OK I so have gone over a few of the characteristics for the horses but the real meat of the horse is in its base moves. Rating is important, as are triggers and break and stretch kick numbers but if a horse has few moves it's going to be slow.
In many ways, this is the nuts and bolts of the horse. Simply put: how fast he is. Each horse receives a set of moves, and they vary depending on the distance of the race. Some horses are pure sprinters who have no chance when running longer races and this is reflected in the moves.
An example might look like this:
Sprint Moves: 8-4-1
This is the move breakdown for a sample horse when it runs sprint races. (Sprint races are anything from 5 furlongs up to 7 furlongs or in game terms 50 spaces to 70 spaces. In real life 8 furlongs equals one mile. Each furlong in the game is 10 spaces so races like the Kentucky Derby, which is 10 furlongs, is 100 spaces total.)
As you can see the example horse has a grand total of 13 moves (8+4+1) when sprinting (which is actually quite good) -- and if a sprint is between 50 and 70 spaces that leaves several other factors that come into play when determining the winner. Other factors including some racing luck, card play, tactics, etc. will play a role in addition to a horse’s base speed. However, a horse with few moves has little chance of beating a horse with a lot of moves, particularly if that horse also has a high rating.
In the example above, the horse receives 8 moves for the first third of the race, 4 in the middle and 1 in the final third (the stretch). This horse is a moderate front runner who can also do ok sitting just off the lead but it lacks a late punch, reflected by the 1 final move number.
You may see a horse with a move set that looks like this: 0-2-10 – this would be a come from behind horse that starts off slow and comes with a late surge.
In order to USE these moves, cards must be played as Move Actions. These actions will give a horse from 1 to 4 of its base moves on one turn. Once the first part of a race is over (each “section” is marked on the track) then you can never get those moves back so if the horse in the above example doesn’t use his 8 moves in the first third of the race – he can never get them back.
This gets tricky because each card has a Base Move number but they also have Events on them that can help your horse or hurt other horses -- and you cannot use a card for both its event and as a Move Action.
Making sure to get all of your moves spent is one of the key factors in the game. Some horses are more difficult to play than others. Horses with a lot of moves are exceptionally talented but require smart play to use well, whereas a horse with few moves, while not very fast, is easier to play because you rarely have to worry about not spending all of your moves.
Going back to the horse in the above example: the most important part of this horse’s race will be the first portion because that’s where he has the most of his moves (in this case, 8). Making sure that all 8 moves are used will be a priority for that player controlling this horse. There are even event cards that reward players for using all of his moves and some that punish players who do not.