10/19/2013 12:54PM

Belmont Park: Miss Narcissist wires the field in Joseph A. Gimma

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Barbara D. Livingston
Miss Narcissist wins the Joseph A. Gimma under Junior Alvarado.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Breaking alertly from the outside post, Miss Narcissist sprinted to the lead as odds-on favorite Court Dancer acquiesced, was able to set a comfortable pace, and scampered away to win Saturday’s Joseph A. Gimma Stakes at Belmont Park by better than five lengths.

Idle since a second-out maiden win at Saratoga in late August for Linda Rice, Miss Narcissist ($12.20) was able to get to the rail before completing an opening quarter-mile in 23.11 seconds under Junior Alvarado, with Court Dancer racing in closest pursuit from the outside with Javier Castellano.

Miss Narcissist rated along on the lead through a half-mile in 46.31 seconds, and drew away steadily in the stretch to win the seven-furlong race by 5 1/4 lengths in 1:23.82. The time was a mere .02 of a second off the stakes record set by Capeside Lady in 2003, before times were reported in hundredths.

“My filly broke good, and (Court Dancer) broke good, too, but I had to go to the lead,” said Alvarado. “She relaxed after that. At the top of the stretch, I knew how much horse I had. Once she switched to her right lead, I knew we were in good shape.”

Miss Narcissist, a 2-year-old filly by Freud, improved to 2 for 2 in blinkers and earned $90,000.

“She was very, very fractious in the paddock and behind the gates the first time I ran her, but she had trained brilliantly,” Rice said. “The second time, she won, but she still ran very greenly. We took the next two months to get her to settle in and teach her to switch leads. She’s been a project, and the gap from her maiden race was two months, but it gave us enough to really work with her. She has raw talent, but she’s hard to direct.”

Court Dancer, the 7-10 choice, remained clear for the runner-up spot by 2 1/4 lengths over Canal Six.

The order of finish was completed by Star Grazing, Champagne Ruby and Daddy’s Lil Saint.