Have you ever dreamed of owning a racehorse? I’m sure you, like most of us, have sat watching the Kentucky Derby thinking, “that would be a cool world to live in.” If you’re willing to exist in a digital world though, you now have the opportunity and tools to live that dream, and quite possibly produce a profit while doing so. ZED RUN is a blockchain-based game that uses NFTs to represent a horse. 

Each horse has its own unique characteristics, meaning you could end up with a champion stallion, or perhaps your horse is better equipped to be a stud. Just as in real life, building a successful horse and stable will take time, investment, and careful attention to the details. This article will cover how to get setup on MetaMask, choosing your horse, racing, and breading. It’s also worth checking out the Discord or ZED RUN community page.

To Build a Stable of Horse, You First Need WETH 

First of all, you should know upfront it's going to cost you some money to get started. You’ll have to purchase a horse, spending anywhere between a couple of hundred of dollars ($US) and perhaps as much as several thousands. Although ZED has its own marketplace, it is perpetually sold-out due to the high demand for horses at the moment. I bought my horse, COFFEE STAIN, via OpenSea, a marketplace for NFTs. You can also find horses available through discord, and via the knowyourhorse website. The horses are transferable, so you could possibly be gifted a horse, or maybe win a horse in one of ZED’s airdrops.

Next, you’ll need a MetaMask wallet to accomplish any of this. If you’re not familiar with MetaMask, it is an Ethereum wallet that works as an extension to your web browser, allowing you to communicate with the Ethereum blockchain. You’ll also need to fund this wallet with some ETH.

Download MetaMask


Once you have your MetaMask wallet setup, head over to ZED.RUN, connect your MetaMask wallet, and follow the prompts to establish a stable.

From here you’ll need to swap your ETH to WETH (Wrapped Ethereum), which is done within the wallet itself. Below is a video demo showing you swap tokens within MetaMask.


Wrapped Ethereum is used instead of ETH because you’re interacting with ERC-20 contracts which were created after ETH. You can read more about WETH here. You’ll use the WETH to enter races and collect your winnings.

Choosing Your Horses

There are three main considerations you should explore before purchasing your first horse.: 1) Bloodline, 2) Genotype, and 3) Breed Type.

  1. Bloodline:

There are four bloodlines that exist within the ZED universe, each with their own characteristics. As in real life, one’s bloodline is the baseline upon which your horse’s performance will be based. However, the bloodline is only one aspect of your horse's makeup, meaning that a Buterin may outperform a Nakamato on any given day.

  • Nakamato — the rarest of thoroughbreds given that they are the purest racehorses. They are super-rare and command the highest price.

  • Szabo — next in the bloodline hierarchy. They are also relatively rare, but also more affordable.

  • Finney — although further down the hierarchy, the Finney and Buterin bloodlines are able to hold their own against their competitors.

  • Buterin — The Buterin bloodline is the most common breed and are naturally healthy, sturdy and quick on their feet.

2. Genotype:

Genotype refers to the Z number of a horse; thoroughbreds range from Z1 to Z268. The lower the Z number, the purer the horse. Genesis (original bloodline) horses are always Z1 — Z10, but non-Genesis horses (offspring) can also have Z numbers below 10 (due to parents’ Z numbers). And again, a low Z number doesn’t always translate to a better racer (although your chances are better).

3. Breed type:

There are six breeds within the ZED ecosystem. In order of rarity, they are: Genesis, Legendary, Exclusive, Elite, Cross and Pacer.

Genesis horses are acquired via drops, and are the purest breed type and the most desired horses. However, there is a fixed number of these horses (38,000) and once they are sold, no more will be minted.

4. Gender:

Gender plays a role in a horse’s breeding. Male horses charge a fee for being the stud, while the female horse’s owner keeps the offspring. Currently, males can produce up to 3 children per month, while female horses can only give birth to one horse per month.

  • Colt — a male horse that has no children

  • Stallion — a male horse that has offspring

  • Philly — a female horse that has no children

  • Mare — a female horse that has offspring

5. Coat Color:

There are 7 coat color groups: Neptune, Earth, Wild, Moon, Fiery, Classic and Mystical. Each group can affect the temperament and personality of a horse, however it does not affect a horse's performance.

Each group is broken down into three tiers: Super Rare, Rare, and Common.

