Ethical Judgement may step up into stakes company for his next start after impressively getting off the mark at Keeneland on Thursday, October 23.
The result saw trainer Brendan Walsh saddle his first winner for leading owners Phoenix Thoroughbreds as the son of Honor Code built on a promising turf debut to win on the dirt. The winning margin of four lengths only tells a small part of the story with the victory arriving among apparent inexperience from the juvenile under a good Tyler Gaffalione ride.
“I thought he ran well,” said Walsh of the victory. “He had a tough draw, especially when they switched to the dirt. He overcame that and I thought Tyler rode him really well. The horse travelled well until taking the lead. I think through a bit of greenness, he was waiting on a bit of company a little bit. He can’t have done more than win, so we’re very pleased.”
Breaking much better than he did on debut Ethical Judgement was well placed into the first two turns of the One And One Sixteenth Miles Maiden Special Weight. Keeping in around fourth or fifth down the backstretch, Gaffalione moved his mount into contention as the field made the sweep towards home. Off the final bend, the Phoenix Thoroughbreds owned runner was in front and was able to maintain the lead to the line.
“He was always a horse at some point I was going to try on the dirt,” said the trainer “His dirt work had improved significantly since he’d ran at Churchill, so it made me feel better on trying it.”
Walsh admits he isn’t sure whether the colt’s ultimate future lies on the turf or dirt but is delighted the run has “opened another door” in regards to race options. Perhaps, beyond the fact he handled the new surface so well, the most pleasing aspect of the success was the horse still looked far from the complete package.
“He’s the type of horse that should keep on improving,” explained Walsh. “He’s very laid back and he’s not the sharpest minded horse in the world, but that’s good sometimes as you can always improve horses like that. The raw talent is there and there’s plenty to build on.”
Where that raw ability will be built upon is yet to be decided, but a tilt at a stakes race is not beyond question.
“I would think if he came out of it ok and alls well he could run again in a around a month.” Walsh said of future plans. “We’ll see what there is but maybe look at an Allowance race or if he’s working really well, put him in a Stakes race. He’s a horse I’d like to bring along nice and easy, it’s always got to be about the future with him. He’ll make a much nicer horse next year than anything, so we have that to look forward to.”