Bridlewood Training Division

Bridlewood's Training Division prides itself on being a public training program with a private feel, and has a long history of training many of racing's elite runners for over 30 years.

Nestled in some of the most storied Thoroughbred grounds in Florida, Bridlewood offers some of the best and most current training facilities in North America. Its cornerstone seven-eighths of a mile dirt racetrack - one of the largest of its kind in Central Florida - is renowned for its safety and optimal environment, particularly for young horses and rehabilitating horses. The track maintenance is managed by renowned master track-builder Matt Rudnianyn. 

Operated with a premium on quality, Bridlewood's Training Division is always striving to offer the best and most current resources available for its horses and clients. Facilities are constantly being updated and improved upon, including the following updates in the last couple years: two new state-of-the-art centerpiece training barns - one 54 stalls and the other 48 stalls, a new training observation building, a new five-eighths of a mile turf course, a new five-eighths of a mile all-weather uphill gallop, and all new paddocks and fields. The program also offers a new equine cold saltwater spa, Eurocisers, and other swimming and rehab facilities.

The biggest key to Bridlewood's Training Division success over the last four decades has been its horsemen. Trainer Jonathan Thomas now heads the Bridlewood Training Team into the future. A longtime assistant to top trainer Todd Pletcher, Jonathan has earned praise for his horsemanship, diligence, work ethic, communication, and ability to condition on a per-horse basis. His staff of caretakers and exercise riders are some of the most qualified and experienced around, and rivals top training programs both at or away from the racetrack.

Recent top graduates include: 2017 G1 winners Gun Runner, Tapwrit and Carina Mia, as well as recent G1 winners Curalina, Condo Commando, Ron the Greek, Turbo Compressor, Eden's Moon, and more. Bridlewood grabbed international acclaim in 2004 for training and managing Smarty Jones, who won his first eight out of nine races including the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) before narrowly being defeated in the final jewel of the hallowed Triple Crown.

Jonathan Thomas, Trainer
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 won two graded stakes and 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.

"Florida's a great place to train a horse, and
Jonathan is one of the best horsemen to do it "
-Todd Pletcher
At the turn of the century, Thomas worked as an assistant for trainer Christophe Clement for five years, working with such standouts as Voodoo Dancer, England’s Legend, and Forbidden Apple. He then took an assistant trainer job for Dale Romans and worked with the likes of Kitten’s Joy and Roses In May.

 

In 2007, Thomas 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. Surrounded by the best horseflesh, staff, and clientele, Thomas learned how to cultivate top-class Thoroughbreds, including the likes of Uncle Mo, Super Saver, Eskendereya, and many other major Grade 1 winners.

Thomas gained opportunities to go out on his own following the many successes under Todd Pletcher, and in 2013, he jumped at the opportunity to join Bridlewood under new ownership to help general manager George Isaacs reestablish Bridlewood’s Training Division as one of the premier training divisions in all of North America.

“Bridlewood is an excellent facility to train horses, and with the generous support of George Isaacs and the Malones, we are very excited about the future of Bridlewood, both for the farm and our clients,” said Thomas.“As a horseman, it’s a dream come true to help identify talented young stock,cultivate them, and see them succeed at the highest level, all while sharing the entire experience with the people who help facilitate it all.”