04/09/2004 12:00AM

Etc. . . .


Parimutuel wagering on Thoroughbred races in the United States rose more than one-half of 1 percent in the first quarter of 2004 compared with the first quarter of 2003, according to figures released by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Purses in the quarter declined slightly more than 1 percent from last year. . . . The Meadowlands on Saturday will hold the first qualifying event for the $1 million Horseplayer World Series, to be held in January in Las Vegas. More information about the contest is available at www.thebigm.com or (201) 842-5013. . . . The Magna 5 pick five wager will end its first season on Saturday after 12 weeks. The bet links five races from tracks owned by Magna Entertainment Corp, with a guaranteed weekly pool of $500,000. . . . The Sonoma County Fair broke ground Thursday for a $3 million turf course. The seven-eighth-mile course is scheduled to be ready for the 2005 meet. . . . The 10-foot sinkhole that opened on the Suffolk Downs main track after heavy rains should be repaired by April 21, a track official said Friday. The repair would allow horses to begin training there ahead of the track's opening day, May 1.