The 2014 Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey, Drayden Van Dyke was unanimously voted TVG Breakthrough Jockey of the Year for 2018. The award is voted on by a panel of experts who select a Jockey of the Week for JockeyTalk360.com based on weekly riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys' Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America.
It was a notable year for Van Dyke as evidenced by his annual statistics, but also due to several career milestones, including winning his first Breeders' Cup race, earning his first Del Mar riding title, and posting seven wins in a single race card.
In 2018, Van Dyke won his first career Breeders' Cup race with Stormy Liberal in the Turf Sprint (G1), defeating post-time favorite World of Trouble and Irad Ortiz, Jr. He was also second in the 2018 Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) with Catapult, a half-length behind Expert Eye and Frankie Dettori, who was recently honored as the 2018 Longines World's Best Jockey.
This was also the year that Van Dyke earned his first riding title outside of Los Alamitos, as he swept the riding titles at both Del Mar meets this year with 42 wins in the summer and 17 in the fall.
During Del Mar's summer meet, Van Dyke tied a unique record. On August 19, he won seven races on one card, tying a record at the track for most wins in a day set by Victor Espinoza. Van Dyke had eight mounts on the card and finished second in his only loss of the day.
Van Dyke won 29 stakes races in 2018, over twice his 2017 total, and nearly doubled his annual stakes earnings, with $5,786,047 earned this year. Among graded stakes races, he won 17 graded events, seven more than 2017, and earned $4.6 million.
In addition to his Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint win, he won a second Grade 1 race: the Triple Bend Stakes at Santa Anita in March with City of Light ($4.00). City of Light also brought him a win in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2). He won multiple graded races with Stormy Liberal, Catapult, Catalina Cruiser and Marley's Freedom.
Van Dyke's statistics improved across the board in 2018. In 2018, he won over twice as many races as in 2017, with 144 victories in 643 starts in 2018 compared to 61 wins in 404 starts the previous year. Van Dyke also doubled his earnings in 2018, from $5 million in 2017 to $10.5 million in 2018, bringing his career earnings to over $31 million.
Statistics used for Breakthrough Jockey of the Year are from January 1 through December 2, 2018.
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