02/06/2006 1:00AM

Carey quits in Hawthorne shakeup


CHICAGO - A shakeup late last week has altered the management structure both of Hawthorne Race Course and Hawthorne National LLC, Hawthorne's loose merger with the National Jockey Club, with Thomas Carey out as president and general manager of Hawthorne Race Course.

Carey, who became director of operations at Hawthorne in 1999, resigned last Friday "to pursue other opportunities," according to Jim Miller, Hawthorne's director of publicity and assistant general manager. Carey is the son of Thomas Carey II, who preceded him as Hawthorne's president at GM.

Taking over the general manager's role at Hawthorne Race Course is Carey's cousin Tim Carey, who last fall was named president of Hawthorne National LLC by the group's board of managers. Ed Duffy, a longtime fixture within the National Jockey Club and a member of the Hawthorne National LLC board, assumes the general manager's position at National Jockey Club. The NJC merged with Hawthorne after it ceased operations at its own facility, the now razed Sportsman's Park, in 2002. The NJC's 2006 meet begins later this month.

The management changes appear to cement the position of the NJC on the Chicago circuit, a position that has at times seemed tenuous because the organization lacks its own racing facility. NJC and Hawthorne principals were embroiled in a dispute late last summer and fall that was resolved just in time for the 2006 racing dates awards.

There were a handful of less notable changes at Hawthorne, according to a source with knowledge of the shakeup, including some tweaks to security personnel and the track maintenance crew.

Also, the NJC continues to be dogged by a $750,000 grant awarded by the state of Illinois early in 2003. A report Monday in the Chicago Tribune said the state was trying to recoup the grant money, which was handed out shortly before Sportsman's Park, which had been converted to house the Chicago Motor Speedway, ceased operations.