September 24, 2023

Vault jumps up in Ruffian

Vault wins the Ruffian Stakes (Coglianese Photos)

Trainer Brad Cox already has two-time champion Monomoy Girl, multiple Grade 1 star Shedaresthedevil, and Bonny South in the older dirt female division. Now Vault has leapt into the ranks of his graded stakes winners with a last-to-first rally in Sunday’s $200,000 Ruffian S. (G2) at Belmont Park.

The 3.40-1 third choice in a six-distaffer field, Vault bobbled at the break and bided her time in last under a patient Joel Rosario. Meanwhile, 1.30-1 favorite Lake Avenue tracked frontrunning Gibberish through splits of :23.57 and :47.24.

Although Lake Avenue took over by the six-furlong mark in 1:11.61, she strode on her wrong lead and then drifted out leaving the far turn. That left a yawning gap for Water White to dive through, and she seized the opportunity to challenge in the stretch.

Lake Avenue corrected course to come back toward Water White, but there was still room between them for Vault. Jumping into the seam, the Jump Start mare drew 1 3/4 lengths clear while completing the one-turn mile in 1:35.81.

Water White reported home another length back in second. Our Super Freak, floated out a bit by Lake Avenue just as she was advancing, wound up third. Lake Avenue faded to fourth, a further 3 1/4 lengths astern. Next came Saguaro Row and Gibberish.

“She was a little slow out of there,” Rosario said. “Brad said to let her be comfortable where she was and come with a run and she did. She was pretty amazing.

“I was trying to stay inside, keep away from the dirt (kickback) and save some ground. It looked like maybe I could go through inside, but then maybe not. So, I looked to go in between or maybe outside. When they split, I just went right in the middle. It was perfect.”

Campaigned by breeder Barlar in partnership with Kueber Racing, Madaket Stables, and Little Red Feather Racing, Vault has now earned $419,414 from her 21-7-6-2 record. The five-year-old was initially based in her native Pennsylvania with Thomas Houghton, for whom she scored her first stakes win in the 2019 Thirty Eight Go Go at Laurel.

Vault was transferred to Cox ahead of 2020, and she added placings in the Shawnee at Churchill Downs and Obeah at Delaware Park. Sidelined after a sixth in last summer’s Molly Pitcher (G3), Vault returned in the Jan. 23 Pippin at Oaklawn Park but dwelt at the start and got pulled up. She reverted to allowance company, placing second on March 5 and capturing a confidence-builder in her latest March 27.

A half-sister to 2019 Rodeo Drive (G1) winner Mirth, Vault is a full sister to stakes-placed Heat Dome. Their dam, the stakes-placed French Deputy mare Di’s Delight, is herself a half to multiple Grade 1-placed stakes vixen Copper State. Since Copper State is by Jump Start too, Vault counts as a three-quarter sister.