The backstretch is the length of track furthest from the grandstand. It is also the longest straight stretch in a horse race. It is here where jockeys are are getting their horses into position for the “far turn” and sub sequentially the “homestretch”. This is also where the term “jockeying for position” was no doubt born. In any type of racing pace is a key element. Jockeys help pace the horse during the early part of the race so that when it is time to kick it into high gear the horse has some energy stored up.
Each horse has it’s own style and with the communication between the jockey and trainer before the race a plan is devised. Some horses run most efficiently when they are out front, others like to stalk from only a couple lengths back down the backstretch and a few like to lay back from the pack and even trail the field saving all it’s energy for the final couple of furlongs.
Before the common use of TV monitors at the track spectators equipped themselves with binoculars to watch the action that takes place on the backstretch. Pictured above is the Triple Crown winner Citation of Calumet Farms in Lexington, Kentucky pacing himself down the backstretch.
Today, large flat screen TVs and even Jumbo-trons allow spectators and bettors a great view of the backstretch strategy.