07/04/2001 11:00PM

Rockingham: Starter handicap series

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SALEM, N.H. - The distances are starting to stretch out in the Brass Monkey starter handicap series at Rockingham Park. Seven older horses will go nine furlongs in the second leg of the series that ends on closing day with a 2-mile-and-40-yard marathon.

Apache Native ran away from his field when he scored in the initial installment of the Brass Monkey at

1 1/16 miles, and he will be favored under top weight of 122 pounds.

As was the case in his last start, the 6-year-old Apache Native is the lone speed in the race. Last time, he held a five-length lead past the eighth pole, and retained half that margin under the wire while less than fully extended.

Crook on the Run finished a closing second in the series opener and will receive an extra pound advantage in this race, in which he will carry 116. His last was an improvement on his first start of the meet, when he finished third to Apache Native in a mile-and-40-yard starter allowance.

Lonsdale, who dominated last year's Brass Monkey, has been slowly coming to hand. The 8-year-old Lonsdale won the last three legs of last year's series and 1 1/8 miles could still be a little short for him.