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Nancy asked in SportsHorse Racing · 4 months ago

What's the term for a racehorse who tends to lag behind throughout the race but then surges ahead in the final stretches to win or place?

Looking for this bit of obscure vocabulary. I know it exists, but I've forgotten it. I know there's horse racing jargon for horses that perform this way, but I can't remember the term, like I remember a "mudder" is a racehorse with longer odds but who will finish strong or win if there's a sudden downpour or it's rained and the track is muddy. 

I'd call my grandpa who used to take me to the racetrack with him, just me and him, when I was a girl, especially up to Hialeah Park, which was like high society and we'd go always wearing our Sunday best with hats and I loved looking out at the pink flamingos. I was his ticket to get to go down and inspect the horses, him saying his granddaughter really wanted to look at all the pretty horses, which I did, and they'd take one look at me and always let us through. Those were some of my favorite days as a girl, but he's not around anymore and I can't think of anyone else to ask.Do any people who go to the track know or remember the term used for horses who rather than start strong and stay ahead tend to start slow and bring up the rear or disappear into the group of middling horses for almost the entire race only to then come around the last bend, pour on steam, pass and pull out ahead of the middling bunch of horses, and catch up with or pass the lead horse for the win or at least go neck and neck and place, finishing strong several lengths ahead of the horses they'd been running with or running behind?

5 Answers

  • Anonymous
    4 months ago

    A horse like this is a late closer. A "mudder" is a horse that likes to run in the mud or on a sloppy track.  Horses that start strong but then fade are usually called pace setters.

  • 4 months ago

    I think, from the UK perspective, it takes two - horse AND jockey.   And it actually has more to do with the jockey than the horse.    A good jockey, with the advice of his trainer if he's not regularly on that horse, will know whether he has a hold-up horse under him, with the ability to produce a burst of speed during the final couple of furlongs, or one that he has to get out front from the start and hope the horse has the stamina to last to the line.

    Thinking on this, the UK term would probably be 'a hold-up horse'.

    Jamie Spencer was/is good at judging a race, coming up from the back of the field.  On the other hand, Frankie Dettori was/is a master at going out front and dictating the pace - provided he had the right horse under him!!

  • 4 months ago

    Horses are either pace setters (the ones in the lead early), stalkers (in the middle) or  closers (the ones at the back).

    Any of these may be great horses, and may win reliably.

    Most horses like to do one or the other, but some horses seem able to win from any position.

  • 4 months ago

    I agree with Blue Jay, the running style you're referring to is a Closer!

    In my opinion a CLOSER is the most exciting style in horse racing. A closer will go to the back of the pack, sometimes as many as 9 to15 lengths off the lead, and then wait and make one big run at the end of the race. Another great closer; The great Zenyatta, she definitely is known as one of the greatest closers of all time as well.  Zenyatta would charge from last to first and win by as much as three lengths or more.

    There's also:

    FRONT RUNNERS: These types of runners want the lead right from the beginning of the race. A beginner may think of this as a good thing, and it can be, but often times horses that are in the lead in the beginning tend to tire themselves out and fade towards the end. Some even go wire to wire. Front Runners go for the lead right from the start, and the they battles hard with the horse beside him to get that lead.

    STALKERS: A stalker likes to be near the lead, but doesn’t necessarily have to be ahead to be happy. Typically a stalker sits within one to four lengths of the lead and waits until the top of the stretch before making their move. If the race lacks a true front running horse a stalker can assume the lead as well. They sits patiently, and start to move at the top of the stretch. 

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  • 4 months ago

    A Closer!

     Horses that run off the pace or come from behind and make their bid in the stretch run are known as CLOSERS. The most famous closer of all time was Silky Sullivan.

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