The 17th annual Virginia Breeder’s Fund Yearling Futurity featuring Virginia-Bred, Virginia-Sired and Virginia-Certified horses will be held Wednesday, August 29th at the Warrenton Horse Show Grounds. A breakfast and seminar given by Futurity judge Johnathan Thomas will kick off festivities at 9 AM. Attendees can participate in a judging contest and win $200 if they pick the horses in the same order as the judge.
Virginia raised Johnathan Thomas was born and raised on Paul Mellon’s Rokeby Farm in Virginia where he spent much of his youth fox hunting, showing, and working around steeplechase horses. His professional career in thoroughbred horse racing began as an apprentice jockey at the age of 17. Thomas was the leading apprentice in the country before his riding career ended due to injury in 2000. He did return as an amateur in 2005 and competed internationally in France, Ireland, England, and Germany.
At the turn of the century, Thomas worked as an assistant for trainer Christophe Clement for five years, then as an assistant for Dale Romans. In 2007, he was offered a job with HRH King Abdullah and moved to Saudi Arabia. A year later, top trainer Todd Pletcher offered Thomas the opportunity to return to the States as an assistant trainer for the leading training outfit in North America.
Thomas gained opportunities to go out on his own following the many successes under Pletcher and in 2013, he joined Bridlewood Farm in Ocala, Florida to help reestablish their training division as a premier outfit. In his first ever stakes try at Saratoga, Thomas won the 2017 With Anticipation Stakes (G3) with Catholic Boy. On July 7th, Thomas and Catholic Boy won the prestigious $1,200,000 Belmont Derby Invitational (G1).