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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Morning Line

- I had to laugh when I read The Quinella Queen 2B at Turf Luck refer to the “light crowd” of 9,685 at Mountaineer on Saturday. That of course was 1320 more than the 8,365 that showed up for the Woodward and three other Grade 1’s (I’m tempted to put that in quotation marks) at Belmont on Saturday.

QQ2B also refers to some advice from Steve Davidowitz’s essential book Betting Thoroughbreds.

Davidowitz points out that nowadays, the Morning Line "exerts an influence on the betting habits of uninformed bettors. Almost automatically, the average horseplayer will include the top two or three morning-line choices in his double and exacta combinations. " The result: lower double and exacta payoffs on ML choices.
I think this is particularly true now with the multi-race wagers that may not have even existed when the book was written. There’s very little value to be had on a Pick 3 when the morning line favorites win, especially in the case of the second and third legs. It’s in the first leg only that bettors have the board to be their guide, and I think it’s in the second and third legs that people will reflexively throw in the morning line favorites, especially, say, a first-timer from Asmussen that’s listed at 3-1.

But a race can look very different with three minutes to post than it did the night before. Sometimes, races that look wide open on paper can turn into a one or two horse affair, and vice versa. There are even some occasions when one of the morning line choices can become a virtual throwout (to me, anyway) because of lack of tote action, like if that Asmussen first-timer goes off at 7-1. I’ve been gravitating towards sequences where I can go light, or even single the first race, and then look to go deep in at least one of the subsequent legs, trying to find horses that could be overlaid in the multi-race pools compared to their eventual post-time odds – in other words, horses that I think will get bet lower than their morning lines. And if nothing else, I do seem to have a knack for selecting horses that get bet. If you can anticipate them in advance, they can lead to some nice mutuel surprises.

- And it wasn’t just the fans that didn’t show up at Belmont this past weekend. Haskin in the Bloodhorse points out that there was a paltry 41 starters in the weekend’s seven graded stakes.
Before you reach for your calculator, that's 5.8 starters per race...... That is a scary statistic when you consider the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships is being run at Belmont this year.
Haskin also provides his list of possible Breeders Cup Classic starters in addition to Saint Liam:
Flower Alley, Borrego, Imperialism, Suave, and possibly Funny Cide, Evening Attire, Royal Assault, and Andromeda's Hero. Zito, who trains the last two, also has Sun King and Sir Shackleton. Shippers could include Rock Hard Ten, Lava Man, Roman Ruler, Perfect Drift, and Choctaw Nation. And don't throw out the possibility of seeing the Aidan O'Brien-trained Oratorio, winner of back-to-back group I stakes at 1 1/4 miles in Europe, including his second straight score over English Derby (Eng-I) winner Motivator in last Saturday's Baileys Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I).
Well, I guess that’s almost as good as Ghostzapper, Roses in May, Afleet Alex, Giacomo, Bellamy Road, Eddington, Southern Image, and Offlee Wild, right?


QQ said...

I simply cannot believe that the little track hidden behind the big gaming resort captured a bigger crowd than the Woodward! For goodness sakes, the highlight of the Mountaineer card on Saturday was a $26,000 claiming race!

Perhaps I have seriously underrated the local offerings. The August 14 West Virginia Derby -- a mere Grade III -- had 19,000+ in attendance. And Real Dandy, the WV Derby winner, took home $450,000 while Saint Liam only pocketed $300,000 for the Woodward. Not to mention that both the WV Derby and the ungraded WV Senate President's Breeders' Cup Stakes had a field of 11 horses. And, perhaps most importantly, the souvenir glasses filled with some potent blue concoction only cost $4!

Alan Mann said...

I'm curious as to how Mountaneer counts their crowd. Is the attendance strictly those who are at the track as opposed to the casino?

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