08/14/2014 12:51PM

Former jockey Van Dyke, 43, dies

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DEL MAR, Calif. – Seth Van Dyke, a former jockey whose son, Drayden, is one of the leading riders in Southern California, died Monday in Florida, Drayden Van Dyke said Wednesday.

Drayden Van Dyke said the cause of death was an apparent suicide. A native of Fremont, Neb., Seth Van Dyke, who was known by his nickname of “Squirt,” had worked as an exercise rider and a jockeys’ room valet in recent years at tracks in Florida and Kentucky. He was 43.

Seth Van Dyke’s Facebook page was full of condolences Wednesday. He was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed fishing and hunting.

Drayden Van Dyke, 19, said he had not been in contact with his father in recent weeks and was at a loss to explain his death.

“I had a couple of his friends call,” he said. “They’d talked to him, and they said he was fine.”

Drayden Van Dyke won his first race last November. In an interview last month, he said he and his father spoke occasionally as he began winning races frequently at Santa Anita. Drayden Van Dyke described his father as a source of encouragement.

He spent time with his father in Kentucky during recent summers. He said plans for a memorial service had not been finalized.

kenneth More than 1 year ago
Drayden, my deepest condolnces on the passing of your father. God bless.
Jim Fields More than 1 year ago
So sorry to hear of a tragic ending to a racetrackers life. It would seem that he had so much to look forward to thru his son's success in riding. In the race horse industry, there are usually three things or a combination of three things that cause suicide!! BOOZE, DRUGS, AND DEPRESSION. The industry continuously works tirelessly to combat the effects of all three, but in the end, idle time creates devils advocates who prey on those certain people that allow their minds to be controlled by these demons in their lives. Who or what can you blame?????? It's proven that banning certain things just make some people want it more, punishment for use doesn't seem to be the answer, drugs to combat the illicit drugs don't solve the problem. Religion doesn't work most of the time. Intervention helps sometimes a little, but the only true cure comes from within. Tyler Baze may be one of those who can use his own energy and those from people around him to beat this awful affliction. My thoughts are with the living that will hopefully learn from this tragic loss. I've met Drayden, at Turf Paradise, and he seems like a fine young man, lead your life that will make your dad proud of you.
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
RIP, and my condolences to the family.
Delrene Sims More than 1 year ago
So very sorry to hear this news. My sincere sympathy to family and friends. Such a sad time. Prayers for Drayden and family
Nona VanDamme More than 1 year ago
My condolences to you Drayden and all of Seth's family. My best to you in your riding.
Judy Maass Gadwood More than 1 year ago
My condolences.
Keith Butcher More than 1 year ago
My condolences to Drayden and his family. Seth was one of my best friends in Junior and Senior High in Fremont. We lost track of each other after I went off to college. I have so many good memories of our times in school and during the summer working at Aksarben. What a tragedy. -Keith Butcher
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
So sad. I wish Drayden and his entire family the best.
Gary Camejo More than 1 year ago
My condolences
TheMadCap More than 1 year ago
I'm very sorry, Drayden. Your Dad was one of my best friends and always had my back as I did his. He spent 9 days here on the beach with me late June on his way to Gulfstream and got him out kayak fishing and surfing. I have three best friends from the racetrack and your Dad was one of them. The one thing I always remember what "Squirt" taught me about galloping horses; "It's all in your head and hands." What a tragic loss of talent from a very kind-hearted man.