How Tos

Uma Musume Pretty Derby beginner guide

A handbook to get you acquainted with the trade of horseracing Uma Musume Pretty Derby.

Uma Musume Pretty Derby beginner guide

When it comes to the anime industry, idol anime sits atop the throne of high performers. Even if you know nothing about anime, surely you have come across titles like Oshi No Kuno or Love Live! They often manifest in the form of rhythm games in the mobile scene. Alternatively, they might stick to a traditional turn-based RPG format like Revue Starlight. Uma Musume breaks that mould by fusing the childish flamboyance that defines the genre with horse racing.

You might have come across the anime itself or its banger tracks. Or you're a cynical gacha resident on the lookout for new toys to chew on. Whatever your origins, we’ve got your horseback with this guide to help you get a grip on horse racing management. Hopefully, you get to foster a sweet camaraderie with your equestrian friends. A foreword, though. Brace yourself for a steep learning curve on top of the language barrier.

Pro-tip on resource management and gacha

Character banner on the left, Supporter card on the right, cumulative rate for SSR is 3%

Probably the most straightforward aspect of the game. It all boils down to two separate banners for the horse and support card. Here are a few things to note:

  • Support card holds more weight in gameplay. Considering how quickly your premium gem income dries up. We encourage novices to dedicate their expenditure to getting good support cards.
  • There is no such thing as a useless character, nor fodder. Every horse has a different aptitude for stadium distance, track type, stats, and race strategy proficiency.
  • The cumulative SSR apparition rate for both pools is three per cent. Rate-up is 0.750% while off-rate SSR is a staggering 0.015%. To offset this, the game gives you a three-star ticket selector.

Setting up the stage

So, your endgame goal is to raise a harem of horses for collection and competition. After waltzing through the long introduction, all the magic starts with a simple click on the green button at the bottom. From here you can have to pick the horse you wish to train. Luckily for you, the tutorial gacha is here to get you started.

From left to right - Gold Ship, Vodka, Daiwa, Sakura, Haru Urara

Name  Rarity Strengths and aptitude
Vodka  2 - Mile and middle track distance
Daiwa Scarlet  2 - Mile and middle track distance

- Works well with runner race strategy

Sakura Bakushin O  1 - Sprint and mile track distance

- Very beginner-friendly thanks to high growth rate and excellence across three out of four race strategies

Gold Ship  2 - Middle and long track distance

- Robust stats all around

- Works well with runner race strategy

Haru Urara  1 - Only starter that fares well on dirt tracks,

- Below average aptitude in every aspect other than sprint.

To get a good grasp of things, we recommend starting with shorter tracks and moving your way up. Hence, Sakura Bakushin O is your best bet. Then move on to train the other starters. Do avoid dirt tracks. Besides bogging speed down by 50 for non-adept horses, it is hard to train on.

By default, it will appear as the one on the right side.

After that, you come across the inheritance interface. It's essentially Mendel's pea-crossing experiment with extra steps. On the big white boxes, you assign two parent horses as role models for your trainee. While you have no choice but to pick an untrained one for the first box, the game is kind enough to let you borrow a friend's horse as the second parent. In this case, my pick is Mihano Bourbon. Similarly, Kitasan Black, or Silence Shizuka are popular picks. A 3-star horse confers a silver lining to pass down their unique skill. Do also take note that inheritance can happen twice during a scenario cycle.

A race is split into several phases - the opening leg and middle leg (visualised by the green area), last leg (blue plus orange area), and the final spurt (red area). The speed stat you see is coined as target speed. Throughout the race, your horse adjusts its current speed according to that metric.

The double circle on the top right corner of the status screen

The best compatibility for breeding is also represented by a double circle. You will notice blue and pink bubbles with numbers hovering over your horse's base stats. These are the stat boosts coming from the paternal and maternal lineage, respectively. Scrolling through their profile, you will find that a 3-star blue factor gives +21 and your rookie first parent gives +5 sourced from her 1-star blue factor. Now let's go over and explore what each metric contributes to. In order from left to right:

Speed  Target speed, your horse will try to match her current speed. Influenced by skills and some circumstances.
Stamina Useful to maintain your speed when running long distances. 
Power  Useful for scaling tracks with uphill terrains. Affects acceleration that becomes pertinent starting from the Last Leg.
Guts A finicky stat that ties into stamina and speed.  Matters a lot from the Last Leg onwards
Intelligence Allows your horse to activate her skill more frequently. Makes your horse less prone to panic.

Supporter card selection interface

What comes next is the supporter selector screen. Here you need to slot in six cards and they come in clutch to give your training a boost. You can see a coloured icon sitting on the top right corner of each supporter card. This denotes which of the five stats it can focus on boosting. Generally, avoid slotting in support cards of the same type. Similarly, putting one of each type in your roster can result in ineffective gain.

Similar to parent selection, you can borrow a friend's support card to fill in the last spot. They appear as tiny icons on the top side during training. Their main purpose is to accelerate your stat growth. Since our objective is to walk through a training cycle on a sprint derby with Sakura Bakushinn O. With the card lineup set, tap on the URA scenario to begin. Others have their own set of mechanics to waddle through.

