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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (3/18/10)

Contact: Jim Miller
(708) 780-3700

It's a Thankless Job

Doing the morning line is a thankless job. Very rarely do people ever compliment you on a good line. Often as a line maker, you hear if you missed one though. The best compliment that can come from a morning line is when nothing at all is said.

In regards to the morning line, the odds that are set are really only seen on the toteboard one time and that is when the race prior is made official and the next race’s opening odds are posted. After that, it is a free-for-all, with money coming in and odds changing until the horses spring from the gate.

As the oddsmaker, I feel there is a responsibility to provide a consistent line, and most importantly, to peg the correct favorite.

When doing a line, there is so much to take into regard. You have recent running styles, jock and trainer combos, how will a race shape up in regards to pace, and the tendencies of the wagering public. At the start of a racing meet, you also have to look into which runners are fit and which may need a race.

Take all of this into account and now add in the time factor. At Hawthorne we enter 72-96 hours before the races are ever run. In an industry when time is everything, we want information in our players’ hands as soon as possible. And on days when we draw later in the afternoon, we are under a more extreme time crunch. All in all, there is usually one – two hours to turn around the morning line odds for a card once the races are drawn.

Here’s how things have looked thus far this meet in regards to the horse that I have laid as the morning line choice in a race:

Races Choice off as fav. as fav/2nd choice fav-3rd choice Worse
136 82 (60%) 115 (85%) 129 (95%) 7 (5%)

Looking at those figures, you can see that the morning line choice is often highly regarded. For myself, I would like to peg the favorite every time out, but of course that is impossible. With 95% of the horses that I lay as the choice going off no worse than the third choice, I am happy with that figure. That being said, there are always questions as to why a horse was put in at the odds they were. For that, I welcome anyone to email me at anytime and I will provide an answer.

Now as the track handicapper on-air, I often get the question: “How can you lay a horse as the favorite but not have it as your selection?” The answer to that one is easy. When I do the morning line, I put horses in at the odds that I expect the wagering public to send a horse off at. When I am handicapping a race, I make my selections based solely on how I feel a race will be run.

The most important thing in my mind is providing players with information as quickly as possible. That is why you will always see both my morning line, and my selections for that day’s draw on the web by the end of the day.

We are now only two weeks away from the running of the Grade III $500,000 Illinois Derby. Don’t forget that we have also added in the $50,000 Cryptoclearance Stakes on the card as well. Rooms and reservations for April 3’s Illinois Derby Day are filling up quickly. Make sure to get your reservation now by contacting our Group Sales office at 708-780-7050.

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