03/19/2002 1:00AM

Carpenter quits Jockey Club

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Jockey Club executive director Gary Carpenter will leave his position in May to become executive director of the Texas-based American Quarter Horse Foundation, part of the American Quarter Horse Association.

Carpenter, who was based in The Jockey Club's Lexington, Ky., office, sent an internal memo announcing his resignation to Jockey Club staff on March 15. His last day will be May 1.

"I'm excited to be heading west again," said Carpenter, who is from Quanah, Texas. He cited personal reasons, including extensive family ties in Texas and New Mexico, as among the chief reasons for his decision to leave. "And some of the AQHA programs, especially the educational aspects of the foundation's work, are things I'm personally very interested in," he said.

Carpenter oversaw The Jockey Club's transition from blood-typing to DNA-typing of Thoroughbreds for parentage-verification, a critical part of the registry process.

Jockey Club spokesman Bob Curran said that a search for Carpenter's replacement has not been undertaken yet. "It would probably be a while," Curran said.