I'm really looking forward to the Breeders' Cup this year. It's not really that significant since I get really pumped for it every year but this time around I am especially intrigued by the large number of defending champions we have returning to try and capture Breeders' Cup races once again.
Goldikova, Zenyatta, Ventura, Forever Together, Conduit and Desert Code are all on track to run in the Breeders' Cup again. We actually also have Stardom Bound, Red Rocks, Indian Blessing and maybe Midshipman who have all won Breeders' Cup races but won't be defending champions this fall at Santa Anita.
The Breeders' Cup has never had so many stars returning in a single year. Last year we had four (Curlin, Kip Deville, Ginger Punch, Midnight Lute) and that seemed like a big number but six is right over the top.
I decided to take a look back and see how defending champions in the past have fared. Since it's inauguration the Breeders' Cup has had 40 horses return to defend their titles in the same race the following year. Only 6 of them (15%) managed to be successful the second time around.
A flat $2 win bet on each of these entrants would have cost $80 and returned just $44.40 for a -44.5% loss.
45% of the defending champions did manage to hit the frame but they did so at an average price of 4.50/1.
You don't get very much value out of them typically. These 40 horses won their Breeders' Cup at an average price of 11/1 but they returned to defend their crowns at an average price of 6.20/1.
Four or five of the six defending champions could wind up being favored but the odds say that only one of them is likely to win. Which one would you pick if you had to choose only one?
I think I'd have to go with Goldikova.