$27,500 VTA Yearling Futurity and Seminar Set for August 29th at the Warrenton Horse Show

Get your Virginia-bred, Virginia-Sired or Virginia-Certified yearlings ready for a chance to win big at the 17th annual Virginia Breeder’s Fund Yearling Futurity to be held Wednesday, August 29, 2018, at 9:00 a.m. – Noon at the Warrenton Horse Show Grounds. If you don’t have a horse, join us for breakfast and seminar given by the Futurity judge, Johnathan Thomas. Participate in our judging contest and win $200 if you pick the horses in the same order as our judge. The morning is not only educational but great fun! Put it on your calendar.


2017 VTA Futurity Grand Champion
2016 filly out of Delicate Affair by Mucho Macho Man – Bred and owned by Jim & Katie Fitzgerald



Virginia raised Johnathan Thomas, who currently runs the training division of at Briddlewood Farm in Ocala, Florida will be our judge for the 2018 Futurity. Johnathon 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.

2018 Yearling Futurity judge, Johnathon Thomas

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

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. 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).


The morning will start with breakfast at the tent for exhibitors, their staff, spectators and all of our judging contest participants.  We will begin promptly at 9:00 A.M. with the $7,500  colts/geldings yearling class, followed by the $7,500 filly division.  If entries warrant, we will add a third class; the $7,500 Virginia-Certified colts and fillies class. If this should happen the first two classes will be open only to Virginia-Bred and Sired yearlings.  The classes are only open to Thoroughbreds that have been registered as Virginia-Bred, Sired or Certified with the Virginia Thoroughbred Association. Yearlings will be judged on their suitability to become a racehorse and will be asked to stand up and walk. Prize money will be awarded as follows in both divisions:

1st place: $3,000
2nd place: $2,000
3rd place: $1,000
4th place: $750
5th place: $375
6th place: $375

Our $200 judging contest will be held outside of the ring simultaneously during the two classes. Spectators will learn from our industry experts, Susie Hart and Cindy Curtis, on what to look when judging a yearling racehorse prospect. The person who picks the finish order closest to judge Thomas in each class will win $200 in cash. The judging contest has been immensely popular with the spectators at the show.

After the pinning of the two divisions, there will be a championship class. The top two VA-bred or sired colts, VA-bred or sired fillies and VA-certified yearlings will be asked back to compete for the championship. If the third class is added, the top two horses in each class will be asked back to compete for the championship.

After the championship class exhibitors and spectators are invited back to the tent where the judge Thomas will comment on the winners in each division. He will also talk about his experiences working for the industry’s top trainers and how those lessons have helped him manage the career of a horse such as Catholic Boy.