What is the Morning Line?
The odds you see in the track program, your local newspaper, and on the opening in the morning is called the “Morning Line.” The Morning Line is the set of odds posted by the track’s racing secretary before betting starts. The racing secretary at each track is the equivalent of the linemaker in sports betting. Unlike the opening line in other sports, however, the public cannot bet the “Morning Line.” As already stated, the actual betting odds are determined by the actual bets and not by the racing secretary. The “Morning Line” is a only a guideline created by the track’s Racing Secretary to aid the public in assessing each horse’s chance of winning. It represents the opinion of the Racing Secretary as to the odds that each of the horses will win the race. The degree to which the “Morning Line” odds reflect the Racing Secretary’s opinion as to the actual probability of each horse winning, as opposed to his opinion as to the final odds based on public betting, varies with each track and the individual Racing Secretary. In most cases a little of both goes into the “Morning Line.”
In addition to making the “Morning Line,” the Racing Secretary has the very important function of setting the weight that must be carried by each horse in what are called handicap races. The weight carried by a horse has a large effect on his speed. The Racing Secretary tries to even out the chances of all the horses in handicap through use of weight.