11/16/2005 12:00AM

Apprentice, 16, dies after spill

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GROVE CITY, Ohio - Apprentice jockey Josh Radosevich died following a horrific spill in Wednesday's third race at Beulah Park.

Radosevich, who began his riding career here last month, was aboard pacesetting Nyoka, who broke down entering the stretch of the 4 1/2-furlong race for $3,500 claimers. Radosevich, 16, landed hard on the muddy racing surface and appeared to be clipped in the head or neck by a trailing horse, Wild Dance.

Paramedics who treated Radosevich on the track originally called for a helicopter to fly the rider to a hospital, but ultimately changed plans and placed Radosevich in an ambulance. According to track officials, Radosevich died en route to Grant Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Beulah canceled the final five races of its Wednesday card.

Radosevich is the second rider in recent weeks to die following a racing accident. Michel Lapensee, 58, died on Oct. 28 from injuries he suffered in an Oct. 24 spill at Suffolk Downs.

Radosevich, a third-generation horseman, was off to a promising start as a rider and had won with 19 of his 92 mounts. He rode his first mount at Beulah on Oct. 6 and won his first race aboard Geist Buster on Oct. 14. He was 14 for 80 at this meet, tying him for eighth in the standings, despite not starting his career until several weeks into the meet. Radosevich also won with 5 of his 10 mounts at Mountaineer Race Track in Chester, W.Va., and was unplaced in two rides at Thistledown near Cleveland.

The Radosevich family has been a fixture at Beulah over the past two decades. Josh's father, Jake, currently leads the trainer standings and has won more than a dozen titles at Beulah Park, while his mother, Shelley, ponied the family's runners for many years and has been the track's leading owner several times. Josh Radosevich's sister, Jamie Radosevich, ponies horses at Beulah, and his grandfather, Joe, also has horses in training there.

Jake and Jamie Radosevich ran onto the track to be with Josh after the accident, as did Ivan Gonzalez, the rider of Wild Dance.

Thistledown in Cleveland also canceled the final five races of its card Wednesday after learning of Radosevich's death. Radosevich's uncle, Jeff Radosevich, is the leading trainer at Thistledown.

Nyoka, trained by Charlie Lawson, was euthanized after suffering catastrophic injuries. Hubble the Charmer unseated his rider, Jorge Collazo Jr., after running into the fallen Nyoka in upper stretch. Collazo was taken to Grant Hospital, where he was treated and released. Hubble the Charmer walked off the track on his own power.