05/23/2003 12:00AM

Etc. . . .

Email

Thistledown will increase its purses 5 percent across the board, effective June 5, making the bottom purse for $3,500 claiming races $6,100. Bill Couch, the track's director of racing, said Thistledown's average field size has been nine horses for the first 41 days of the meet, up 9 percent over 2002 meeting and causing an increase in wagering handle that made the purse increase possible. . . . The National Thoroughbred Racing Association will offer pick three bets linking three televised races on CBS on each of three separate dates this summer: June 14, June 21, and June 28. In 2002, three similar pick three bets attracted a total of $700,000 in handle. . . . Jerry Carkeek boosted his lead in the rider standings at State Fair Park in Lincoln, Neb. on Thursday evening, booting home four winners on the eight-race card. . . . . Jockey Perry Ouzts won with five of his six mounts on a seven-race live card at River Downs on Friday.