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Horse Racing - What Is a Furlong? - By D J Bromley

It is generally agreed that the United Kingdom is the home of horse racing and most countries have followed the systems and examples set by the old Jockey Club and now the British Horse Racing Board. However, when it comes to measuring distances of races there is now a split between those nations that use a metric system and those that remain true to the miles and furlong way of distance measuring.

This bemuses not only foreign visitors to UK race courses but also many younger British race goers who have been brought up being schooled in the now more common metric and decimal methods.

Why are the races run over distances called furlongs? In fact what is a furlong?

Currently only the UK, Ireland, Canadaand the USA remain true to the furlong whereas the rest of the world uses the metre to measure the distance of a race. A furlong is a distance of 220 yards and the name originates from the 8th or 9th centuries. The term is made up from the Old English words furh and lang which simply meant "long furrow" and it referred to the length of 1 furrow in a 1 acre ploughed plot.

In the United Kingdom the official use of the furlong was abolished under the new Weights and Measures Act in 1985 but has continued to be used in horse racing. Although there have been some demand for a change to the UK practice of giving fractional odds for betting there appears to be little interest or appetite for dropping the miles and furlong system. Amongst the racing authorities and the public the general opinion appears to be "if it is not broke, don't fix it." However, it is noticeable how in modern times there are more races being run at distances such as 1 mile 4 furlongs and 60 yards rather than before when all races where set to exact furlong distances.

The distance of a race can be an important factor in finding a potential race winner. Many horses can run well over 5 or 6 furlongs but asked them to go the extra in a 7 furlong race and they find it beyond them. Horses than are good at a mile can often be extended to a mile and a quarter but lack the stamina for further. Some experts consider that 7 furlongs is an intermediate specialist distance and that it can always pay to follow horse that have proven themselves over 7 furlongs.

To learn more about the Horse Racing Systems and download our Free 28 page report "How to be a Profitable Punter visit http://www.horseracingsystemsreview.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=D_J_Bromley
http://EzineArticles.com/?Horse-Racing---What-Is-a-Furlong?&id=6059975

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