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, Thomas' professional career in Thoroughbred horse racing began as an apprentice jockey at the age of 17. He won two graded stakes and was the leading apprentice in the country before his riding career ended due to injury in 2000. He returned as an amateur in 2005 and competed internationally in France, Ireland, England, and Germany.
Thomas was an assistant for trainer Christophe Clement for five years, working with such standouts as Voodoo Dancer, England's Legend, and Forbidden Apple to name a few. He then took an assistant trainer position with Dale Romans and worked with Grade 1 winners Kitten’s Joy and Roses in May.
In 2007, Thomas moved to Saudi Arabia to work for HRH King Abdullah. A year later, top trainer Todd Pletcher offered Thomas the opportunity to return to the U.S. 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, working with the likes of Uncle Mo, Super Saver, Eskendereya, and many other major Grade 1 winners.
In 2013, Thomas jumped at the opportunity to join Bridlewood under the new ownership of the Malones and to help Bridlewood's general manager George Isaacs reestablish the farm’s training program as one of the premier training divisions in the country.
Thomas and the reenergized Bridlewood training program have hit the ground running. Graduates include such Grade 1 winners Gun Runner, Tapwrit and Carina Mia, as well as Moonshine Memories and Thomas-trained Catholic Boy, a Grade 1 winner on both dirt and turf in 2018. Owned by Robert LaPenta, Madakat Stable, Siena Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stable, Catholic Boy won the Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes (G1) on turf in July and captured the prestigious Travers S. (G1) at Saratoga in his next start. In addition to Catholic Boy, Thomas also trains Entirely, a 2-year-old stakes winner in 2018 for owner Augustin Stable.
"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."
The cornerstone of Bridlewood’s training facility is our seven-eighths of a mile dirt racetrack, one of the largest of its kind in Central Florida. It is renowned for its safety, and offers an optimal environment, particularly for young horses and rehabilitating horses. It is the perfect balance of sand and organic material to offer maximum cushion and moisture retention. The track has an extensive drainage system engineered by our track builder and supervisor Matt Rudnianyn and is meticulously maintained three times a day.
With turf racing becoming more prevalent in North America, our new five-eighths of a mile turf course gives us the ability to identify a horse's preferred surface before they reach the racetrack. The turf course is already paying dividends, with horses like Catholic Boy winning Grade 1 events on both dirt and turf.
Our uphill gallop features a complete Tapeta Track Curse engineered and installed by Michael Dickinson and his wife, Joan Wakefield. The gallop’s uphill grade allows us to train in all conditions and is a game-changer for physical and mental development.