10/05/2001 11:00PM

Russell a puzzle filled with imports

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ARCADIA, Calif. - The field for Monday's Henry P. Russell Handicap at Santa Anita was spread around last year, racing in Europe, the Middle East, South America, South Africa, and California.

On Monday, the field of six starting in the restricted $75,000 race should offer clues as to which new faces bear watching in major stakes in coming months.

Agol Lack, a stakes winner in France, and Kerrygold, the winner of the 2001 San Marino Handicap, are the 119-pound highweights in the race. They face Delta Form, a major stakes winner from South Africa; Madraar, an import from the United Arab Emirates; Quake, the winner of an allowance race here on Sept. 28; and Seinne, a stakes winner from Chile.

Agol Lack is the only member of the field to appear in a million-dollar race.

A two-time stakes winner in France in 2000, Agol Lack has not started since finishing fourth in the 2000 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont, which was supposed to have been a prep for him for the Breeders' Cup Classic.

But an illness canceled those plans, and other ailments led to a delay in Agol Lack's comeback, according to trainer Laura de Seroux.

Monday's race, which will be run at 1 1/8 miles on turf, starts a campaign for Agol Lack that de Seroux hopes will lead to starts in major stakes at 1 1/8 and 1 1/4 miles on either turf or dirt.

"He's coming off a long layoff and he carries a lot of condition," de Seroux said. "He looks like a little butterball, but that's partly the way he's made. He's not 100 percent fit, but he's fit to run.

"We won't take on anyone early," she added. "He's a relaxed stalker. I think he's race-fit, but not 100 percent tight. I couldn't get that done in the morning without wasting races."

Agol Lack was ready to run at Del Mar until foot problems forced a delay. He has trained well since, according to de Seroux, including a six-furlong workout on the Santa Anita turf on Sept. 28.

Agol Lack will be well-bet, as will Quake, who has the best recent form. He won an allowance race/optional claimer over a mile on turf here on Sept. 28, his third victory in his last four starts.

Delta Form was fourth in the Brubaker Handicap at Del Mar on turf on Aug. 17. Seinne won an allowance race/optional claimer at a mile on dirt at Del Mar.