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Derby Fave To Drink From Stanley Cup

Published: May 2, 2016 4:15 pm ET

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The Kentucky Derby will take place at Churchill Downs in Kentucky this Saturday. Also, the Stanley Cup will there in all its glory. Nyquist, the prohibitive ‘Derby’ favourite that is named after an NHL player, is scheduled to drink from ‘Lord Stanley’s Mug’ the morning of the biggest race of his life.

Nyquist is owned by Thoroughbred racehorse owner Paul Reddam, who has also owned and raced Standardbreds in Canada in the past.

Nyquist is named after Swedish NHLer Gustav Nyquist, who plays for the Detroit Red Wings. Many of Sweden's top players, including the Sedin twins and Mats Sundin (via Rotation), have also owned standardbreds in Canada.

“How cool is that?” Nyquist’s trainer, Doug O’Neill, has said. “The human Nyquist won’t get to skate around with the Cup this year, but the equine Nyquist gets two white-gloved guards bringing him the Cup to drink from. Life is good.”

"I've never really been into horse racing before, to be honest with you, but this, for sure, has given me some interest," Nyquist has told FOX Sports. "I follow all his races, so I'm hoping for (a win in) Kentucky now."

Reddam, who is a die-hard Detroit Red Wings fan, named his three-year-old Derby charge after Nyquist for some good-natured ribbing. One of Reddam’s racing partners, Erik Johnson of the Colorado Avalanche, is part of the name story, as well.

"We've (Reddam and Johnson have) got a couple horses together,” Reddam said, “and I was teasing Erik last year that he should go sign as a free agent with the Wings, and he was like, 'I wouldn't sign with them if they were the last team on earth. So we're going back and forth and to needle him a little bit harder, I decided I was going to name my next two horses Nyquist and Mrazek. So it just so happened that this particular horse, the name Nyquist came up for him.

"There wasn't a connection beforehand between the name Nyquist and what it connoted about the player with the horse. But that having been said, I've always thought that Nyquist the hockey player played the game at a very high level and conducted himself with a lot of class, and wouldn't you know it, the horse is kind of the same way. He's a very high-class racehorse."

(With files from FOX Sports and The Los Angeles Times)

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