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The Backstretch is the area in a horse racetrack where horses are stabled and the training and daily work of maintaining the horses occurs. In many race tracks it will be found directly across the track from the grandstands and may also be called "the other side of the track."


A backstretch is divided into several areas. One, known as "shed row", is a line of stables, each stable home to many of the horses at the track. There are also dormitories, where workers (many migrant) live; offices for the trainers to register horses for upcoming races; a cafeteria; a recreation hall; and offices for the Chaplain. People working in this area are sometimes described as "the backstretch family", consisting of trainers, exercise riders, jockeys, grooms, farriers, veterinarians, muckers, jockey agents, and others in various positions.[1]

The backstretch in horse racing is also the part of an oval racecourse farthest from the spectators and opposite the homestretch. Most barn areas are on this far side of the track, and hence, the backstretch derives its name.[2]


In photo-essay A Backstretch Journey, photographer Harris J. Sklar gives a vivid account of the daily life and activity occurring in the backstretch, with both photographs and quotations.