How to calculate horse speed

Written by bill brown
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How to calculate horse speed
Calcuate horse speed over a particular distance. (Getty Thinkstock)

If want to know the actual speed of a horse, you can do it quickly if you know the span of time that a horse has run over a particular distance. Horse races are measured in furlongs; a furlong is an eighth of a mile. By breaking down the speed of the horse per furlong and extrapolating the speed over a mile, you can calculate the average speed of the horse over the course of the distance.

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  1. 1

    Convert the time for the horse over a given distance into seconds, if it isn't already, by adding 60 for every minute to the seconds portion of the time. For example, if the horse's time is 1:12, add 60 to 12 to yield 72 seconds.

  2. 2

    Divide the time in seconds by the number of furlongs to get the average time per furlong. For a six furlong race, a 72-second time would be 12 seconds per furlong.

  3. 3

    Multiply the time per furlong by eight to get what the average time per mile would have been at that speed. For example, 12 times 8 equals a 96-second mile.

  4. 4

    Divide 60 by the time-per-mile from Step 3 to get the percentage of a mile the horse would cover in a minute. A 96-second mile means the horse would run .625 of a mile in one minute.

  5. 5

    Multiply the result from Step 4 by 60 to get the speed in miles per hour for the horse. A .625 of a mile in a minute reading translates to 37.5mph.

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