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What is tactical speed?

I'm always looking for new issues to address and so when I came across this question on a message board. I thought it would be a good subject to talk about. As many horseplayers know speed is very important in races.

The pace of the race can often determine who is the winner. So it is a very important factor in handicapping.  Horses often have different running styles, they can be broken down into several categories. 

First you have your true front runners, these are horses that want to be in front. They have great natural speed and want to be on the lead, these horses are sometimes hard to rate for jockeys. This front end style is sometimes referred to as the "Bill Daly". This is in reference to an old trainer who used to instruct jockeys to always take the early lead.

Next comes your stalkers, a stalker is basically a horse that can rate just off the leaders. This is one of the most dangerous running styles. Horses that are stalkers generally sit just off the pace and are usually in perfect striking position turning for home. It is my opinion that horses who have this type of running style usually finish in the money the most.

The last category would be closers, a true closer is a horse that is void of early speed. They sometimes almost seem to lose touch with the field early, often trailing the race by dozens of lengths. Some of these horses are talented enough to unleash big late rally's.

These types of horses are usually most effective in route and grass races. This is probably the most exciting running style of the bunch. Because when these horses win it is sometimes from "out of the clouds".

Then there are horses that can fall into several of these categories. A horse that can show good early speed if the pace is slow or be taken back if the pace is hot. These types of horses have an advantage in most peoples minds.

As they have a versatile running style, they are not set in their ways. Basically what they have is good tactical speed.

I think that many jockeys prefer riding horses with tactical speed, as it makes the job of winning a bit easier to accomplish. So the next time you hear a jockey or trainer in an interview say "My horse has good tactical speed", you will now understand what they are talking about. By Kerry Zangara

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