It seems like most of the Kentucky Derby horses' names are picked with little rhyme or reason. Suddenbreakingnews, anyone? Or maybe Gun Runner? Most of them seem to be provocative for the sake of being provocative, kind of like Kanye West and Yeezus. But there's one horse in this year's race that has a lot of meaning behind its comparatively simple name. So what does the name Nyquist mean?
Even in the odd world of horse names, Nyquist seems out of place, mostly because it sounds kind of ridiculous without being completely over the top. And if you're thinking right now — "What are you talking about? Nyquist is a totally ridiculous name! Who would name their hose such a weird name?" — prepare to feel bad, because it's someone's actual last name.
Apparently, Nyquist's owner, J. Paul Reddam, is a huge fan of the Detroit Red Wings hockey team. Reddam, who owned 2012 Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another, has cycled through several Red Wings players for name inspiration, but without much luck. This year's pick was Gustav Nyquist, a forward for the Red Wings. Nyquist — the player, not the horse — had some, uh, inspiring words for his namesake ahead of his Kentucky Derby appearance: "I’m hoping he runs a good run and wins it," he told the Detroit Free Press. "He runs fast, I guess. He wins races. That’s a good thing for a horse." The hockey player also admitted that he had never heard of a mint julep, much less consumed one.
Yes, human Nyquist, your horse counterpart does run really fast. In fact, he's a favorite to win Saturday's race. Although that wasn't exactly a winning inspirational speech, Nyquist did get to spend some time with the Stanley cup on Saturday, which will hopefully be a better motivator than "I'm hoping he runs a good run and wins it."
Nyquist is favored to win the Kentucky Derby with 2-1 betting odds on the morning of the race. There are doubts that the morning-line favorite will be able to win the Derby four years in a row — The New York Times looks to literal dark horse and second favorite, Exaggerator, as a potential upset — but that seems to have done little to curb the excitement surrounding Nyquist, if not by hockey players than at least from horse racing enthusiasts. So good luck today, horse Nyquist. Run fast, I guess.