Blackjack Farms – Founded 19th May 2012
“Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning, the devil says – Oh crap, she’s up!”
World Cups – 9, Regionals – 9, Local – 18
1st World cup
Speedin – Sat 20 Apr 13, 18:00
Hi Megan, welcome to TK Nuts and thank you for giving us your time.
Lets start with, how did you come across Track King, and what got you hooked?
Hi Crackers, thanks for bringing me in to answer some questions. I hope that I give a little bit of insight into Blackjack Farms and the way that I play the game and have had tons of fun playing the game over the years.
In answer to your question I came across Track King by accident, I was working at a rig and needed something not internet heavy and this was right around Kentucky Derby time and I was excited about racing. I really wanted a racing management game so I googled a few and liked this one the best. Also it was the only one not actively blocked by my work housing ISP. At first I was not hooked, and then after a season I started getting more into it by asking questions to my mentor and Track King Chat group, and that we say is history.
How did you decide what was the right or wrong kind of feedback for you in those early times, did you have just your own ideas, so went with who was in line with your own thoughts or just took it all in?
A bit of everything. I read the forums and asked tons of questions, ask woody about how many questions and he will just roll his eyes. Most of the way I went with to start is what makes the most sense in the real world, go backwards from there, with adding in thoughts from other players. It worked out really well for me in the long and short term. But in the end I meshed everything together to come up with what works for me.
The early seasons can be very hard, there can be a lot of free time at first. What kind of goals did you set that were realistic at the time? We all know at first it seems a big mountain to climb, was it hard for you, did you ever lose interest?
In the beginning I spent a lot of time with people deciding what my goals would be, and within 2 seasons I had my first set of goals.
I made short term, medium term, and what I thought at the time would be long term goals. The long term is debatable in the end if they were long term because I hit those goals very fast. My aims were simple to start with for the short term, such as train a horse to 50 OR, and hit 60 km/hr average race speed, and have one million in the bank. They seem simple now but when you start, those are huge goal posts. Longer term goals were hit 62 km/hr, win a populated C 1 league, hit AI prestige, and win a SS, MM and World Cup.
I never thought about losing interest, I just played and made sure I had both short and long term goals – that way you won’t lose interest.
Who for you, influenced you most in the game, was it one or many and do you encourage others to seek out other players to bounce ideas, so that they might fast track their own progress?
The people that influenced me the most at the start of the game were Woodchucker stable, Shakedown Street, and The TK Chat group. Shakedown was my randomly assigned mentor and really got me going on the rules and such. Woodchucker helped me balance my stable at the start and helped me get going a lot on training and such. The TK active online Chat was a huge help to give instant help and bounce ideas off of, really an open instant chat gets you through so much in this game and helps you see and find the big picture questions. Back in the day a lot of the top stables were there, Reds Breeding, Dan Park, Frankie Cat, Manor Park, Prancing Winners, Ersins, Gopher27, Captain Underpants, Troublemakers and more.
Now it has a lot of different but still good players like Gavstar, Pedantic, Manor Park, Troublemaker, Horse Princess and more. Still the best place to get fast answers in the game.
What do you or have you done differently in the game that goes against the grain, something different to the general consensus of players?
Be a girl? Does that count? But seriously, when I started, and to this day it is still true, I put winning a full or near full (you cant always help if it is completely full or not) C1 league win as the hardest thing to do in the game. Yes, cups are hard, and they take lots of time, but a full league win is something that requires you not only to have great runners, but super consistent runners. To be able to manage jockeys, vets, IP, training, and budget. To know that your best horse is not always the right choice for that week, because someone else may be running a WR runner in that horse’s distance. To know that you have to hope that sometimes other people mess up to win. Honestly it was always the goal, it is still the goal. I missed top 5 one season and just about sold off the stable in my disgust. Now don’t get me wrong, I love cup wins. But a C1 title, that is the ultimate goal. I have won one on every continent except Europe, my nemesis. I won at LOWE,Great Pyramids, Osaka Bay, Long Beach, and Wichita, and I relish each one, and have beaten a lot of top players. Yes, I follow the weather, but my stable from 2yo to 10yo is set up for end play which I consider league running. And doing that I have specific needs and always set up for it. And I go for it and try my hardest to win every season with SS and MM and Classics in the way. But unlike many players, LEAGUE is my mecca and probably always will be.
