Anne M. Eberhardt

MarketWatch: Machmer Hall's Carrie Brogden

Brogden reflects on breeding grade I winner Tepin and appraises new yearling sires.

This is a Blood-Horse MarketWatch podcast, and today I'm talking with Carrie Brogden from Select Sales and Machmer Hall.

In June in the Longines Just A Game Stakes (gr. IT), Tepin became the first grade I winner bred solely by Machmer Hall. Nine years ago it had grade I winner Premium Tap, who was bred in partnership, but Tepin is actually the first solely bred by Machmer Hall. On top of that, Machmer Hall purchased the dam of Tepin, Life Happened, for just $4,500 in 2008 and sold her last year at Keeneland January for $750,000. So, Carrie, tell me what it's like to breed a grade I winner.

MarketWatch: Carrie Brogden

BROGDEN: Yeah, that was surprising—I didn't even think about it in those terms because we had Currency Swap off the farm, and Black Seventeen, and we pinhooked Flat Out , so we've had a bunch of grade I winners off the farm that we've raised, but I didn't even realize that Tepin was the only grade I winner we've bred. That tells you how hard it is to win a grade I. And I'm surprised—Intense Holiday was a grade II winner—I'm trying to think if there isn't another one.

I'm certainly glad that (Tepin's connections) gave her the time. It's funny that she won the grade I, and then her (half) brother, Vyjack, just missed in a grade III (Poker Stakes) the next weekend on the turf.

We don't own the mare (Life Happened) anymore, but we sold her for a great price. And we sold her to great friends in Alex Solis and Jason Litt, and I wish them all the luck in the world. The only sad thing is that I don't have a filly out of her—I wish I had a filly. But, anyway, it's awesome and fantastic to watch, and the great thing is that we got a $7,500 breeders' award for that race also.

A lot of the horses you breed seem to be by slightly under-the-radar or, at least, less-expensive stallions. What is your philosophy there?

With stud fees we try to stay $50,000 and under. Now, I am a huge fan of Speightstown , and we have bred two mares to him this year, and he's $80,000. And I love Malibu Moon , too, another horse I think is a really, really nice horse. The hard thing with the high stud fees is that all it takes is a paralyzed throat or a cyst in an ankle or a spur in the knee, and there goes everything, as far as the sales world goes.

So I think we try to look for value, and I love buying the up-and-coming sires. When I first saw Pioneerof the Nile  when he went to retire at Vinery, I didn't go to see him to breed to him. I think Kodiak Kowboy had retired around the same time, and (Pioneerof the Nile) wasn't really on our radar screen. But when he walked by me and he had one of the best walks I've ever seen, I think we sent seven mares to him (in his) first crop. And, at the time, Empire Maker  was not the stallion that he has become in America. So we try to just go with what you love.

Last week was Fasig-Tipton July, and I know Select Sales sold eight yearlings there. What was your take on the sale?

I think the important thing with the July sale is targeting and knowing your audience. I think the best type of horse that sells there is a horse that the more somebody looks at it, the more they like it. I thought the market was very strong, very solid. I thought people came ready to buy. And there was a lot of great trade.

We actually had three of our horses (that) were sold out of the back ring on vet reports, and the underbidders were people that vetted them. So I think with the new vetting policies—where the reports have to basically match the X-rays without egregious problems—it has given people confidence for being able to buy at the back ring. I thought, in general, the sale bodes really well for the upcoming sales this summer and fall.

Lastly, tell me which new yearling sires you are excited about.

I really thought the Union Rags  were really good looking. I thought the Bodemeisters were absolutely gorgeous. And I'm actually a big fan of Astrology —I have an Astrology colt that I'm going to take to (Fasig-Tipton) Saratoga, and I absolutely love him. Those are the three off the top of my head that have first-crop yearlings that I've consistently seen. I mean, every single Bodemeister —I don't think I've ever seen a bad one, which is really saying something. And the Union Rags filly that I had in July, she just had such a nice temperament.

I like to see how they handle themselves, too—like, mentally, how different sire lines handle the stress of the sale. I remember when Scat Daddy's first crop came up, and we had five of them on the farm, and every single one of them was at the gate, ready to go. If it was time for them to go on the walker, you didn't have to go chase them around the stall. Every single Scat Daddy, when they were on the free-walker, they would be "go, go, go!" I think that is a big thing that has translated into watching his horses run. I've always been a big fan of him, too.

The Into Mischief  (yearlings) are the same way. I have several of those on the farm, and every single one, they are smart as whips and they're workhorses. Even if they're itty-bitty or giant, no matter what they look like, they have great attitudes, and that is something I love to be able to see.

The reverse can happen, too. I remember when we had Tactical Cats on the farm, and every single one them was just a lunatic. Unfortunately, I think, in the end that translated into what happened to him as a sire. They were really nice looking horses, but—boy, oh boy—I just remember being startled by how difficult they all were to deal with.

I tell so many people this: Consistently, every single graded stakes winner I've ever had off my farm was uncomplicated. I didn't have to worry if they were going to eat. I didn't have to worry about them being crazy and not doing this or not doing that. They all had that in common. Some of them might be hotter than others, but every single one was sane and they weren't lazy. They had great minds and they were people-pleasers—I think a lot of it is attitude, I really do.