Racing Your Horses

Okay, now that you have a stable and a horse, it’s time to see what your horse is made of! First, we need to cover Classes and your horse’s Z-rating. There are six(6) classes within the ZED racing sphere;

  • Griffin- un-raced

  • Class 5- a Z rating between 0–20

  • Class 4- a Z rating between 21–40

  • Class 3- a Z rating between 41–60

  • Class 2- a Z rating between 61–80

  • Class 1- the highest-rated class, which includes the best horses and the most expensive races with a Z rating above 81.

The classes are designed to group horses of similar ability with the intent of leveling the playing field and maintaining a degree of ‘fairness’ in the outcomes.

If your horse has never raced before, the first step is to enter the free Griffin class race. The Griffin race acts as an entry point and determines your horse’s base rating, which is linked to its genotype as shown below:

  • Z1 — Z4 base rating of 57

  • Z5 — Z9 base rating of 37

  • Z10+ base rating of 17

Once your horse competes in a Griffin Class race, its initial base rating will be displayed and you’ll have a better idea of your horse’s talent level and be assigned a class level. Now the real fun begins!

After each race, a racehorse can either regress into a lower class, stay in the same class, or progress into a higher class.

NOTE: a racehorse can compete in a higher-tiered race outside of its current class, but cannot compete in a lower-tiered class.

Horses are awarded Z points at the end of each race based on their finishing position:

  • 1st place is awarded 4 points

  • 2nd place is awarded 3 points

  • 3rd place is awarded 2 points

  • 4th place is awarded 1 point

  • 5th thru 8th do not receive any points, positive nor negative

  • 9th place is awarded -1 point

  • 10th place is awarded -2 points

  • 11th place is awarded -3 points

  • 12th place is awarded -4 points

For example, if you own an unraced Z5 horse (Griffin class) and it finishes in second place, its post-race class rating will be 37 + 3 = 40, thereby starting in Class 4.

With your horse’s class established, now it's time to RACE!

To see which races your horse is eligible for, simply click on any free gate number so that the select racehorse window pops open. Within this window, you will notice that ineligible horses will be grayed out. Each race has a name, location, class designation, distance, entry fee, and prize pool. Once you’ve decided on a race, simply click on it and the race window will open. Gate numbers (shown near the bottom of the window) are assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis.

  • NOTE: your horse may have a gate preference :) but this can only be determined by racing your horse and determining the preference based on his/her finishing position over time.

  • NOTE: your horse may also have a distance preference, but again, this can only be determined by running the races and learning which distance your horse performs best at.

Only available gate numbers will be shown. Click on your desired gate number and a new window will pop open asking you to confirm; click on ‘enter’ and your Metamask window will open asking you to sign the confirmation. Once signed, you’re in!

Race start times are not pre-scheduled but instead are scheduled once 12 horses have signed up to race. Only after all 12 gates have been filled will the race be scheduled.

NOTE: Because the scheduling of races occurs on a first-come, first-serve basis, the races can get back-logged and take several hours to occur.

From here, you have the ability to watch the race in real-time, cheer for your horse, and watch them win. If you miss the race, you can always go back and watch the replay by clicking on the ‘REPLAY’ button.

If your racehorse finishes 1st, 2nd or 3rd, your winnings will be automatically added to your wallet in WETH.

NOTE: your horse can only be entered in up to 3 races at any one time.

Breeding Your Horses

If you’re going to play the game and have any sense of success, you’ll have to have at least some idea of what goes into the breeding of horses. But just like in real life, not everything goes as planned.

There are four(4) designated types of horses: a colt, a stallion, a filly, and a mare.

  • A colt is a male horse that has not yet produced any offspring.

  • A stallion is also a male horse, but one that has produced at least one offspring.

  • A filly is a female horse that has not yet produced any offspring.

  • A mare is a female horse that has produced at least one offspring.

A female horse’s owner will be required to pay a ‘stud fee’ in order to breed. The amount of the fee is established by the male horse’s owner, although there is a minimum fee you must charge, and the fee is split among the male horse owner, the prize pool, and ZED itself (see breakdown below). The owner of the female horse then keeps the offspring.

Currently, a male horse can have up to three offspring per month, while a female horse can have only one per month. No horse can be entered in races while in the breeding process.

