HOUSTON — Sam Bregman’s father, Stan, would drop him off at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Md., in the morning. The eager Bregman would dart out of the car, pass through the hall of learning and keep going. Waiting at the back of the school was another car driven by Bo Bregman, who would scoop up his grandson and take him to the horse track.
The real education was just beginning.
“I’d miss the day, but he’d always tell me I learned more with him at the racetrack than I would in the schoolhouse,” Sam Bregman said.
The Bregman family’s love of horse racing goes back generations and is blossoming once again through horse owner Alex Bregman, who you may know better as the starting third baseman for the Astros. Alex Bregman recently took his love for the sport to new heights, purchasing eight racehorses with his wife, Reagan, and some other business partners.
“Baseball and horses have always been in the Bregmans’ blood,” said Sam Bregman, Alex’s father. “We’ve had a blast in both sports. We love it and I know that he’s loved it, as well. Buy them? That was a little bit of a jump into it. That’s certainly next-level stuff, but if anyone is a good study and someone who really looks at everything involved in this particular sport and figures things out, it’s Alex.”
Bregman Family Racing’s first foray on the track couldn’t have gone much better. On April 28 in Arlington, more than a dozen of Bregman’s teammates gathered around his phone at his locker at Globe Life Field and watched his colt, Cadillac Candy, make a late charge on the turf track at Keeneland and finish second in the 5 1/2-furlong race in Lexington, Ky.
“Everyone was going nuts when he was flying down the finish,” Alex Bregman said. “It was one of the coolest things, having all these guys yelling and going crazy when you finish.”
Alex Bregman isn’t a horse racing novice. When he was playing baseball while growing up in Albuquerque, N.M., Bregman would spend many of his days at Albuquerque Downs, which is one of five racetracks in New Mexico. Sam Bregman is the chair of the New Mexico Racing Commission, which governs the sport in the state.
Sam Bregman, a lawyer and rancher, grew up around the sport because of his father, Stan, who would take him to Pimlico in Maryland, and, of course, his grandfather, Bo. Stan Bregman had a law firm that represented the Washington Senators and negotiated the sale of the team, which moved to Minneapolis and became the Twins. He later negotiated the hiring of baseball great Ted Williams as the manager for a new Senators expansion team.
“My grandfather was a big influence on horseracing in our family,” Sam said. “He was kind of a bookie a long time ago. From day one, I was at the racetrack. I grew up out there, Pimlico and Laurel and places like that. When my dad moved to Albuquerque, of course, he used to take Alex to the racetrack out here all the time. We’ve been the family that’s always hung out together at the racetrack.”
Alex Bregman’s wife, Reagan, grew up riding horses, so it only made sense the couple would get involved with the animals, too.
“We decided to get some of our own and we have eight, including a little one-year-old, but seven that will be racing this year,” Bregman said. “I’m absolutely obsessed with it.”
Alex said Reagan comes up with most of the horse’s names, which include baseball-related monikers Golden Sombrero and Baby Got Backspin, which will be their second horse to run later this month. Cadillac Candy’s name is a product of the horse’s pedigree — Twirling Candy is his father and a champion horse, and his mother is Cadillac Woman.
Bregman’s goal is to eventually get entries in Grade 1 races, which is the Major Leagues of horse racing – the Kentucky Derby, Breeders’ Cup, Blue Grass Stakes, etc. Cadillac Candy will start his second race later this month, which will be at Churchill Downs. Bregman would eventually like to get into breeding, but racing is scratching the competitive itch for now.
“If you get into something, you do it right and you finish it and you get to the end,” Sam said. “The only way to play baseball is want to be in and win the World Series and it’s the same thing with horse racing. He doesn’t want to do anything halfway; he’s going to do it all the way. If he’s going to get in, he’s getting in to win.”
The eight horses are spread throughout the country while training — Kentucky, California and West Virginia, where the young one is grazing. Bregman is hoping there’s a future Kentucky Derby champion in the mix, but just being around the animals brings fulfillment.
“The horse business is a good little distraction to take your mind off the game and be able to compete,” he said. “Honestly, it’s really fun.”