Texas resident Erich Brehm wasn't completely comfortable working his way around the frigid barns at Keeneland shopping for mares at the January sale, but he heated up once the bidding started and came away with five broodmares from Book 1 that are ticketed for his stallion Texas Red , who is standing his first season at stud this year at Pope McLean's Crestwood Farm near Lexington.
"What I learned is I do not like winter horse sales," joked Brehm. "I'm not one for running around a barn when it's five degrees out there."
Brehm hopes he has one of 2017's hot new stallions in Texas Red, a millionaire who crushed the 2014 Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) by 6 1/2 lengths and then took the following season's Jim Dandy Stakes (G2). Brehm, along with co-owners Dr. Gene Voss, Lee Michaels, Wayne Detmar, and trainer Keith Desormeaux, have retained 75% of the Afleet Alex colt, and will be giving him every chance to succeed in his second career.
"Bookings to 'Red' are going well," Brehm reported. "They had a stallion show and he really stood out among a good group of stallions. Being as big as he is and a Juvenile winner, he has a real chance."
Looking to increase those odds, Brehm signed Book 1 tickets for Ainsley, a black-type-placed winner by Officer in foal to Distorted Humor ; Veronica's Lake, a black-type-placed winner by Salt Lake in foal to Flatter ; Patriotic Viva, a black-type winner by Whywhywhy in foal to Stay Thirsty ; Morakami, a black-type-placed winner by Fusaichi Pegasus in foal to Street Boss ; and Tres Peach, a daughter of Mr. Greeley in foal to Shanghai Bobby .
In November, Brehm picked up K D's Girl, a Curlin mare; and a War Front mare, but booked those two to Violence before it was announced Texas Red would be going to stud. The January sale mares will all go to Texas Red this year.
"My game plan is, if I can get six to 10 nice juveniles in Keith's barn, he'll make the stallion. Plain and simple," said Brehm. "It's also important to put some nice babies in the market so the stallion has a solid selling average. So I may sell some and also might buy other (Texas Red) babies from other people.
"This is all new stuff to me, being in the mare business. We're taking a business approach to it and will see if we can do some good things. I think what we've accomplished at this sale is a good start."
Brehm has a company in Texas that grows heart tissue to repair cardiac injuries. For years he threw a Breeders' Cup party as his home in Sunnyvale, Texas, outside Dallas for a few dozen friends. In 2014, however, that party moved to Santa Anita Park, where 'Red' stormed home to take the Juvenile in the absence of a horse named American Pharoah, who would come back strong from injury the following year.
Texas Red retired with earnings of $1,767,300. He is standing at Crestwood for $7,500.
"We're contacting state breeder associations in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, with incentives for shipping mares up to him," said Brehm. "We're driving our own marketing a bit and giving him a chance to get some mares from our own region."