Zed Buying Guide

Zed Buying Guide

UPDATE 12/13/2021: Queries changed to reflect Hawku data containing both paid and free data by default.  

Welcome to the world of Zed Horse Racing! This guide is intended to help people new to Zed better understand what makes good race-horses and what to look for when buying your first horse.

In this guide you will learn:

  • There are many types of purchases you can make in Zed.  What type of horse you buy depends on why you are buying.  Long term investors, lottery ticket players, winning-horses, diamond-in-the-rough hunters, rarity collectors,  and successful breeders will all be looking at different horses at different prices.
  • Hawku is a tool that can let you filter for whatever type of Zed horse you are looking for.
  • There is no easy money way to win. You’ll need to do the work to make money.   While there have been some “wins”, those windows close fast (sometimes within minutes) as everyone jumps on and you constantly need to update your strategies.

What is Zed.run?

  • Zed.run is a NFT-based horse racing game.  Players purchase horses via Zed or secondary marketplaces (like www.hawku.com).
  • As a horse owner you can race horses in paid races (from $2.50 per race up to $500!) and win ~6x your entry for finishing first, 2x for second and 1x for 3rd.
  • All horses in Zed are different. Horses are NFTs and each have their own unique abilities ranging from a base ability (how good is the horse at baseline), a variability ability (Some horses are more likely to be really fast one race and then really slow the next), and distance preference (Some horses race better in sprints, others in marathons).
  • The horse’s traits are all unique and variable.  Some have huge distance preferences (they do great in marathons and terrible in sprints), and some have small distance preferences.
  • All horse’s abilities are hidden and unknown to the public.  The only way to figure out a horse’s ability is to infer it from its race data (does it do well in long distance races? Does it normally finish either 1st or 12th?).  You can also sometimes infer some horse information from its breed_type or z_value.

Quick buy guide:  You want to buy a Zed horse, so what do you do?

It really depends on why you want to buy!  Are you looking to make a long term passive investment? Scratch off a lottery ticket with the hopes of a great win?  The type of horse you buy (and amount you spend) will vary greatly depending on what you are trying to get from your investment.

Below are a bunch of reasons to buy along with example searches to get you started.

I want easy money!

Haha.  Pretty much everyone wants easy money.  Unfortunately long term easy money plans don’t exist (at least not in Zed).  The problem is that since everyone wants it and money is in limited supply, most opportunities to make a profit go away pretty quickly as everyone enters the space.  Sniping and trying to flip horses can work - until the market declines and you are left holding the bag and selling at a loss.  Having a great way to find monster horses works until 100 other people figure out the same strategy.

Your best bet is to do the time and research to figure out your strategies to win in Zed. You’ll find a way to be profitable and have fun in the process.

I want a passive investment

Are you someone who wants to make a long term investment in Zed? Someone who would like to treat it as a passive asset? Most people wanting to make a long term investment in Zed have invested primarily in Genesis horses (as they are the only ones that do not get diluted). In general, the lower the Z-value (i.e. go from Z6 to Z4) the more valuable the horse is as its abilities go up and total quantity goes down.  While  10,000 Z10 Genesis horses have been created, only 1000 Z1’s were created.  By investing in Genesis horses, you are basically betting on the long term growth of Zed.

Some examples:

I want a lottery ticket

Do you want the feeling of opening up a new pack of cards or scratching off a lottery ticket? - If you like the thrill of opening a pack of cards or scripting off a lottery ticket, you may want to buy a “lottery ticket” horse.  These are unarmed horses where no one really knows its ability.  You can search horses by parent’s abilities like the parent’s ratings, the horse's Z Value, and it's breed type.

On average, around 5% of horses become profitable so just set your expectations that your success rate on a lottery ticket will be 1/20.

The lower the Z value and the higher the level of its breed type, the more likely it is to succeed.  Avid Zedders will also look at the value of parents.

