The NYRA racing week begins with a very contentious preliminary allowances sprint for state-bred fillies going 6 furlongs. Four females are worthy of consideration but we’ll narrow our focus in the top tier contenders to two: Jovanna (4-1) and Meriwether Jessica (2-1).

Jovanna, returning off a 57-day layup for Rick Dutrow and Ramon Dominguez, has been trying to emulate the figure she earned winning her open-lengths debut three subsequent starts, without success. But her second start came in a stakes over the quirky Finger Lakes surface, then came a stumbling start and a too-soon return following that effort. Now, she’s had recovery time and returns fresh. That might be her hole card.

Meriwether Jessica has acquitted herself very well against better fillies, including open class competition. After her open lengths debut came four straight placings in stakes company, including the G3 Tempted. She has raced very well going long and short, benefits from conditioning and experience, and she might actually prefer sprinting over routing. She’s been working very well for her return and Linda Rice and C.C. Lopez have been a formidable team in New York winter competition.

With speed signed on from other high profile outfits, Jovanna has a chance to fall between the parimutuel cracks despite the presence of leading rider Dominguez. Taking Jovanna to win at 3-1 or greater and an exacta box with Meriwether Jessica. Trifecta players can key Jovanna first and second, adding La Ransom (5-1) and Jet Setting (5-2) to the mix.

Running Totals: (177) 62-37-19. Total Dollar Return: $387.20 [win selections only]