CLEVELAND, Ohio — Jacob Radosevich has always been close to his big brother, Josh. The dates of their birth place them less than four years apart.
After urging Dubacious to win the $150,000 Best of Ohio Endurance at ThistleDown on Oct. 10, the richest victory of his career as a jockey, Jacob decided he must visit his brother in central Ohio. He had to tell him it was time to move on.
For the both of them.
The following morning, Radosevich, with his shiny golden trophy in tow, drove 2 ½ hours to see Josh at the Grove City Cemetery.
“I had to go the next day,” said Radosevich. “That’s why I was so emotional in the winner’s circle after winning the Endurance.”
Josh Radosevich, who began his riding career at 16, also rode his last race at 16. He died from injuries suffered in spill in a race at Beulah Park on Nov. 16, 2005. The cemetery where he is buried is less than two miles from the defunct thoroughbred track.
Jacob, now 22, was in his seventh grade classroom that horrible autumn afternoon. The death of his brother engulfed him in a fog of disbelief. It’s been nearly 10 years, but Radosevich believes the fog is finally lifting.
“I’ve never felt that Josh has crossed over to heaven,” said Radosevich. “I always thought that he was still here, riding alongside me. I’ve felt that way ever since I became a jockey at 18. I didn’t want him to move on. But I told Josh at the cemetery that his duty here is fulfilled.”
It took a spill of his own to convince Jacob that Josh has finally gone to his reward. In the Best of Ohio’s John Galbreath Memorial, Jacob was riding Cassie Lou when the juvenile filly broke down in midstretch, sending him to the turf.
“When I went down and was unhurt, I didn’t feel Josh’s presence, anymore,” said Radosevich. “I think he decided to move forward. And I didn’t feel him when I won the Endurance, either.”
The road to tranquility has been anything but easy for Radosevich. When his brother died on the track, Jacob was 12.
“I didn’t cry. I didn’t have any emotion. I didn’t know what to do,” he said.
What he did do was endlessly watch a video tape of the accident that claimed his brother.
“I didn’t understand it,” said Radosevich. “I was looking for answers, but I just kept wondering why. It got pretty rough. There were times I didn’t want to be in this world. I jut wanted to be with my brother.”
Radosevich said he finally cried for his brother when he began his own riding career over the same racing surface where Josh died.
“I started to grieve then because I knew Josh was riding with me,” Radosevich said.
Jacob is certain that Josh was in the saddle with him in the winter of 2011 at Beulah Park when one of his mounts broke down and he was pitched to the ground.
“It was in the same spot where Josh went down,”said Jacob. “I survived but it was a bad spill. I broke my collarbone and still have a plate, 11 screws and five pins holding it back together.”
Radosevich said he healed so quickly, he was back riding in six weeks. Another spill, this one at Thistledown the following year, left him with four vertebral compression fractures.
“It also shrunk me,” said Radosevich. “I was 5-foot-8 ½ inches before the accident. Now, I’m 5-7.”
Following his driving victory in the Endurance and his trip to the Grove City Cemetery, Jacob looks a bit taller and speaks in a more confident tone.
“I always wanted to ride in a race with my brother,” he said. “It will happen one day, but it’s going to have to wait.”