Homeracing

Kentucky Derby Jockey Profile: Drayden Van Dyke

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

April 29th, 2021

Who is Drayden Van Dyke?

Riding in the Kentucky Derby represents something of a homecoming for Drayden Van Dyke. The 26-year-old jockey is best known for his success on the California circuit, but he was born in Louisville and counts winning the “Run for the Roses” as a major goal.

Van Dyke began riding in November 2013, and it didn’t take long for good fortune to pay a visit. He won with his second mount and compiled an impressive 192-for-1,178 (16%) record in 2014, sufficient to earn the Eclipse Award for outstanding apprentice jockey.

In the years since, Van Dyke has won more than 60 graded stakes and 18 Grade 1 races, including a Breeders’ Cup event. After missing five months of 2017 due to a broken arm, Van Dyke enjoyed a career-best year in 2018, going 150-for-675 (22%) while earning more than $11 million in purse money. In 2018 alone, Van Dyke won 18 graded stakes and a quartet of Grade 1 events, picked up his first Breeders’ Cup victory, made his Kentucky Derby debut, and won the summer and fall meet titles at Del Mar.

Van Dyke’s momentum slowed during the first few months of 2021, but shifting his tack to the Kentucky circuit has the potential to turn things around. On March 27, Van Dyke rode Like the King to a stretch-running victory in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park, earning a ticket to compete in the Kentucky Derby.

Although Van Dyke has won many significant races on turf, he’s strongest when riding over dirt and all-weather surfaces, where he’s compiled a solid 18% lifetime win rate.


What are Jockey Drayden Van Dyke's Records related to the Kentucky Derby?

Below are statistics for Van Dyke's efforts at racetracks with more than two Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races, plus lifetime data at the 1 1/4-mile distance and Churchill Downs specifically.

Track
Up ArrowDown Arrow
Starts
Up ArrowDown Arrow
Wins
Up ArrowDown Arrow
Places
Up ArrowDown Arrow
Thirds
Up ArrowDown Arrow
Win %
Up ArrowDown Arrow
ITM %
Up ArrowDown Arrow
ROI %
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Earnings
Up ArrowDown Arrow
Aqueduct
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Churchill Downs
24
3
6
1
13%
42%
-58%
$414,913
Fair Grounds
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Gulfstream Park
1
0
0
0
0%
0%
-100%
$7,050
Keeneland
15
2
1
2
13%
33%
-50%
$150,135
Oaklawn Park
15
4
2
1
27%
47%
68%
$900,051
Santa Anita
658
126
111
94
19%
50%
-6%
$8,564,319
Tampa Bay Downs
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Turfway Park
14
3
1
3
21%
50%
-4%
$223,203

Lifetime record over 1 1/4 miles on dirt:

Starts Wins Places Thirds
18 1 3 2
  Win % ITM % ROI %
  6% 33% -87%

Lifetime record in the Kentucky Derby:

Starts Wins Places Thirds
2 0 0 0
  Win % ITM % ROI %
  0% 0% -100%

Lifetime record stats compiled by Ed DeRosa and are through 2020.

All stats from Jan. 1, 2016 through April 20, 2021. Generated by STATSMASTER, Powered by TrackMaster, an Equibase Company


In advance of Van Dyke’s return to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby, let’s review his record riding on dirt and all-weather at a handful of tracks where Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races are held:

Van Dyke at Churchill Downs

The Churchill Downs turf course has been kind to Van Dyke—at the 2018 Breeders’ Cup, he won the Turf Sprint (G1) and finished second in the Mile (G1). But Van Dyke has also gone 3-for-24 (13%) over the Churchill Downs main track, most notably winning the Street Sense S. aboard future champion Improbable. In addition, Van Dyke guided 85-1 longshot Instilled Regard through traffic to finish fourth in the 2018 Kentucky Derby.

Van Dyke at Gulfstream Park

Van Dyke isn’t a regular visitor to Gulfstream Park; his only ride over the main track since 2016 produced a fifth-place finish aboard Birdatthewire in the 2017 Princess Rooney (G2).

Van Dyke at Keeneland

Van Dyke’s greatest successes at Keeneland have come over the turf course—in 2016, he won the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) aboard Miss Temple City and the Dowager (G3) aboard Elektrum. Van Dyke’s record on dirt is also solid enough (2-for-15, 13%), though he hasn’t enjoyed the best luck lately, going 0-for-8 over the Keeneland main track from April 2-18.

Van Dyke at Oaklawn Park

Van Dyke’s infrequent forays to Oaklawn Park have been highly productive. His 4-for-15 (27%) resume includes a handful of Road to the Kentucky Derby rides for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, led by a front-running score in the 2018 Smarty Jones S. aboard Mourinho. Also in 2018, Van Dyke handed champion Accelerate his lone defeat of the season when guiding City of Light to a tenacious upset in the rich Oaklawn H. (G2).

Van Dyke at Santa Anita

Many of Van Dyke’s biggest wins have come at Santa Anita, where he’s compiled a rock-solid 126-for-658 (19%) record since 2016. Last year, Van Dyke guided future Kentucky Derby winner Authentic to early-season victories in the Sham (G3) and San Felipe (G2), helping start the speedy frontrunner on a Horse of the Year campaign. That same year, Van Dyke won the 1 1/4-mile Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) aboard champion Improbable, the major highlight from Van Dyke’s 18-1-3-2 (6%) lifetime record in 1 1/4-mile dirt races.

Van Dyke at Turfway Park

A pair of trips to Turfway have proven quite productive for Van Dyke, who has compiled a 3-for-14 (21%) resume over the synthetic course. In fact, Van Dyke picked up his 2021 Kentucky Derby mount when guiding Like the King to a stretch-running victory in the March 27 Jeff Ruby Steaks.

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