09/30/2008 11:00PM

Radosevich nears milestone

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Jeff Radosevich, the only horseman to win both riding and training titles in Thistledown history, is closing in on yet another milestone.

Radosevich, well on his way to his third consecutive season as Thistledown's leading trainer, was just eight winners short of his 1,000th career victory through Tuesday.

A 46-year-old native of Joliet, Ill., Radosevich rode for 16 years before retiring in 1993 to begin training. He was the winningest rider here in 1988.

Radosevich is not one to dwell on records or milestones. As for nearing his 1,000th winner, he said, "It's nice, but I go on and look forward to winning the next race."

w Thistledown hosts the 22nd edition of the Best of Ohio series Saturday. The five stakes are restricted to statebreds and offer $425,000 in purses.

The top events are a pair of $100,000 races, the 1 1/4-mile Endurance and the Distaff at 1 1/8 miles.

Both races feature a runner in contention for Ohio-bred horse of the year honors, Catlaunch in the Endurance and Pay the Man in the Distaff.

Catlaunch, a rugged 7-year-old gelding, has won 24 of his 61 career starts, with earnings of $535,263. He has his work cut out for him Saturday as he must once again battle with his toughest rival, Smarmy, who beat him by three-quarters of a length in their last meeting here, the Governor's Buckeye Handicap. Smarmy won this race last year at Beulah Park, while Catlaunch finished third.

Pay the Man is a quick 4-year-old filly who will be trying for her fourth stakes win of the season in the Distaff. Her main competition should come from the race's defending champion, Cryptoquip.