front runner

or front-run·ner, front·run·ner

See more synonyms for front runner on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a person who leads in any competition.
  2. an entrant in a race who breaks to the front immediately and establishes the pace for the field.
  3. an entrant in a race who performs well only when ahead of the field.

Origin of front runner

An Americanism dating back to 1935–40
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for front runner

favorite, forerunner

Examples from the Web for front runner

Contemporary Examples of front runner