On the subject of new and finding Track King, its a hard game, there is information, but few seasons back you decided to do the tutorials on you tube, what made you go to the trouble of doing that?
I was a mentor for a long time, and enjoyed it but found that explaining some of the things, like the exact steps to hire an apprentice jockey were very difficult to do in long chats. So I came up with the step by step videos so that I could show someone without both sides getting frustrated about where I was telling them to click.
The topics other than the Training Track tutorial, which I am working on (it is a huge pain in the neck), where the most common asked about subjects in both TK Chat, forums and by my own mentees.
Megan, your first world cup was a paupers, a realistic cup for any new player. You won while in class 3, that must have been a big surprise at the time. When did you think you had a winner that could beat all comers?
Never actually did. I was new and all the open aged cups were way too scary for me, so I thought, why not enter and see what happens. The first time I won I did not even know what the end weather pattern was going to be, I was just running for the money. When the final came up and I had entered, everyone in chat kept saying that I had a good shot and I was like nope, you people are all crazy and you are wrong. Next thing you know I am watching the race and low and behold I won, and I was completely shocked. It was a huge victory for me. Especially looking back on it now, you can see her stats in the HoF and in no way would I ever train a horse like that to run mediums on slow. She was one of the best early buys I could have bought, and a huge price at the time 520k as a new stable, but worth every penny in the long run. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith on a horse. Both on buying and on running, you can’t know if a horse can win something unless you actually run them in a real race.
How do you view Track King cups? Are some world cups clearly better than others? For some players they see paupers as important a cup as say an age cup but they are one of the most contested for numbers in the game, how do you view what cups are top shelf?
Some cups are clearly better than others, but before people get their knickers in a twist, it changes all the time. Cups have good seasons and bad seasons. Locals to be honest I think little of anymore, but they are such a great place for newer players. All world cup wins no matter what is running and who runs are to be commended.
To win you have to enter, and it is true that there might be better horses out there, but they did not run for whatever reason and you won, and you should be proud of it. The quality of the race in a given season is what makes me qualify if it was a good cup that season or not. Also, I look at winning times and how close the victory was. a tight finish always upgrades the cup to me. If I have to wait those annoying 5 minutes to find out who won, that is a good race, no matter the time and OR in the race. Also for regionals, I do count Magic Mile as the hardest, always have always will. Because it is about running the same horse, 3 weeks in a row while missing league, and the winners are all league winning capable, and costs so much to enter league wise. So it will always be my favorite regional and near favorite cup in the game to win.
Do you still get nervous before a cup final?
Yeap, every one. I have lost so many by noses, bad breaks, and injuries, that I just go, nope not going to win, because every time I think I might win, something happens and I lose. So I learned long ago, always be nervous and hope for the best, and cross your fingers. Also never bet on your own cup final. It is just bad luck and jinxes you.
Megan you early on had intent to sponsor your own cup, and that ended up being the American Cup. It was slow to get attention but has since come a popular mid season cup. Why did you decide sponsoring a cup was for you and has it ended up being as all you hoped it would?
I decided to sponsor a cup because I looked at the balance of the game, and there had not been an open short cup in a long time. People kept talking about the OSAKA Short and said how they missed it. I wanted to help the game and I thought that this would be the way. It has evolved over the years to bring in larger and larger crowds and top horses from all over TK which I love. It is what I hoped it would be, a staple of the game. One of the reasons that I went with short cups is because up till then short horses were league trapped and this gave them their moment to shine. The only open short cup in the game. My only regret is that I have yet to be able to run in it.
Your favorite horse and why, it would be great if you can give us a background on the horse to go with more than just a name?
My favorite horse was my first bought 2yo, a low 34 OR FF Colt named English Jumpstart that I renamed to Straight Flush to go with a card game theme that I decided my stable was going to have. I bought him for 42k in my 1st full season back in c5. Originally I went with sprints and knew right off the bat that something was wrong, even though he won the Green Apprentice back when it was only open to Maiden at his 2nd try. Another race in and I changed distances to medium where in the class he would eventually go up against the highest rated foal ever born Damascus, the beast. The style has become a favorite for me because of him and another Miler, Impasse Brev, both of whom have gone to the Hall of Fame. When I started running Flush I made a few goals for him, lofty and rare for many stables to hit. First was to get to 80 OR, not terrible to do now that I know what I am doing, but a huge mountain to a new player. Second was to earn over 10 million in earnings, to this day it is not easy to do, and few hit that milestone, though it is easier now since full league purses are much higher than what they were.Third was to win the MM, I think one of the hardest races in the game to plan for and win if you run in a full league. Fourth was to cross the 62 km/hr average for a race. And lastly, to breed a keeper that I would keep the bloodline in the barn, this was my Champion that is about to age out, Lord Blackjack. You really can’t ask for anything more from your first horse you trained from day one. Can you?
