race it, or go the full route of breeding, training, and racing a horse. Breeders Cup supports both choices. As in many console games, you can choose a quick play mode, or you can dig down into the esoteric details that truly give a sport its long-term challenge and interest.
With horse racing, it all comes down the breeding. Volumes and volumes of historical data pertaining to the lineage and race performance of horses are perused in an attempt to find the perfect sire/dam combination that will result in a race-winning foal. As with any pursuit of this nature, however, there are no guarantees. A mating that looks great on paper may or may not result in a horse that will perform as desired. This is, of course, the reason they actually put the horses on the track and race them, and is what provides the addictive nature of horse racing to its participants. Hey, if it was easy everyone would be doing it!
Breeders Cup starts you off with an empty six horse stable and a little bit of cash. It is up to you to decide how to populate the stable and determine the strategy for growing your racing dynasty. There are three possible approaches: acquisition of already racing horses through claiming races (races in which every horse entered can be bought, or "claimed," for a stated price), breeding, or a combination of the two. Claiming a horse has the benefit of being able to base a purchase decision on known performance, while breeding offers the opportunity to try to tailor the resulting race horse to your favored track type, race type, and horse disposition.
Track types can be dirt or turf. Race types can be sprints, medium length, or
long. Horse disposition is a combination
of factors such as speed, strength, running style, and temperament that will
determine the best way to race the horse.
For example, a horse with a lot of strength will fare better in long
races than a horse that can sprint well but hasn
As the stable owner, it is your responsibility to manage the training and race schedule of your horses to ensure that they are adequately prepared for the strenuous life a race horse leads. As in most sporting endeavors, there is a delicate balance between racing aggressively and racing irresponsibly. Push your horses too hard, and you will end up with a stable full of injured horses. Injured horses continue to consume dollars through boarding and training, but cannot bring dollars back via race winnings. As a stable owner, you have to watch the balance sheet every bit as closely as you watch the race sheets.
If all of that seems too much effort and you
Also of interest to the "arrive and drive" type
of player would be the multiplayer mode.
This mode allows two players to enter into a race and race against each
other and the computer-controlled pack of other horses. Multiplayer mode does not use a split screen,
though. Instead, the camera attempts to
show both player
Because of these limitations in the quick race and
multiplayer modes, Breeders Cup will
be satisfying mostly for the players that are interested in the full aspects of
horse racing, at least in so far as interactive play goes. There is one other aspect to horse racing
that I have not yet mentioned: betting.
For those that enjoy scanning the past performance of the entrants in
any given race, combined with the historical performance of the jockies and the
prevailing race conditions in an attempt to determine who will win and place
bets accordingly, Breeders Cup
offers the opportunity to do so in your own home, albeit with fake money. Of course, as with anything involving money,
there is a fair degree of complexity involved.
You can choose to make simple bets like Win, Place, or Show, or you can
expand into somewhat more exotic betting types like the Exacta, Trifecta, or
Superfecta. As the complexity and risk
increase, so do the potential winnings.
If all of that isn
All in all, Breeders Cup gives a nice introduction to the sport of horse racing, but only those willing to truly dive in and concern themselves with the more complex aspects of the game will be satisfied. Those that just want to climb onto the back of a horse and race will be left wanting more of a challenge.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
I've been fascinated with video games and computers for as long as I can remember. It was always a treat to get dragged to the mall with my parents because I'd get to play for a few minutes on the Atari 2600. I partially blame Asteroids, the crack cocaine of arcade games, for my low GPA in college which eventually led me to temporarily ditch academics and join the USAF to "see the world." The rest of the blame goes to my passion for all things aviation, and the opportunity to work on work on the truly awesome SR-71 Blackbird sealed the deal.
My first computer was a TRS-80 Model 1 that I bought in 1977 when they first came out. At that time you had to order them through a Radio Shack store - Tandy didn't think they'd sell enough to justify stocking them in the retail stores. My favorite game then was the SubLogic Flight Simulator, which was the great Grandaddy of the Microsoft flight sims.
While I was in the military, I bought a Commodore 64. From there I moved on up through the PC line, always buying just enough machine to support the latest version of the flight sims. I never really paid much attention to consoles until the Dreamcast came out. I now have an Xbox for my console games, and a 1ghz Celeron with a GeForce4 for graphics. Being married and having a very expensive toy (my airplane) means I don't get to spend a lot of money on the lastest/greatest PC and console hardware.
My interests these days are primarily auto racing and flying sims on the PC. I'm too old and slow to do well at the FPS twitchers or fighting games, but I do enjoy online Rainbow 6 or the like now and then, although I had to give up Americas Army due to my complete inability to discern friend from foe. I have the Xbox mostly to play games with my daughter and for the sports games.