By Sid Fernando
I recently bought a small tool shaped as a key that fits on my key ring, and it’s a handy-dandy piece that’s a wrench, bottle opener, box cutter, and other useful things in one. I use it all the time.
If you have an interest in international racing and breeding, I’ve got a two-in-one tool for you, and it’s extraordinarily helpful. I use it all the time as well. All you have to do is remember the number 2.
Many foreign jurisdictions measure racing distances in meters. This may seem simplistic, but I’ve seen experienced racing people have trouble converting meters to furlongs, but all you need to do is use 2 to either divide or multiply, and forget about decimal points and concentrate instead on the whole number.
For example, to convert meters to furlongs, divide by 2. Therefore, 2000 meters becomes 10 furlongs, 1000 meters is 5 furlongs, 1600 meters is 8 furlongs, and so on.
Conversely, to convert furlongs to meters, multiply by 2 (and forget the zeroes); therefore, 12 furlongs is 2400 meters, 16 furlongs is 3200 meters, and 6 furlongs is 1200 meters.
A mile and a sixteenth? No problem. It’s 8.5 furlongs, which is 1700 meters.
Keep in mind, however, that meters are actually smaller units of measurement, and 1600 meters isn’t exactly 8 furlongs; it’s slightly less.
People in the bloodstock business routinely have trouble calculating the number of years a stallion has been at stud versus the age of his oldest crop.
For example, a stallion with first-crop 2-year-olds will be in his fourth year of service, but let’s spell this out: In his first year at stud, a stallion breeds his first mares; in his second year at stud, he gets his first foals; in his third year, his first yearlings; and in his fourth year, his first 2-year-olds. Easy enough, right?
Here’s how to remember this, using 2.
As we established, a fourth-year stallion has a first crop that is two, and you can arrive at that by subtracting 2 from years at stud (4-2=2).
OK, so how old are a stallion’s first foals in his seventh year at stud?
Again, subtract 2 from years at stud; therefore, in his seventh year at stud, a stallion’s oldest foals — those from his first crop — are 5-year-olds (7-2=5).
Likewise, a fifth-year stallion (a stallion’s fifth year at stud) will have oldest foals that are 3-year-olds, and so on.
In reverse, you add 2. A stallion with first yearlings is a third-year sire (1+2=3), a stallion with first-crop 3-year-olds (3+2=5) is a fifth-year sire, and so on.