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The Morning Line

Posted by Bob on October 23, 2003

In Reply to: The Morning Line posted by ESC on October 23, 2003

: : In Damon Runyon's great books a horse racing gambler who has lost all his money is said to have nothing left but "the morning line". This is also the name of a Channel 4 (UK) programme about horse racing.

: : Does anyone know where the phrase comes from, how it comes to mean what it does.

: : thanks

: From the Horse Racing Glossary online at

: Morning Line - Approximate odds quoted before wagering begins.

: : David

It's a guess, made in the morning (ah!) of what the odds *might* be when the race is run later in the day, identifying the favorites and longshots, giving estimated values to the odds. The *actual* odds and payoffs are derived totally from the actual wagering. In other words, if the betting crowd doesn't bet the morning line favorite, it's no longer the favorite. By the way, many people share the misconception that the race track has an interest in which horse wins. They don't. The nature of parimutuel betting is that the crowd is betting against ... the crowd. The track pulls in all the money, and redistributes a fixed percentage to the winners. It's the same percentage, whether longshots or favorites win, so the track's interest is in building the total amount wagered, not which horses cross the line first.

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