Bryzzo the horse is a long-shot contender for the Kentucky Derby

Lifelong Cubs fan Jason Loutsch thought it was a good omen when his stable bought a young colt in September 2016 and named him “Bryzzo,” after Loutsch’s favorite players, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. And you can’t argue with the results.

The Cubs would go on to win the World Series over a month later and the human Bryzzo connected on defense to secure the last out.

Now Loutsch hopes the horse builds on his namesake’s winning example. Bryzzo took first place on a fast dirt track at Churchill Downs on Nov. 17, and he’s a long-shot contender for the Kentucky Derby in May. USRacing.com gives the 2-year-old 175-1 odds.

“He's got the pedigree and the ability. He should get better as he keeps going,” said Loutsch, the 41-year-old racing manager of Albaugh Family Stable in Ankeny, Iowa, a suburb of Des Moines. “We're excited about his future.”

Bryzzo will head to Florida for training next month and will need to earn points at upcoming stakes races to have a chance at returning to Churchill Downs. Albaugh bought the horse, which was sired by 2002 Belmont Stakes runner-up Medaglia d'Oro with mare Ellie’s Moment, for $500,000.

Loutsch named a filly from the same sale “Go Cubs Go,” but she was raced only once.

Each year, the stable buys about 10 to 15 horses and names them after friends, relatives and favorite sports stars. Loutsch is also a Cowboys fan and named his fifth-ranked Derby contender “Dak Attack” after Dak Prescott. (When told another favorite Cub, Javier Baez is nicknamed “El Mago,” Loutsch said, “I love it. I like that a lot. That will be one of our next horse names.”)

Believe it or not, Loutsch insists he had never heard of the baseball marketing campaign Bryzzo Souvenir Company when he and a relative came up with the same moniker.

"I'd tell you if i did, I promise. We just combined the two names. I give my cousin (Reed Weston) 100 percent credit because he knows I'm a die-hard Cubs fan,” Loutsch said. “He goes, 'Let's take half their names,' and that's what we did. He never heard of it either."

If Bryzzo makes the Derby field and extends Albaugh’s streak to three straight appearances, Loutsch believes the colt would become a media darling.

"I think we'd have a lot of fans if we can qualify to make Kentucky. We know how many worldwide fans there are of the Chicago Cubs, it's one of most powerful franchises in the world,” Loutsch said. “It's like the NCAA tournament or anything else, once you get in, you never know; you have a chance.”

plthompson@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @_phil_thompson

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