Some example Lottery Ticket queries:

  • Z8-Z12 Legendary Unraced- Legendaries are bred from two genesis horses and can often provide good quality children. Again only 1/20 end up being profitable. Feel free to change the numbers in the filter. Search for Z8-Z12 Legendary Unraced

  • Unraced- Some people think the lower Z value matters more than if a horse is legendary or exclusive. This search can search for all horses with a particular Z value Search for Lower Z Unraced Horses

  • Z12-Z20 Unraced - this is a lower quality of horse that may result in a good lower-class horse but will probably not result in a horse that can perform at higher classes. In general, expect 1-2% to be decent horses from this mix. However, these are often much less expensive than the above.
    Search for Z12-Z20 Unraced

I want a winning horse

Want a horse that likes to win? You can search for that on Hawku by setting  a minimum average paid win rate.  This will limit horses to only those that win in paid races (which are the races that return winnings).  Keep in mind since these are rare, you will likely pay a premium for them (sometimes such a large premium that the return on investment may take months or years).  

Also note that not all of the horses in these searches will continue to be winners. Make sure to look at the recent races in the quick view section to see if they continue to perform well.

Also keep in mind that not all winning horses are the same.  Some horses can only win consistently in small fee races in lower classes (like Class 4 and 5), while other's can dominate in higher paid races or in higher classes.

Some examples of winning horses:

Other people will be looking at this Buying guide, so remember make your own tweaks.  For example, it's easy to change any of the parameters by clicking on the “filter” button.  Here is the same query with a minimum fire average of 14...

I am a rarity collector.

These people buy Zed horses not for their performance metrics but for their color or skin rarity.  Search by color type to see the latest available such as super-rare color horses.  Keep in mind that unlike collectibles, most players do not give much value to color as it does not have any impact on performance.

I want an inexpensive diamond in the rough

Maybe you want to be the person who finds that amazing horse that everyone has overlooked?  Join the crowd!  This is the most popular Zed horse hunter as everyone wants to find a great racing horse for a great price.   The people who have been successful doing this soak in a lot of Zed data from Discords, You Tube streams and Twitch Streams like XYZed,  Jarek's ZedDaily, Pony Plug, Zombie Racing and more...  They then spend hours a day on Hawku searching and researching horses using the advanced filters.  It can be done but it does take work.  Note - even for the best hunters, more often than not the horse you think is a diamond may just be a piece of glass (aka not so great), but the search is still one of the most fun parts of the game.

Some examples of current theories:

Quality Horses that people gave up on too quickly.

Players often breed a new horse and race it a few times and give up on it.  Great horses can have poor streaks so often a good “Diamond searcher” can find great horses that were neglected when their racing career did not start as well as possible.


(Obviously these particular searches have been used by others now so please tweak and make your own!)

  • Horses with a low number of races that have high fire rates (indicating they should finish in the top 3) but low win rates. Few Races, High Fire Rate and Low Win Rate
  • Horses with a low number of races that have high fire rates (indicating they should finish in the top 3) and high 7th-12th rates (indicating they may have good variance) Low Races, Hig Fire Rate, High 7th-12th.
  • Horses with very few races that have high fire rates (indicating they should finish in the top 3) and high 7th-12th rates (indicating they may have good variance). The best are many 11th or 12th place finishes with fire which usually indicates the horse has good variance. Few Races, All Fire, All 7th-12th
  • Horses that have done well in free races and no paid races. Here you are betting the horse is actually good at paid races but the previous owner had just not tested it. Note: Your hit rate here will likely be really low but you might be able to find something.
    18% Total Win Rate horse with fire, and a small amount of paid races.

Finding an overlooked distance preference horse.  

Sometimes people sell horses without realizing their horse is a monster in certain distances.  Horse searchers can use Hawku to try to identify horses that were mis-raced or where the owner did not see the horse’s potential.