Your worst horse ever?
My worst horse ever is hard to really say, because I get so many YP 2yos. But a long term horse that I had that annoyed the crap out of me, has to be ……Queen of Clubs, on paper was nice enough, even beat Manor Park in a cup prelim, great race there. But as a sprinting stalker, problems started as she aged i had lots of issues, and could barely get her to run in the end was so injury prone. When I cleared her IP after yet another lack luster race, one that cost me a trip to an SS final in London, I sold her for a decent sum and moved on. To this day have been very weary of stalkers….
Your biggest highlight in the game so far that may be winning a world cup or something else I suppose with that what your biggest regret or loss so a broad question to ponder?
I don’t really have any regrets other than not winning every and all cups, but my worse loss, was a triple loss on the same day. I had 2 top 5 horses, at the time I thought top 2 or 3 in two of the races. I ran great with all 3 in the prelims, actually beat Manor in the sprint in a WR time, and then the finals came up. What makes this such a bad day was the fact that it was all my best young horses, they all ran terribly and one, the one that got the WR in the prelim got injured. They all ran terribly, not even top half. Bad breaks from the gate and I got a 10th, 12th, and a 9th. None in the top half none coming out the race well. Two went on to become champions in my barn and one got sold a few seasons later after costing me a run in a SS final. To this day, all 3 races have not gone well for me, the Spring Guineas, The Up and Coming Sprintstar, and the Amethyst.
This one race day made me question every final in how badly they ran in those races and the way that they were expected to run. Always question, and I hate going into a race the favorite to this day.
The horse in TK past/present that resembles your character?
Easy answer – Straight Flush
The stable most difficult for you to beat and those to look out for?
Stable hardest to beat is probably Manor Park. Raced him in a large number of cups, though no league runs yet, and just had a hard time getting past him, or staying past him but I suppose I am not alone there. New stables to look out for are Pedantic and captaincrusoe, both top notch stables and have too many cup wins already. Not pleased at all when I see them in my races. Great guys and we talk a fair bit, so I am definitely biased.
Megan, what is the biggest thing you dislike about TK?
The lack of things to do for new players. It took near a season before I could race 4 times a week regularly. And I feel for new players and understand why they get so many terrible horses and try training them 2 hours a week. I understand that all the older players went through, but in this day and age there needs to be more things for new players to do and feel a connection to the game and horses. Like the ability to rename your first 4 horses for free, or be able to play some sort of mini games, like the training track that is interactive for new players. And the more open guidelines to new players, like the videos and help pages that I helped make, and the ones by Etude. Us older players need to help out new players to keep this great game going.
Can you name 3 horses from other stables that you would liked to have had in your stable?
First one easily comes to mind that Fish and Chips, one of the best sprinters and always loved his name. Really liked the owner too great guy and it was tons of fun watching Fish and Chips race against what I think was one for the best sprinting groups of the time.
The Darkness, I know he was a decent racer, a bit before my time to be honest, but his foals and his bloodlines race so well, would love to have him in the barn to have a fresh group of his great runners.
Kortdistansaren the first horse to win the cup that I made, the American Cup, a monster and a very impressive runner. Would have loved to have her in my barn.
Who would your dinner TK party guests be and why?
I would invite, Angel, Pedantic, Woogle Wood, Captaincrusoe, Ersins, Gopher, Hairboy, Dan Park, Rafindale, Raspadora, and Chrissya. Most of us are chat friends and forum friends. We could talk open strategy about the game and wishes for what we want going forward as well as what our goals are for the game. With HB there directly we could give him an open and in person view of what some old and new players think about different things in the game and how to help the game especially when it comes to new players. Since that is the life blood of the game – bringing in new players and getting them to understand and love the game as much as we do.
Well thanks Megan for spending some time with us in Track Nuts and all the best for the rest of the season .
Blackjack Farms – My pleasure Crackers glad to do it.