From the Paulick Report
Drayden Van DykeHaving captured the riding titles at Los Alamitos during the summer and fall meetings, apprentice Drayden Van Dyke is looking forward to returning to the Orange County oval and the opportunity at a three-peat.

The Los Alamitos Winter meet begins Thursday, December 4 and runs through Sunday, December 21.

“I’m going to give it my best shot,” said 20-year-old Van Dyke, who has to be considered the morning line favorite to pick up the Eclipse Award for leading apprentice rider.

“I had two goals this year. One was to win 300 races, and I’m at 270 right now, and the other was to get the Eclipse Award. So far it’s worked out nicely.

“I’m lucky to have a great team to help me in my agent Sarah Wolfe and my adviser Steve Nolan, and I also want to thank all the owners and trainers who have supported me.”

Van Dyke recorded the biggest win of his career to this point when he guided Sistas Stroll to victory for trainer Tom Proctor in the Pucker Up Stakes at Arlington Park this summer. He also scored the first victory of his career just under a year ago aboard the Proctor trainee Money Clip at Hollywood Park.

“Both those wins were so exciting,” Drayden related. “Money Clip was only my second mount, and the way he did it was unexpected. It’s also very special to win for Mr. Proctor, because he’s the person who taught me to be a horseman and to work hard for what you want.”

As far as riding the unique one-mile oval here at Los Alamitos, Van Dyke has learned a couple of things. “Even though it’s a very long stretch, you want to be forwardly placed and you also want to try to get a good position into that far turn.”

Drayden actually has a pretty busy schedule these days. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, he’s plying his trade at Turf Paradise, then flies back Wednesday night to compete here. On Sunday night, its back to the airport as he catches a flight to Phoenix.

Oh, to be young again.