Some examples of how to do this:

  • Horse has strong fire in Marathon but not Sprint. These horses often are expected to do well in longer distances but not sprints which mean they tend to have a distance preference. Strong at Marathons but not Sprints
  • Horse has strong fire in Sprint but not Marathon. These horses often are expected to do well in sprints but not longer distances. Strong at Sprints but not Marathons

Some tips:

When you consider one of these horses, make sure to click on the horse detail page and look at the placement graph for a particular distance. https://www.hawku.com/horse/53973?distance=%5B1%5D

Here is an example of a distance horse when looking at it only in Marathon distance races:

And here is the same horse graph looking only at sprints:

You can see it almost always finishes last in sprints and usually in the top in marathons.  This is a pretty good horse to manage and race profitably.

There are obviously dozens of other strategies for finding diamond in the rough horses.  To truly be an expert will take time and effort.

I want to breed and flip the offspring for a profit.

Back in July and August of 2021 when breeding was just getting started it was pretty easy to breed low Z-value horses (like Z1-6) and then sell the offspring at a 2-5x profit. Unfortunately, there are now so many bred horses that this opportunity no longer is nearly as lucrative.  The best way people are finding to breed and sell offspring at a profit is to:

  1. Own both the female and male and put them into different stables.  Doing so gives the breeder up to a 56% discount on breeding fees.  You can then (sometimes) sell a horse for a 20-30% profit off of your breeding fees (usually $150 or so).  Since you can only breed a female once a month this is not life-changing income but it can be profitable.
  2. Sell offspring of some racers.  While many people understand that breeding is (mostly) random, some still believe that offspring of great racers are better than offspring of non-racers.  So selling the offspring of a racer can sometimes generate a profit.
  3. Sell rare coats. If you breed two horses that are rare coats, you may be able to breed a horse with a super-rare coat.  This  can sell at a premium (although that premium has gone down as more of these become available).
  4. Breed and race a horse and sell after it wins.  Sometimes you can catch lightning in a bottle and breed a good horse, get a win in its first race and be able to sell it for a profit.

I want to breed and create great horses

Before you can figure out what to breed, a quick primer on horse attributes and breeding. Horses have 3 attributes - a base ability, a variance ability (known as U-shape for its tendency to make horses that finish 1st or 12th) and a distance preference.  In a race, a horse starts with a base ability and then has bonuses for its variations and distance preferences.  

Currently according to data that has been gathered, only base ability is passed between parents and children.  And it appears that once you breed the children often (but not always) have a lower base ability than the parents.

Unfortunately, to date the variation ability and distance preference are the dominant factors that determine whether a horse is a great racer.  While base ability matters (especially as you move up classes), a horse without a strong variation ability or distance preference will not win races.  

What this means is that in terms of breeding, it appears that ~90% of your horse’s success is random and 10% is in your control.

Also this means that great racers often do not produce great offspring as the attributes that made them a great racer do not pass down.

The best you can do with a breeding strategy is to find horses with great base ability and breed them.  

Some ways to do this:

  • Search for lower Z value horses and horses closer to genesis. This is an expensive path but you are far more likely to get a higher base ability horse from a Z2 Legendary than a Z28 Pacer. If this is your strategy, buy the lowest Z female horses you can buy (so you can keep the children) and do not worry about the racing ability.
  • Search for horses that finish in the middle of the pack. One strategy is to look for horses that do not finish first that often but mostly finish in the middle of the pack. You can do this in Hawku by combining 7th-12th and 1st-3rd.

Some caveats on breeding horses.  Your odds of getting a good racer (15% or more win rate) from breeding are low - ranging from 5% for low Z horses (Z value < 5) to 2% for Z value between 5-10 to less than 2% for Z-value horses greater than 10.  You really are buying a lottery ticket.

It is not publicly known what a horse's ability is.  The ideas above are just guesses and theories provided by the community. They may or may not work.


Hopefully this guide gives you an overview of the different types of horses to buy along with some example strategies to find them.  If you have any praise or suggestions, please feel free to contact @hawku_com on twitter or email support@hawku.com

Also please feed your horses! (Feeding your horses has been correlated with horses racing faster, horses racing slower as well as not having an effect on a horse).