backstretch

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

The Maiden Cup 2006 at the Champ de Mars Racecourse in Port Louis, Mauritius

back +‎ stretch.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

backstretch (plural backstretches)

  1. (athletics, horse racing) Synonym of back straight (straight part of a racetrack, running track, etc., opposite the finishing line).
    • 1853 November 26, “Ten Mile Race in Centreville, L.I.”, in Gleason’s Pictorial Drawing-room Companion, volume V, number 22 (number 126 from the start), Boston, Mass.: F[rederick] Gleason, corner of Tremont and Bromfield Sts., OCLC 5329334, page 340, column 1:
      At the time appointed to start [2 1 2 P.M.], the horses made their appearance on the track, and were soon after called up by the judges for the race. They were startd at six minutes before three o'clock, the pacer having the pole, and leading round the first turn. On the backstretch he waited for the trotter, and let him take sides with him, it being apparent at this early stage that [George] Spicer did not intend to go any faster than the trotter would make him, at the same time keeping the trotter on the ouside all the way round, thereby making him go a greater distance in the race.
    • 1996, Marty Glickman; Stan Isaacs, “Prologue”, in The Fastest Kid on the Block: The Marty Glickman Story (Sports and Entertainment), Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, ISBN 978-0-8156-0393-1, page 2:
      This was a day almost fifty years since the time I was supposed to run in the 4 by 100-meter Olympic relay. I was standing on the track in the imposing, empty Olympic Stadium in Berlin. [] I walked down into the well of the vast, brooding stadium, and then along the backstretch of the red clay running oval.
  2. (horse racing) An area next to a racetrack used to stable the racehorses and house employees.
    • 1997, Cary Fagan, chapter 9, in Sleeping Weather, Erin, Ont.: The Porcupine's Quill, ISBN 978-0-88984-188-8, page 71:
      Dominic Gatto liked to have someone at the track to represent him when one of his horses raced at Arlington Park or Belmont or Prescott Downs. Someone to relay a word to the jockey, keep a sharp eye on the trainer, distribute tips to the backstretch workers who were made to understand that Mr Dominic appreciated their services.
    • 2012, Krista Michelle Breen, “Quicksand”, in Quicksand: The Mysterious Disappearance of Dakotaroo, 4th edition, Rockwood, Ont.: Groundskeeper's Cottage Press, ISBN 978-0-9735241-0-9, page 130:
      When I was a kid here, growing up in the Palouse River, we never met people from other cultures or countries. There on the racetracks and backstretches in England I met people from all over the world. Everyone came together to own the horses, to work the horses and to watch them race.
  3. (figuratively) The middle part of an event.
    • 2014 June 26, A. A. Dowd, “Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler spoof rom-com clichés in They Came Together”, in The A.V. Club[1], archived from the original on 28 June 2014:
      In some respects, it might be too faithful to the genre it savages; as in many real rom-coms, the energy flags during the plot’s backstretch, and audiences may share the drifting interest of Kyle (Bill Hader) and Karen (Ellie Kemper), who come to regret ever asking Joel and Molly to chronicle their meet-cute.
    • 2012, Erica Hayes, Dragonfly, Sydney, N.S.W.: Pan Macmillan, ISBN 978-1-74334-099-8:
      I'd decrypted his puzzle easily enough. He'd left it in Zykovski six-gen, a function he knew I could deconstruct, and the pages of slipbeacon data that unfolded had led me here: an abandoned energy plant on another mined-out rock somewhere in the cold backstretches of Imperial space.
    • 2014 June 12, Brendan Murphy, “A Bump in the Road”, in All of the Commodore’s Men: Just to Know Who’s Driving, What a Help It Would be!, [Bloomington, Ind.]: Xlibris, ISBN 978-1-4836-2978-0, page 197:
      I knew that my attorney was eccentric and a little crazy from time to time but after I saw his performance during the course of the temporary restraining order hearings, I was convinced that he was the right man for the job no matter what. After all, we were up against the entire County of Inyo law-enforcement apparatus and we beat them and now on the back stretch of this fundamental titanic struggle between good and evil, my attorney in whom I had so much confidence is now no longer []
  4. An exercise that stretches the muscles of the back.
    • 2014, Tim O'Mara, Dead Red (Raymond Donne Mysteries; 3), New York, N.Y.: Minotaur Books, St. Martin's Press, ISBN 978-1-250-05863-8, page 264:
      I went over to the other bed and lay down. My knees were hanging over the side of the bed, providing me with a fairly decent back stretch. With my eyes closed, I could hear sleep calling.
    • 2017, “Live Longer and Stay Healthy while Feeling Younger”, in Fitness & Exercise: The Most Comprehensive Work-out Manual to Strengthen Your Body & Improve Your Health, [s.l.]: Ouvrage Collectif, ISBN 978-882603653-3, page 86:
      The upper backstretches require that you stand in position with your feet at a slight distance apart 'than shoulder-width, while the knees are bent slightly.' Intertwine the fingers and then 'push your hands as far away from' the chest area 'as feasible.'

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