Also, note that a young horse is not physically mature enough to breed and must wait 28 days after it was born to be bred. Your new horse can however be entered into races immediately.

Horses are not allowed to breed with brothers, sisters, parents, or grandparents.

The above diagram shows the breakdown of which breeding pairs are capable of producing which offspring. Genesis horses cannot be bred, as they are first-generation horses in the ZED ecosystem. There will only ever be 38,000 Genesis horses and are acquired via ZED airdrops, and/or via their marketplace (which is currently sold out).

Owning a Genesis racehorse gives you an edge over non-Genesis racehorses, however, the gene pool provides a horse with the potential for greatness, it does not guarantee that greatness. The opposite is true as well, being a non-Genesis racehorse does not exclude you from greatness.

The process of breeding occurs in the ‘Stud Farm’, where you place your male or female horse, determine the price (either you’re willing to pay, or you’re charging), and select the number of days. For the time being, the process is required even if you’re breeding within your own stable, but there are plans to introduce ‘private breeding’ in the future.

The above chart shows the breakdown of the stud fee distribution. If you’re breeding within your own stable, you still must pay the minimum fee, however, you get a 35% discount.

Currently the minimum base breeding fee is 0.075 ETH. This does not mean the minimum breeding price is 0.075 ETH, rather it acts as the base to determine what the final breeding price will be depending on bloodline, breed type, and the duration that sire is in the stud farm for. Minimum breeding prices will vary well below and well above the base breeding price of 0.075 ETH.

The breeding formula is as follows:

Base Price (0.075) x { (Bloodline Weighting x 80%) + (Breed Type Weighting x 20%) } x Breeding With Your Own Stable (if applicable).

Example: Sire is a Buterin, Z20 breeds from your own stable with an Exclusive and is in the Stud for 7 days.

= 0.075 ETH x { (15% x 80%) + (120% x 20%) } x 65%

= 0.075 ETH x { .12 + .24 } x .65

= 0.075 ETH x .234

= 0.0176 ETH

The fee allocation would then be as follows:

  • Prize Pool: 70%

  • Stud Owner: 0%

  • ZED Fee: 30%

Each racehorse has its own unique DNA profile that determines the horse’s overall characteristics and abilities. The four (4) traits a horse carries are:

  • Bloodline- plays the biggest role in contributing to a racehorse’s overall ability rating and contributes 80% of the overall weighting.

  • Nakamoto: 180%

  • Szabo: 120%

  • Finney: 40%

  • Buterin: 15%

2. Genotype — refers to the Z number of a horse indicating how far down the lineage (or family tree) a racehorse is from its original ancestors. A Z1 is the rarest and provides the highest chance of becoming a top-performing racehorse. Genotype maxes out at Z268. When breeding, the offspring’s new genotype is calculated by adding the two parents Z numbers together. For example, a Z12 and a Z35 will produce an offspring with a Z47.

3. Breed Type — is the hierarchy system used to help identify genotype and accounts for 20% of a horses total weighting. There are six (6) breed types in total:

  • Genesis: 180%

  • Legendary: 150%

  • Exclusive: 120%

  • Elite: 90%

  • Cross: 80%

  • Pacer: 60%

The closer the breed type to the Genesis breed, the more likely it is your horse will be a winner, and you’ll be able to charge a higher premium for breeding.

4. Coat Color — Classifications of the different groups identify a hors’es coat color uniqueness, broken up into Coat Color Groups and Rarity Tiers. Newborns are assigned a coat color via a complex process that involves the following equation: Breeding Pairs (bp) x Breeding Rarity (br), each of which have their own complex formula we won’t get into here, but you are free to read more about here: Colour Pairs and Colour Rarity — ZED RUN Guide

NOTE: the gender of an offspring is calculated randomly.

A horse’s ability is broken down into three(3) characteristics: Ability Score, Distance Preference, and Fatigue Factor. As of this writing, only ability score and distance preference are activated, while fatigue factor will be introduced in the future. ZED also reportedly has intentions to include a weather preference and surface preference down the road.

A racehorse’s ability will deviate from race to race, some more than others. The best way to gain an understanding of your horse’s abilities is to race it! The more races, the more data you can gather and the more insight you will gain. Your horse will likely perform better at some distances more than others. You may find it to have a gate preference as well. But you can’t figure these details out without racing.