02/19/2008 1:00AM

Meriwether Jessica fast but long idle


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Meriwether Jessica, who won her career debut by more than a dozen lengths as prelude to runner-up finishes in four consecutive stakes, returns from a freshening and makes her first start as a 3-year-old in Thursday's eighth race at Aqueduct, a $46,000 allowance at six furlongs.

Trained by Linda Rice, Meriwether Jessica is the most accomplished of eight New York-bred fillies in the field, but has not started for 81 days, since chasing Sherine in the East View Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

Meriwether Jessica's main opposition should come from Jet Setting, Jovanna, and La Ransom, the two-three-four finishers in a similar spot earlier this meet behind Dance Gal Dance.

Jovanna and La Ransom also make their first starts of the year. Jovanna is trained by Richard Dutrow Jr. and La Ransom by Tony Dutrow.

Also in the field are Mamie B, Sweet Madness, Palmetto Bluffs and Quixotic Lassie.

Earlier on the card, Irish Majesty and Successful Affair look like a formidable entry for Winning Move Stable and Gary Contessa in race 3, a starter handicap for older males.

The 1 1/8-mile route drew five others, including Maryland invader Jane's Kid, who was scratched from last Saturday's John B. Campbell Handicap at Laurel Park.

Irish Majesty comes off a lifetime best performance winning a similar race first time off the claim.

Successful Affair has been idle since running second in the Coyote Lakes and Gallant Fox handicaps behind Nite Light, who stretched his winning streak to four in the Campbell.

Successful Affair, who has won or placed in 13 of 16 starts on the inner track, shoulders top weight of 124 pounds.

The field is completed by Lord Langfuhr, Tiger D.R., Stolen Time, and Sinners N Saints, who was fourth in the Aqueduct Handicap last time out.

* Saturday's $75,000 Rare Treat Handicap, at 1 1/8 miles for fillies and mares, is expected to draw Aliysa, Guidance, Homerette, Runway Rosie and Wild Hoots. Aliysa is 5 for 6 on wet tracks, and has never won on anything else, but she did set the pace to the final yards of the Affectionately Handicap on a fast track recently.