Training routine

Green border denotes turn left until major event; Orange border denotes your energy and motivation; Blue border lets you access your race objectives; Meru border shows your support cards

Upon clicking on the menu, you will notice five coloured bubbles lining up at the bottom part of the screen. In order from top left to bottom right. These operations entail:

Green bubble Rest For stamina recovery (the rainbow bar on the top screen). Sometimes the date option is in tow. Recovers 50 energy commonly.
Blue bubble Training Contains a set of five facilities for stat training.
Cyan bubble Skill management Lets you allocate skill points periodically.
Purple bubble Infirmary Lets you cure any negative conditions ie: Flabby status. 
Yellow bubble Date Maintain your horse’s motivation level at tip-top shape. Random events occur on a random basis. 
Character icon Optional race Partake in mock races to raise motivation if dating is not up your ante. Also important to increase your fanfare.

Immediately, you will notice a countdown on the top left of the calendar page, which denotes turns left for a major racing event. A scenario typically lasts 70 turns, roughly translating to three in-game years.

Five round bubbles with gym equipment greet you on the training interface. In URA, these facilities can level up after training four times. Patronise them to increase the stat gain amount which caps at 1200. Anything beyond will see its gain halved. Besides, you will no doubt notice character frames on the corner with an empty bar. They are the supporter cards that gain bond points through simultaneous training in the facility commensurate to their type.

Stat to train from highest to lowest priority:

  • Speed (900)
  • Intelligence (700)
  • Stamina/Power (500-600 each)
  • Guts (>300)
  • Friendship (>300)

Focus on bringing the horse up to speed by spam-clicking the first bubble. Then alternate between different facilities accordingly. Keep an eagle eye on both energy and motivation. A fully-rested horse in high spirits can benefit most in terms of stat gain, besides not failing any training. Hit up the wisdom facility periodically as it does not consume energy, unlike the rest.

Left side: Post-training random event; Right side: Crane minigame

Now and then, random events can occur in the form of silly banter between characters or a crane game if you're lucky. What awaits at the end can be a wall of numbers or acquiring a new skill. Likewise, after a wrong coin toss, you can lose some stats or risk getting demoralised. Events and training facilities also change depending on the season. For instance, around July you can see your horse in a beach episode setting.

Off the beaten track

URA race objectives

This is the central stage where your training pays off. There is a list of objectives to achieve. You can always draw up the checklist again for a refresher. They share a common condition of winning and growing your fanbase. For instance, this particular goal requires me to rank at least top five on this G3 track. Failing can result in premature withdrawal from the scenario. Successful completion can dole out rewards in terms of limited break materials.

As shown in the red border, ideally we want to see three double circles

Track compatibility is a thing too. Just like inheritance, you can see some shapes in the top corner. A double circle and a happy horse are a good omen. Conversely, a minus or triangle is a sore sight for your horse. The race aspect happens in a hands-off manner. Other than the labours of your training determining the outcome, configuring race strategy beforehand is equally important. You may want to check your horse's skill list that gives you an edge in a clutch (and Google Lens comes in handy). Here's a rundown of the four race strategies (note that the names are unofficial translations unanimously adhered by the majority).

From left to right: Chaser; Betweener; Leader; Runner. Google Lens will absolutely botch the translations
Runner Your horse can charge full speed ahead with unfaltering momentum.
Leader Stay in between a runner and betweener. 
Betweener Also conservationists but they don’t fall too behind, also go all out during the last leg.
Chaser Conservationists who save their speed throughout the opening and middle legs, go all out during the last leg.

Beside a rank on the right side, you can also see some numbers clinging to the bottom. It represents the number of horses going for that strategy. Take care to check the track compatibility. A triangle can indicate a poor match while a double circle again indicates the opposite. If Dame Fortune does not favour you, fret not as there's an item (a clock of sorts) that lets you retry. This time go for another race strategy your horse excels at. Like Sakura Bakushinn here who excels at three.

You'll also notice a classification system along with numbers on the selection screen. Nailing a G1 track can yield a +10 gain to every stat as well as ample skill points (+45) as shown in the post-race scene. Going lower than that (G2/G3/OP) can net you lower gains. You get the gist. All of which can increase fanfare denoted by a pink-shaped human icon.

Just like the real thing. Bust out a cup of tea, sit back, and chill to the tune of the race commentary. Or you can just skip to the end for a Hannah Montana-esque MV.

Concert time

The light at the end of the tunnel

With the final curtain and every goal ticked in the checklist, congratulations, your journey has come to an end. The trained horse can be benched in the Hall of Fame as a separate entity. With the original copy serving as a template for you to train again. They can see us as a parent generation for breeding and be used in PvP content. I can not recommend any greenhorns to dip in.

Right picture shows the list of factors gained and end result of your training for your stats

An inheritance screen can also blast at you, showing you a range of genes your trainee is capable of acquiring. If you are not satisfied, you get one chance to reroll.

Green factor Confers unique skill (denoted by skills with a rainbow border). Exclusive from 3-star horses.
Blue factor Confers stats gain, again, 3-star tag gives +21, 2-star confers +12 and 1-star confers +5
Pink factor Confers track aptitude gain
White factor Confers ordinary skills

My second rodeo with a 3-star, the aim in sight is diamond stats

And there you have it. You have graduated from being a rookie horse trainer. Now march forth and do it all over again (probably a million times). From here on you can also learn the ropes of other scenarios such as Aoharu and Champion's Meetings. Remember, producing an A-rank horse is just the simple beginning. Aoharu is where those diamond-rank horses are made. Have fun!

Anderson Han
Anderson Han
A wanderlust by nature who regards video games as an artful medium for creative storytelling. I implore thee to join me on my jubilant voyage through the sea of video games. PS: I find great pleasure jamming to Touhou songs while riding on public transports.