Torie Gladwell and her husband James “Jimbo” Gladwell IV have developed one of the industry’s annual leading consignments of 2-year-olds in Top Line Sales, LLC, based in Reddick, Fla. This week, they are busy with their 27-horse consignment in barn 1 at Ocala Breeders’ Sales June Sale being held this Wednesday through Friday.

Some of their major graduates include Grade 1-winners Muth, Arabian Knight, Princess Noor, Saudi Crown and recent Grade 2-winners Skippylongstocking and Olivia Darling.

“When Jimbo and I first started Top Line Sales, we started by selling yearlings and found it’s a hard market to tap into. I remember a Florida-bred filly we sold for Aunt Mary Harris and Uncle Robby [Harris]. [2010 Old Hat Stakes (G3)-winner Richiegirlgonewild] was by Wildcat Heir out of Dream With Angels. We had her at one of the first consignments in 2008, and she was our first graded stakes winner,” Gladwell said. 

Gladwell grew up showing Arabian horses and took her horse with her to college at Murray State University in Kentucky. But Gladwell found herself unsure of what her future would look like after graduating college. 

“I had a degree in business and a minor in equine science and I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the equine industry. But I knew nothing about Thoroughbreds then,” Gladwell said.

In 2005, while visiting a Thoroughbred farm, Gladwell met Wayne Sweezy, who at the time was managing Darby Dan.

“He asked if I wanted to come work the September yearling sale. I said, ‘sure why not?’ I had always been curious about the racing industry, but horse racing in Missouri, where I was raised, was unfamiliar. I was giving lessons at the time and working for an equine dentist around the Lexington area, so it made sense,” Gladwell said.

However, Gladwell knew the moment she arrived at the September sale, the Thoroughbred industry was where she wanted to be. She just needed to figure out how. 

“I met Tony Bowling at the November sale, and he asked if I wanted to come to Florida to work the 2-year-old sales. I showed up in January and never left. Sarah Seitz of Brookdale Farms was running his barn at the time. I was in shock I was there because I knew absolutely nothing about this part of the industry. However, I picked up on it quickly and absolutely loved it. The horses, the people—just all of it.” 

When she started working the 2-year-old sales for Mr. Bowling, he asked Gladwell to pony a tough colt for the breeze show. 

“Needless to say, it didn’t go well. He spun away from me on the backside, dropped the rider and went running back to the chute. I thought for sure I was going to be fired when I got back to the barn. All I wanted to do was ride the pony out to the parking lot and leave. But to my surprise Tony was so good about it. He told me what I should have done and we got the colt breezed a few days later,” Gladwell recalled. 

Gladwell continued working the training sales for Tony Bowling for four years before she and James decided to go out on their own with Top Line Sales. 

In addition to running Top Line Sales, the Gladwells also have several broodmares in Florida, Kentucky and New York.

“Ocala Stud is amazing and they do all the dirty work for me by foaling the mares and getting them back in foal,” Gladwell said. “My goal is to breed a Grade 1 winner. As of now, we have a few stakes-placed homebreds, but getting that Grade 1 would be icing on the cake. We actually have a Florida-bred named Saltwater Cowboy that’s running in Florida now. We bred him with Valerie Dailey, who’s been a longtime family friend and client. He should pick up his first win fairly soon.” 

While Gladwell says they try not to keep many horses to race, they do follow every single horse they sell and cheer them on.

“I particularly like to follow the fillies. When there’s one that I fall in love with, I try to buy them back if possible. We did that with a mare named Bliss.”

The Gladwell’s consigned Bliss to the 2011 Keeneland September Yearling Sale where she was purchased by Fox Hill Farm as agent for $190,000. She went on to win half of her eight career starts, earning $156,020.

“She’s a big, beautiful gray Flashy Bull mare. She has really nice foals and I plan on foaling next year’s baby out in Florida. This year, we had Roadster and Colonel Liam foals in Florida that we are excited about—especially since the breeder’s awards are seeing an increase in payouts.”

One of her favorite fillies is Princess Noor, winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante at Del Mar and Grade 2 Chandelier at Santa Anita in 2020. The Gladwells consigned her to the 2020 OBS Spring Sale where Gary Young purchased her for $1,350,000. 

“She was just amazingly gorgeous and our first million-dollar sale horse. The day she won her Grade 1, I think I was crying. That was definitely a stepping stone in our career.” Gladwell said.

Return to the June 11 issue of Wire to Wire