TOBA: Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association

July Member of the Month

Darrell and Sadie Brommer

Owner-breeders Darrell and Sadie Brommer hit the big time on June 13. That day, their homebred three-year-old Prado’s Sweet Ride edged out Lady Zuzu to win the nine-furlong Regret Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs. Named TOBA’s Illinois Breeders of the Year in 2013, the Bloomington, Ill. residents have reached new heights with their graded stakes-winning filly.

The Brommers watched the race from home and are positively over the moon at the filly’s success. Darrell said, “We were hooting and hollering, watching it here at home on the ’net.” After all, they “weren’t sure how she was going to come out after the race previous at Indiana,” he noted of her sixth-place finish in the May 30 Indy Star Stakes, “and the track condition wasn’t acceptable to her [there].” Needless to say, “we’re pretty pleased that she turned things around and she got down there to Churchill and accomplished what she did from last to first. She did well.”

Twenty years ago, the Brommers first entered the world of Thoroughbred ownership as part of a partnership. When that group dissolved five years later, they joined forces with Team Block, the Illinois-based partnership that consists of David Block and his family. His son is Chris Block, trainer of Prado’s Sweet Ride.

Prior to Prado’s Sweet Ride, the Brommers’ best runner was I.O. Silver, who captured the 2005 Michael G. Schaefer Mile Stakes at Hoosier Park. Currently, the Brommers own only one mare—Excellent Idea, dam of their new star—and eight racehorses. Four of those runners are at Arlington Park; an additional two are in Kentucky and two more at the Blocks’ Florida farm.

Their greatest success by far, however, has been Prado’s Sweet Ride. They purchased Excellent Idea at the 2005 Keeneland January Mixed Sale for $14,000. The Blocks helped the Brommers pick out Excellent Idea and two other mares at that auction. Darrell noted, “And she has been the main producer, shall we say, of our successful offspring. The other two mares, we have since sold, but Excellent Idea, she does well.”

Excellent Idea, who is boarded at Mallory Farms in Lexington, Ky., ended up being a true bargain. The General Meeting mare, a winner of four races from 17 starts, has foaled four winners from five runners, including stakes-placed With a Twist, for the Brommers. Currently, Excellent Idea has a yearling filly and weanling colt, both by the sire of Prado’s Sweet Ride, Fort Prado, and is back in foal to that stallion. Her offspring and the Block family have close ties. Said Darrell, “I would say each one of them that has come along—the last three, I should say—Dave Block has been very excited and enthused about them for us.”

Thus far in her career, Illinois-bred Prado’s Sweet Ride has garnered four victories from six starts and earned $135,780. Next up for the burgeoning turf star? The Pucker Up Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Arlington Million (gr. IT) undercard August 15. If she wins, she’ll do her sire proud—millionaire Fort Prado (by El Prado) was a multiple stakes winner at Arlington Park. Like his daughter, the Team Block homebred was an Illinois standout, even being named that state’s Horse of the Year in 2006. Though he now stands at Buck Pond Farm in Ky., Fort Prado once held court at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm in Barrington, Ill. That nursery is also home to Cashel Castle, a grade III winner whom the Brommers and Team Block co-owned. Cashel Castle helped solidify the Block-Brommer partnership, said Darrell. “We proceeded to get opportunities to buy in with the Blocks on a stallion, Cashel Castle, who stands here in Illinois. And then we got involved with them. We bought three mares to support him, support Cashel Castle, and the Blocks ended up with us on a couple horses out of that process.” In fact, three of Excellent Idea’s offspring to race are by that stallion.
Despite their success, the Brommers know that not every owner has a mare like Excellent Idea in their paddock or a Prado’s Sweet Ride at the track. Sadie Brommer recommends that those new to the sport attend TOBA seminars to learn more about breeding and ownership. In fact, at one seminar, the Brommers met fellow Illinois resident Tom Fedro, and the three ended up forming a successful partnership.

Sadie remembered, “When the [first] partnership dissolved, Darrell and I joined TOBA, and we attended a new owners’ class [in Lexington]. And then we also went back and attended a two-or-three day conformation [seminar], and both [were] very valuable to us…we would definitely recommend that to people who are just getting in the business.”

Hopefully, the Brommers’ latest success is the start of a truly Sweet Ride for them both.

Congratulations to Darrel and Sadie Brommer, TOBA's July members of the month!

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