01/09/2004 1:00AM

Etc. . . .


A bill that would increase the takeout on exotic wagers on Thoroughbred races in California by 0.5 percent was not acted upon in the State Assembly on Thursday or Friday, but was expected to go out for a vote by Monday. California elected a new House speaker on Thursday, which effectively postponed action on pending legislation. . . . Helen Alexander's Middlebrook Farm in Lexington, Ky., has announced that Tony Cissell will join the farm as director of sales and bloodstock services. Cissell was general manager at the late Henryk de Kwiatkowski's Calumet Farm in Lexington from 1997 to 2003. . . . Graham Beck's Gainesway Farm has hired Jonathan Thorne as its director of client and market development. Thorne, a former groom at Eaton Farm and Calumet, most recently oversaw sales consignments for the Eaton Sales agency. . . . Racing Services Inc. of North Dakota and its two principal officers, Susan Bala and Raymundo Diaz, were arraigned in state district court on Thursday on one count each of "engaging or participation in gambling," with a preliminary hearing set for Feb. 5. Racing Services, Bala, and Diaz have already been charged in federal court on multiple counts of conspiracy to conduct an illegal gambling operation and money laundering.