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ἔσχατος μὲν corresponds with “ὅπως δ̓” (736): he was then last, indeed; but, when he saw that only one competitor was left, he pressed to the front.

ὑστέρας ἔχων explains why he was “ἔσχατος”: he was purposely keeping his horses behind; and φέρων, again, gives the motive of this; because he relied on the finish. For πίστιν φέρων as=“πιστεύων”, see O. T. 1445 n. [Cp. H. NewmanJ. , Apologia, p. 56: ‘with the racer in the Tragedy, look forward steadily and hopefully to the event, “τῷ τέλει πίστιν φέρων”.’]

Those who read “ὑστέρας δ̓” understand, ‘last, indeed, but last by his own choice.’ This is possible, but less simple. The “μὲν” after “ἔσχατος” probably led to the insertion of “δ̓”.

Wunder cp. Acad. Pr. 2. 29. 94 Ego enim, ut agitator callidus, prius quam ad finem veniam, equos sustinebo.

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    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 1445
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