11/17/2005 12:00AM

Beulah Park mourns young rider's death

Beulah Park
Josh Radosevich

GROVE CITY, Ohio - Beulah Park canceled racing for a second consecutive day Thursday as the track mourned the loss of 16-year-old apprentice rider Josh Radosevich, who died in a spill here in Wednesday's third race.

Radosevich was aboard pacesetting Nyoka, who broke down in upper stretch. Radosevich landed hard on the muddy racing surface and died as a result of massive neck and chest trauma caused by the fall.

Radosevich began his career as a jockey on Oct. 6 at Beulah Park, and made quick progress. He won with 19 of his 92 career mounts.

The Radosevich family has deep roots at Beulah. Josh's father, Jake, has won over a dozen leading trainer titles here and leads the standings at the current meeting. Josh's mother, Shelley, has been the leading owner here at several meets. The Radosevich's own a farm and training facility just a few miles from Beulah.

Josh Radosevich had been a regular on the Beulah Park backside for many years, helping his dad with his large stable. He began the year as a sophomore at Central Crossing High School in Grove City, but he recently quit school as his riding career began to take off and planned to obtain his diploma by taking online courses.

Radosevich was riding at Beulah in the afternoons and recently had been making the three-hour drive to Mountaineer Park to ride several nights each week. He had won with 5 of his 10 mounts at Mountaineer.

The anguish and suffering of those who knew Josh Radosevich best was evident to all after Wednesday's accident. Radosevich's sister, Jamie Radosevich, a pony person here, had to be helped from the track after rushing to her brother's side following the spill. Charlie Lawson, the trainer of Nyoka, was taken to and later released from Beulah's first aid room after suffering breathing problems. Many others at the track were visibly shaken, and Beulah immediately canceled the remaining five races on the Wednesday program, as did Thistledown, where Radosevich's uncle, Jeff Radosevich, is the leading trainer.

On Thursday morning the mood was very somber at Beulah, as track employees went about their morning duties with heavy hearts.

"He grew up on the track and was part of the family here at Beulah," said steward Joe DeLuca. "He was an asset to the track and a pleasure to be around."

Jockey Ivan Gonzalez who has long been Jake Radosevich's main rider, and whom many called a mentor to Josh, said of the young rider: "He was a great kid and a good rider. He was getting better every day. He loved what he was doing. He couldn't wait to get to the jocks' room and get on his first horse each day."

A viewing will be held at Schoedinger Funeral Home in Grove City from 1 to 3 p.m. and from 5 to 8 p.m. on Sunday with a prayer service at 7:30 p.m.

A funeral mass will be held Monday at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Grove City.

A tribute to Radosevich is planned at Beulah Park on Friday, when racing was to resume.