2014 ECLIPSE AWARD WINNING APPRENCTICE OVERCOMES LENGTHY RE-HAB TO BROKEN ARM
ARCADIA, Calif. (June 30, 2017)–Idle since sustaining a broken right arm in a spill here on Jan. 26, jockey Drayden Van Dyke, America’s Eclipse Award winning Apprentice jockey for 2014, registered his first win since returning to action last week at Santa Anita as he guided the Dan Hendricks-trained Kionntal to a gate to wire victory in Friday’s first race at The Great Race Place.
Off at 5-1 in a field of six maidens three and up entered for a claiming tag of $40,000, Kionntal, a 4-year-old Bellamy Road gelding who had been away since Dec. 5, 2015, covered a mile and a sixteenth in 1:46.18 and paid $12.20 to win.
“This is fantastic, I feel like I got the monkey off my back,” said Van Dyke, 22, who underwent reconstructive surgery immediately following his injury. “It wasn’t easy to come back. I got my medical release on June 6 and I started getting on horses June 7, but I really had to work with my hand and arm to get my flexibility back. It’s been hard, but this makes it all worth it. I’d say I’m 98 percent back physically, and we’ll just keep working.”
Born Sept. 10, 1994 in Louisville, KY, Van Dyke broke his maiden at age 19 at Hollywood Park on Nov. 21, 2013.
A hard working student of the game, Van Dyke has been guided through much of his early development by one of the sport’s all-time greats, Hall of Famer Mike Smith.
With a total of three scheduled mounts this afternoon, Van Dyke will be heading to LAX later today, as he has an engagement to ride trainer Tom Proctor’s Birdatthewire in Saturday’s Grade II Princess Rooney Stakes at Gulfstream Park.