Conditioner Jonathan Thomas, who last year managed 4-year-old multiple graded stakes winner Catholic Boy to three wins from six starts, including a pair of Grade 1 victories in the Runhappy Travers and Belmont Derby Invitational on the turf, reported the More Than Ready colt has continued to mature over the winter at Bridlewood Farm after closing out his 3-year-old campaign with a 13th place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic.
“He's done really well over the winter,” said Thomas of the colt owned by Robert LaPenta, Madaket Stables LLC., Siena Farm, and Twin Creeks Racing Stables, LLC. “We got a nice work into him about a week and a half ago and our plan is to breeze him again either Friday or Saturday morning.”
With graded stakes wins on both surfaces, Thomas was undecided as of yet where Catholic Boy might make his 2019 debut, but said he is expected to arrive in New York towards the end of this month after a couple more breezes at Bridlewood.
In January, multiple graded stakes winner and recently named New York-bred Horse of the Year Diversify joined Thomas' barn after the passing of his conditioner and longtime respected NYRA trainer Rick Violette.
The 6-year-old son of Bellamy Road accumulated three wins from 10 starts last year, with graded stakes wins in the Grade 1 Whitney at Saratoga Race Course and the Grade 2 Suburban at Belmont Park. Currently at Bridlewood Farm, Thomas reported Diversify will be under the care of a familiar face: Melissa Cohen, former assistant to Rick Violette who will run Thomas' New York division at Belmont.
“He really came to us in great shape,” said Thomas. “I'm very humbled, being given the opportunity to have him in our barn after Rick, who has always very kind to me and very respected by all of us. Following a winter break, he's back to galloping and will ship to Belmont in about two weeks where he will be looked after by Melissa who joined our team and will run our New York division. We haven't decided where we might point him yet, but we're getting him ready for a good campaign this year.”
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