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Colt following: Horse named Bryzzo wins race

Diehard Cubs fan named 2-year-old horse after Bryant and Rizzo
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- Jason Loutsch is a huge Cubs fan, so when it came time to name the dark bay colt his Albaugh Family Stable bought at the Keeneland Sales in September 2016, he decided to combine the names of his two favorite players, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.

It turns out, "Bryzzo" is a winner.

CHICAGO -- Jason Loutsch is a huge Cubs fan, so when it came time to name the dark bay colt his Albaugh Family Stable bought at the Keeneland Sales in September 2016, he decided to combine the names of his two favorite players, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.

It turns out, "Bryzzo" is a winner.

On Nov. 17 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., the 2-year-old Bryzzo won his second race, which was a "nice surprise," said Loutsch, the managing general partner at Albaugh Family Stable. What also was a surprise to Loutsch is that the name they concocted is the same as the Bryzzo ad campaign created by Major League Baseball.

"We have a tough time coming up with names," Loutsch said. "We try to name them after family members or an event or people we like who are famous. I'm a diehard Chicago Cubs fan and we won the World Series, obviously, so I thought it would be great to name him after my two favorite Chicago Cubs, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant. I took the Bryant and Rizzo and came up with Bryzzo."

When interviewed last week, Loutsch, who lives in Ankeny, Iowa, said he never heard of the make believe Bryzzo Souvenir Company. He was just hoping some of the Cubs' good fortune in 2016 would help the colt.

"I'm a diehard Cubs fan -- I watched them when they were on WGN TV, back in the Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson days," Loutsch said. "My dad watched WGN and watched the Cubs every day. I've been to Wrigley Field many times and take my kids now and they love it. It's historic. I love those two guys and not only as baseball players, but I think they're great people."

Loutsch, 40, and the Albaugh Family Stable have 40-50 horses in training. Soon, Bryzzo will be shipped to Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla., to spend the winter training. There's no date yet for his next race, which will likely be after Christmas. Loutsch said there's a chance the colt could qualify for the Kentucky Derby.

"We've been to the last two Kentucky Derbys and the last three Breeders' Cup [races]," Loutsch said. "When we go to the sales, we're buying horses with the classic pedigrees. Our goal is to win a Kentucky Derby. We've achieved the goal of getting to the Derby, now we have to win this thing eventually. It's kind of like the Cubs -- someday it might happen."

In 2016, the Cubs ended their drought, winning their first World Series since 1908. Loutsch hopes it doesn't take them that long. In 2015, the Albaugh Family Stable got its first Grade 1 win when Brody's Cause won the Breeders' Futurity Stakes at Keeneland. The horse ran in the Kentucky Derby.

None of their other horses are named after Cubs players so no Ryno or Ernie or Sweet Swingin' Billy.

"Not yet," Loutsch said. "I've got 'Dak Attack' [named after quarterback Dak Prescott] -- I'm a big Dallas Cowboys fan. He's one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby next year."

It seems as if finding a horse that can win the Kentucky Derby is similar to Major League teams finding that great ballplayer.

"These are athletes," Loutsch said of the thoroughbreds. "There are a lot of similarities. They're just like humans -- they have personalities. You just have to push the right buttons and hope they perform."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs