'Serious Talent': Gladwell Scores With Homebred Lookin At Lucky Colt At Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘Serious Talent’: Gladwell Scores With Homebred Lookin At Lucky Colt At Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale

Torie Gladwell of Top Line Sales with Hip 89, a homebred Lookin at Lucky colt who sold for $320,000 at the 2023 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale.

The heartbeat of commerce in the 2-year-old auction market comes from sellers purchasing their stock at the previous season's yearling sales and training them up with the goal of flipping them for a profit.

Aside from operations like Ocala Stud where it's baked into their strategy, seeing a homebred on offer at a 2-year-old sale is quite uncommon. Carrying a horse along for that length of time in the hopes that they'll end up being an appealing lot for an ever-more scrutinizing juvenile market is a risk most breeders don't want to take unless they have no other choice.

For Torie Gladwell of consignor Top Line Sales and her partners, though, the finish line for her Lookin at Lucky colt was always the 2023 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training, and they crossed the wire with authority on Monday when the colt sold for $320,000. The partnership of West Point Thoroughbreds and Lane's End Bloodstock secured the winning bid.

“The reserve was well below that,” Gladwell said. “He was extremely popular. We knew we had a good shot of hitting a home run on the horse. We were thinking $250,000 might have topped him out, so $320,000 was a pleasant surprise.”

The first domino that led to Monday's transaction was tipped during the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings Showcase in Lexington, Ky., when a New York-bred Practical Joke filly caught Gladwell's attention on the sales ground. She secured the filly for $90,000 on behalf of John Gregorio's Knollwood Stables, and Top Line Sales consigned her to a $500,000 hammer price at the following year's Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Select 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale.

The filly, later named Let Her Inspire U, has become a stakes winner for owner China Horse Club and trainer Todd Pletcher.

Gladwell was so impressed by the filly during their time together, she reached out to breeder Pine Ridge Stables to keep a good thing going with her dam, the winning Speightstown mare Caribbean Lady. When the deal was done, Caribbean Lady was pregnant to Lookin at Lucky, and Gladwell took on her mother-in-law Martha Gladwell and frequent business partner Jordan Wycoff as partners in the ensuing foal.

“After we sold [Let Her Inspire U], I said, 'Dang, I really need to find this mare,' because we thought the filly was going to end up being really nice, and she was,” Gladwell said. “We found the mare and got her bought, and she was in foal with the Lookin at Lucky, so I didn't choose the mating. I probably wouldn't have picked Lookin at Lucky, but he's kind of heated up this year as far as the 2-year-old sales go. There's been a handful of them sell very well this year.”

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The colt that sold Monday followed an electric renewal of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. Spring 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale for the veteran resident of Ashford Stud, where a pair of colts sold for $700,000 and $500,000 – the two highest prices ever paid for Lookin at Lucky juveniles at auction.

Lookin at Lucky, a first-team member of the Paulick Report's 2022-23 All-Value Sire Team, stands for an advertised fee of $10,000 in 2023, and he stood for $20,000 in 2020, meaning Monday's sale price would have been multiples of his initial stud fee, had Gladwell booked the mating herself.

Gladwell has a broodmare band about 17 strong, spread out between Kentucky, New York, and Florida. Caribbean Lady is one of the four or five she keeps in New York on an annual basis, boarding at Stonegate Racing Stables in Fort Edward, N.Y.

Because Gladwell rarely sells her homebreds at yearling sales, the Lookin at Lucky colt's status as late-April New York-bred foal made the Midlantic sale a natural target. The auction's location in Timonium, Md., meant a closer trip for potential buyers based in New York, instead of a sale in Central Florida, and getting the colt into a set of those hands would help Gladwell reap the benefits of the state's lucrative breeder incentive programs.

The Midlantic May sale is fairly late on the 2-year-old calendar, which Gladwell said was advantageous timing for the late-season colt when it came to his training schedule.

“We actually started this horse later in his career, more like October or November, just because he was a late foal and we knew we were going to Maryland, so we got him broke and we kicked him out for three weeks over the holidays, December to January, and then put him back in training and got him ready for the sale,” she said. “It's easier when you know what sale to target, and with him being a late April foal, it worked out perfect. You can go easy and take your time to get them ready.”

The colt breezed an eighth of a mile in :10 1/5 seconds last week during the Midlantic sale's under-tack show, which tied for the second-fastest overall time at the distance.

Gladwell said the time was right in the wheelhouse for her expectations going into the sale, based on what she saw from his training at her and husband Jimbo Gladwell's Williston, Fla. base.

“Probably five breezes ago when we really sat him down and asked him a little bit in company to see what he had, he just outworked the other horse,” Gladwell said. “When he outworked that one by three or four lengths in company, we thought we had one with some serious talent.”

Gladwell has a system for watching Top Line's horses go through the ring at the Midlantic sale: If it's one she expects to do good business, she'll watch from inside the pavilion, because the high-end activity typically comes in under the roof. For the ones with lesser expectations, she watches from the back ring or outside.

The Lookin at Lucky colt was an “inside” horse.

Though she is listed as the colt's co-breeder, Gladwell was quick to deflect accepting credit for the mating, being as though she bought the Caribbean Lady already in foal. The ensuing matings she has chosen for the mare, though, have her quite excited.

Caribbean Lady produced a full-brother to Let Her Inspire U in 2022, and she was part of the first book for Spendthrift Farm's champion sprinter Jackie's Warrior this year. In order to maintain her New York eligibilities, the mare will be bred to a New York stallion in 2024, with the most likely suitor being Solomini; a stallion in which Gladwell has a share.

As a breeder who primarily targets the 2-year-old sales for her foals, Gladwell said the members of her broodmare band tend to fit a pattern to manifest those goals.

Even if Gladwell is slow to heap too much praise on herself for breeding the colt, the end result was still right where she wanted to be.

“Typically, most of my mares are sprinter-type mares: Speightstown, Elusive Quality,” she said. “I like the Uncle Mos and Into Mischiefs, so those are the mares I tend to gravitate toward, horses that are going to be early and precocious, and I breed them to early, precocious stallions. I'm in the market to sell them as 2-year-olds, so they need to come out looking ready to rock and roll. I may never get a classic horse, but that's okay. If they keep selling well at the 2-year-old sales, I'll be happy with that.”

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