After finishing fifth in her debut, Miss Narcissist rattled off three straight wins. She broke her maiden by 2 ½ lengths in August at Saratoga Race Course, drew off to a 5 ¼-length triumph in the Joseph A. Gimma in October at Belmont Park, and prevailed in a lengthy duel with Hey Kiddo to take the New York Stallion Series Fifth Avenue by a head on November 23 at Aqueduct. The bay daughter of Freud has raced on or just off the lead in all three of her wins.
"Right now she's obviously fit, and we felt we could try to see if she can get two turns when she's fit enough to do so," said Rice. "Maybe that will help us decide what we'll point towards next year. I think she was more impressive in the Gimma at seven furlongs than she was in the Stallion Stakes at six. I think she may appreciate the extra distance."
Junior Alvarado, aboard Miss Narcissist for all four of previous starts, has the riding assignment again on Saturday. Miss Narcissist, the 8-5 morning-line favorite, drew post position 4.
Miss Narcissist will be joined in the starting gate by stablemate Champagne Ruby, who rallied from seventh when third, beaten 1 ½ lengths, in the Fifth Avenue. In her two starts prior the Fifth Avenue, Champagne Ruby won the Shesastonecoldfox Stakes in September at Finger Lakes and was fifth after trouble at the start in the Joseph A. Gimma.
"She had a pretty dull performance in the Gimma when she was bumped at the start, but I was very pleased with her last race, and when she won the stakes at Finger Lakes she rated beautifully and finished strongly and did so again in the Stallion Stakes," said Rice, who trains Champagne Ruby for her father, Clyde.
Cornelio Velasquez will ride Champagne Ruby, 4-1, from the rail.
Team Penney Racing's Flipcup, coming in from Canada, figures to vie for favoritism with Miss Narcissist based on a promising two-turn debut at Woodbine in the third race of her career.
After winning her first two starts at six furlongs, Flipcup stretched out to 1 1/16 miles in the South Ocean Stakes and ran well to be third, beaten four lengths by the talented Ontario-bred Lexie Lou. The Milwaukee Brew filly has since switched hands from Brian Lynch to George Weaver and will be trying dirt for the first time on Sunday, but her new trainer expressed optimism that she would handle the surface, especially at this distance.
"Rajiv Maragh breezed her the other day [on dirt] and said she handled it fine," said Weaver. "Her pedigree and physique tell me two turns."
Maragh will guide Flipcup, the 9-5 second choice on the morning line, from post 5.
Underthemoonlight, trained by Bruce Brown for Castle Village Farm, will be making both her route and stakes debut in the East View after a gritty maiden win at 5 ½ furlongs. She'll come off two weeks' rest in the East View, which will be her third start.
"It looked like the race was going to come up a little light, and for fillies any bit of black type you can get is a great thing," said Brown. "She acts like a horse who eventually will want to go longer. We're kind of throwing her in the deep end a little bit, but she is very good about rating and is by no means a run off or a horse who can't be controlled."
The field also includes Daddy's Lil Saint, sixth in the Gimma, and Mlle. Minuit, sixth in Aqueduct's Grade 2 Demoiselle on November 30.