12/01/2005 12:00AM

Ohio may seek to boost riding age


Sam Zonak, the executive director of the Ohio Racing Commission, will propose raising the minimum riding age in the state from 16 to 18 at the commission's rules committee meeting later this month. Zonak decided that the minimum riding age should be raised following the death of 16-year-old apprentice rider Josh Radosevich in a racing accident at Beulah Park on Nov. 16.

"Changing the minimum riding age from 16 to 18 will allow potential riders to become more mature both physically and mentally in addition to allowing them to finish high school before beginning to ride," Zonak said.

The current rule in Ohio requires riders younger than 18 to receive written permission from their parents in order to be licensed.

The rules committee is co-chaired by commissioner Charlie Luken and the commission's chairman, Norm Barron. Zonak is on the committee, along with representatives from the Ohio HBPA, Ohio's three Thoroughbred tracks, and a jockeys' representative. The committee will meet for the first time in December at Beulah Park, and Zonak said the meeting will be open to the public.

If the proposed rule change makes it past the rules committee it will appear on the agenda at the January meeting of the racing commission for public comment. The five-member commission would then vote on the proposal.