How Long is a Furlough in Horse Racing?

As you learn about horse races, have you ever come across the term furlong and wondered what it meant? How long does one need to go when in such a race?

Well, you are about to know. Here, we’ll look at how long is furlong?

This term isn’t something new in the world of horse racing. If you understand the meaning of such a race, it will be easy to know how long it goes.

Though it has many different names in Europe and the U. S. A, how people play it remains the same. The race is about measurements.

So, are you ready? Let’s start with the meaning of the furlong race.

What is a Furlong?

What is a Furlong

When it comes to horse racing, a furlong is a unit that helps measure the distance. Though it’s something of the past, many horse racers worldwide, mainly the U. S. A still use it.

The name isn’t famous. Well, it’s because a few people use it outside a horse race.

This term came from an old English term called ‘furlang.’ So, fur meant farrow while lang meant the distance of the furrow. The space was about 660 feet long.

As the years went by, the term kept changing. Today people now call it furlong.

Also, the term furlong came from Rome, Italy. People used furlongs to give the measurements of a stadium.

In England, people used furlongs to measure the size of lands. So, it helped reduce cases of land disputes. It was in the late 1300s and the beginning of the 1400s.

Don’t forget that England converted the furlong to a mile in the same way as the Romans. Well, it also helped to avoid disputes with the Romans.

Also, the length of a furlong helped people in England to design the feet and yard measurements. The Queen of England then made furlong, feet, and yard lengths to be in use.

Remember, people accepted to use furlongs as a unit of measuring things at the start of horse racing in England in the 1600s. Also, Italy, England, and other European nations kept using furlongs up to the eighties.

During these years, people used furlongs to set up racetracks. So, people now passed down the tradition down to many years.

Then, from here, it remained as a measurement in horse races. Many people in England use furlongs even to measure canals.

How long is a Furlong?

How long is a Furlong

Today in horse races, a furlong equals an eighth of a mile, 660 feet or 220 yards. So, to 8 furlongs, make a mile.

The distance is the same as 201.17 meters or 2 kilometers. Well, it’s the key type of measurement that many people use in races. Remember, different nations that do furlong racing use these measurements in miles.

One interesting fact about a furlong is when you look at an acre. It equals a rectangle that is one furlong long and has a width of 4 rods.

Also, one furlong is as high as three-fifths of the Eiffel Tower. Remember, it’s the tallest building in Paris. So, it means that the Eiffel Tower is almost 1.61 furlongs tall.

How Fast Can Horse Ran Over a Furlong?

A horse will take only 12 to 13 seconds to run over a furlong. It will also depend on the type of horse in the race.

Expect the thoroughbred horses to be faster than the quarter horses. Well, it’s because thoroughbred horses race on most days of their lives.

Using Furlongs in a Horse Race

Using Furlongs in a Horse Race

The measurements are in furlongs for every race that people race in less than one mile or sprints. It can be five, 5.5, or 6 furlongs. But in the end, everything will read in miles.

So, for every thoroughbred horse, they can run for at least two furlongs, which is a quarter a mile. As years go by, people still make some changes about the furlong.

The timing of such races is at quarter poles which is the same as 2 furlongs. These times are in the racing forms.

In many horse races today, you’ll see people using furlongs to show the length of a racetrack. Remember, it only applies to racetracks that are one mile or shorter.

But why do some horse races use furlongs? Well, everything goes back to the tradition of these measurements.

If a race track is half a mile, it will be four furlongs. But if the path is more than one mile, then the furlongs won’t be in use. Also, the lengths of the tracks will be in the form of fractions.

Remember, it’s rare to see or hear people talking about furlongs, if not in horse races. A nation like the Republic of Myanmar uses furlongs to show distances on their roads.

Also, there are some cups races in the U. S. that actively use the furlong measurements. There’s the breeder’s cup and the race for the Triple Crown.

Breeder’s Cup

So, with the breeder’s cup, the tracks are in different shapes and sizes. Also, the distances vary every year. It will depend on the location of the event.

Here, 10 furlongs is a classic distance that horses can run. Well, it helps test the speed and power of the horses.

The Triple Crown Races

It’s one of the famous prizes that people target in the U. S. A. It entails three big races. Only thoroughbreds that are three years old take part.

The Kentucky Derby allows the horses to go for as long as 10 furlongs. Preakness S. allows the horses to race for 9.5 furlongs. The Belmont S. is where horses race for 12 furlongs.

Records in Furlong Horse Racing

Records in Furlong Horse Racing

Since the culture of using furlongs still keeps growing, then expect that there are records. The racers break these records after they cover the distances very fast.

Expect the records to come in two classes. There is the quarter horse and the thoroughbreds’ records. Below are some of the records.

1. Six-Furlong World Record

Twin Sparks is the one that holds the record at 1:06.49. The event took place in 2009 at the Turf Paradise.

Remember, Sparks was one that never had much success before setting the record. Luis Medina was the rider.

2. Seven-Furlong World Record

With this record, Rich Cream set it in 1980. It’s the longest type of furlong race distance that one could go.

Here, Rich Cream ran over 7 furlongs with 1 minute and 19 seconds. There’s no other horse that has broken the record yet. Well, maybe it’s because no one keeps having such races today.

3. World Record for Two Furlong

In 2020, a horse owned by Drip Brew set the new world record for two furlongs. By that year, the thoroughbred horse was six years old.

The horse hit the course after running a quarter a mile within 19.93 seconds. This race was in Praire Meadows.

This record of two furlongs has been there since 2008. The previous holder ran the two furlongs in 20.57 seconds.

Remember, the fastest a quarter horse can go is 20.94 seconds. Also, thoroughbreds get their time as they run even after covering the two furlongs. Quarter horses get their time when they stop.

4. Five Furlongs’ World Record

Yes! There is a record of a horse going through a five-furlong set in 55 and a third seconds. The horse was a thoroughbred called Chinook Pass. At that time, the horse was three years old.

It was a big achievement for the horse. So, together with the rider, Laffit A. Pincay Jr., they received large amounts of cash.

5. One Furlong’s World Record

This record was for a one-furlong horse race. Today, a quarter horse by the name of Travel Plan is the record holder.

The horse set the record in a simple claiming race. It was in 2009, and the record time was at 11:493. So, up to today, there’s no other horse that has broken this timing.

Remember, the thoroughbred horses don’t have this record since they don’t take part in it. But still, people note their times during the race.

For example, when in a race of a mile or less, a solid and fast thoroughbred will complete one furlong in a max of 13 seconds. If the race is more than a mile, it will complete it in around 14 seconds.

6. World Record for Five and a Half Furlong

This race was in 2012, and the time was 1 minute and 0.87 seconds. It took place at Emerald’s, and the winner was Hollywood Harbor. Up to today, the record still stands.


The term furlong is one that many people used in the past. Today, it’s rare to hear people use it. You’ll mostly get it in the horse races.

But if you are a lover of horse races, you should understand the origin of the term. It’s from here that you’ll know how long a furlong can go.

A furlong is the same as an eighth a mile. It means that eight furlongs make a mile.

There are many records that horses break during furlong races. The records show how fast a horse can go over many furlongs.

So, have you been to any furlong races? How many furlongs did the winner cover? Would you mind reaching to us and sharing your experiences?

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