11/02/2010 4:30PM

Some BC Morning Line Surprises


Awesome Gem (Marathon) and Morning Line (Dirt Mile) went from obscure longshots to unexpected morning-line favorites when they were entered in their second-preference races Tuesday afternoon.

Awesome Gem's connections had announced several days ago they were leaning towards the Marathon instead of the Dirt Mile, but he was still being offered at 12-1 by the English bookmaking firm William Hill. When the 7-year-old was formally entered in the Marathon today, though, Churchill Downs's Mike Battaglia installed him as the 7-2 favorite on the official morning line.

As for Morning Line -- the horse who won the Pennsylvania Derby last time out -- he went from being a no-hoper in the Classic to another surprising Battaglia choice as the 7-2 favorite in the Dirt Mile over 4-1 Crown of Thorns. William Hill, in a release about an hour after the official draw concluded at Churchill Downs, changed its prices on 18 horses and quoted Morning Line in the Dirt Mile at 7-1.

Listed below are the final fields in post-position order. I've carried over the oddslines from yesterday's chart -- comparing the pre-entries lines made a week ago by DRF's Brad Free (Friday races) and Mike Watchmaker (Saturday) with the Hill prices being offered yesterday. Significant differences of opinion remain highlighted in yellow. I've now added two new columns: The revised Hill prices, with the Monday-to-Tuesday changes highlighted in green -- and Battaglia's official morning lines, with meaningful discrepancies from the previous prices highlighted in blue.

PS--Thanks for your backslaps on last night's glorious baseball results. It took every one of my 54 years, but I can now say that I have lived to see a man walk on the moon AND the Giants win the World Series.