After posing with the Stanley Cup on Saturday morning, Nyquist took the first step toward horse racing's ultimate prize.
Nyquist, named after Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist, won the 142nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. The 2-1 favorite paid $6.60.
"He's just such a special horse," trainer Doug O'Neill told NBC. "You can just see it in his eyes on a daily basis. He's such a professional. Any human sport, he'd be the top-notch athlete. He's just first-class."
Nyquist is the first Derby winner to win his first eight races. The 3-year-old will try for the second jewel of racing's Triple Crown on May 21 in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
"He's amazing," jockey Mario Gutierrez said. "You get this 2-year-old baby with the hopes of getting into the Kentucky Derby. To see everything [just turn into] reality, there are no words for it."
Paul Reddam, who owns 2012 Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another, bought Nyquist for $400,000 in 2015. Reddam is a Windsor, Ontario, native and a big Red Wings fan; Nyquist is the seventh horse he named after a Detroit hockey player.
"His run was awesome," Reddam said. "Obviously, the strategy was we were going to take it to 'em, and I loved the way that way we fired out of there. … This horse, he's really something. We're just really lucky to be part of that."
Exaggerator finished second, with Gun Runner third.
Nyquist took pictures with the Stanley Cup in the paddock hours before the race.
"He's just the type of horse, he'd be in the gym all day," O'Neill said. "He goes to bed early. He knows when to rest, he knows when to bring his A-game. I am so blessed, so privileged to be part of him, and the whole team, the whole family we got."