BRIAN dIdONATO, mANAGING pARTNER
A native of Wethersfield, CT, Brian attended Connecticut College, where he majored in Philosophy and minored in English with an eye towards going to law school... until the horses got in the way. Having gone to Saratoga with his family growing up, he rediscovered the sport while at school, and immersed himself in studying the complicated art and science of handicapping. Brian got his first experience working in racing through a summer press box internship back at prestigious Saratoga, and after that, law school was pretty much off the table. He graduated cum laude and with distinction in his major in 2009, and subsequently joined the editorial staff at the Red Bank, NJ-based Thoroughbred Daily News.
Brian's racing education continued from there, and he gained additional and significant exposure to the inner workings of the sport. The TDN is the go-to read for everyone involved in the horse business, and major industry players from around the globe start each day reading what Brian and his talented colleagues have written. In his current role as Racing Editor at TDN, Brian covers all facets of the Thoroughbred racing industry, and attends major races and Thoroughbred auctions throughout the country, reporting on market trends and interacting with buyers, sellers, breeders, owners and trainers.
Brian first got involved in horse ownership in 2011, and his personal bloodstock portfolio--racehorses, pinhook prospects, broodmares, etc.--has grown since then. He also provides race analysis and commentary for the innovative wagering platform Betfair. Visit the News section of this site for more on Brian's racing background.
Jason Barkley grew up in Evansville, IN on the Ellis Park backside. He started out working for his father Jeff Barkley and grandfather Paul Byers, and fell in love with the sport. Jason knew at a young age he was going to train racehorses and has dedicated his life to that pursuit. During high school, he spent summers working for top trainer Larry Jones (responsible for Horse of the Year Havre de Grace and three Kentucky Oaks winners) and for veteran Kelly Von Hemel. After high school, Jason attended the University of Louisville, where he graduated with a B.S. in Equine Business.
Louisville afforded him the opportunity to grow his knowledge of the horse racing business and to network with many people in the industry. Upon graduation, Jason worked as an assistant trainer for Hall of Famer Nick Zito, who had the likes of Grade I winners Dialed In and Jackson Bend in his barn at the time. Jason then joined Joe Sharp’s operation, mainly overseeing his Florida division at Gulfstream Park, where they finished the highly competitive 2015-16 Championship Meet with a 22% win rate from 60 starters.
Most recently, Jason served as an assistant in Kentucky and New York to world-renowned horseman Wesley Ward. He managed Ward’s string at prestigious Saratoga Racecourse in the summer of 2016 and trained juvenile filly Con Te Partiro to her win in the Bolton Landing S. While with Ward, Jason worked with such stand-outs as brilliant European champion 2-year-old filly Lady Aurelia and millionaire and Royal Ascot Group 1 winner Undrafted, as well as a slew of young up and comers.
Jason has had his hands on many different types of horses over the years--young and old, claimers and stakes winners--and possesses both strong horsemanship skills and business acumen. He spends most of his time between the Kentucky tracks and Oaklawn Park, and he and Brian work closely together scouting and managing for other clients as well as for Franklin Ave. Jason and Franklin Ave. won a third of their starts together in 2018 with a very strong 55% in-the-money rate. Visit the News section of this site for more about Jason or check out his website.
A Queens, NY native, Leah Gyarmati got her start in racing working for and learning from the legendary Hall of Famer Allen Jerkens. After a brief stint as a jockey and a return to school to get her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, she started training on her own in 1999. Leah has saddled the earners of more than $15 million and counting, and has done particularly well with young fillies. She has been represented in recent years by the likes of Saratoga debut romper and multiple Grade I winner Sweet Reason; ‘TDN Rising Star’ and GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf runner-up Coasted; New York-bred fellow ‘Rising Star’ and $900K+ earner Wonder Gal; and 2014 GII Jerome S. hero Noble Moon. Franklin Ave. and Leah's first acquisition together was New York-bred Quality Road filly Eighty Seven North, and they’ve since added a NYB Central Banker 2-year-old filly of 2019. | Coglianese Photo