The Stanley Cup will be making the trip to Churchill Downs on Saturday morning, in the hopes of bringing good luck to Kentucky Derby favourite Nyquist, owned by Windsor, Ont., native J. Paul Reddam.
According to the Hockey Hall of Fame's vice-president and curator, Phil Pritchard, the famous trophy is flying into Louisville from Toronto on Friday morning and will be in place in Nyquist's barn by 6:30 a.m. on race day.
Reddam, the horse's owner, is a long-time Detroit Red Wings' fan who had the Derby winner back in 2012 with I'll Have Another and has a penchant for naming his horses after players on his favourite team. Horses named after Red Wings' stars such as Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom had mostly undistinguished careers.
But Nyquist – named after Gus Nyquist, the 26-year-old Red Wings forward who scored 43 points in 82 games this season – has won all seven of his career races and enters the Kentucky Derby as the favourite.
Reddam had invited Nyquist, the player, to attend the race as his guest, but he declined, as he is competing for Sweden at the world hockey championship in St. Petersburg, Russia, set to begin later this month.
However, Nyquist tweeted a good-luck message to his namesake this week, "Best of luck to @NyquistHorse running @KentuckyDerby this weekend."
As per tradition, the horse will not be permitted to sip from the Stanley Cup until after the race – and only if he wins.
This is not the Stanley Cup's first visit to Churchill Downs. Pritchard took it there two years ago to visit Wicked Strong's barn. Wicked Strong finished fourth in the 2014 Derby.