The following appeared in The Paulick Report January 23rd. Virginia-born Jonathan Thomas trained Catholic Boy, who won a pair of Grade I stakes in 2018 — -the Belmont Derby Invitational and Travers Stakes. He is the son of Virginia Equine Alliance Track Superintendent J.D. Thomas.
Ralph and Lauren Evans’ Diversify will be trained by Jonathan Thomas in 2019, reports drf.com, succeeding the late Rick Violette. The two-time Grade 1 winner was most recently fifth in the Jockey Club Gold Cup on Sept. 29, and has been at Patricia Hogan’s Fair Winds Farm in Cream Ridge, N.J., since the fall.
“One of the criteria for choosing Rick’s replacement was finding a younger, successful, up-and-coming trainer, partly because my daughter Lauren is the heir apparent and we all thought that made the most sense,” said Ralph Evans. “After discussing several options, we decided to hire Jonathan, in large part because we know Rick really had a lot of respect for him and especially the job he did developing Catholic Boy.”
A 6-year-old son of Bellamy Road, Diversify won 10 of his 16 starts for Violette. His major victories include the 2017 edition of the Jockey Club Gold Cup and the 2018 Whitney at Saratoga. Current plans call for the gelding to resume training in Florida on Feb. 1.