Derby Contender 'Gronk' a Three-Time Auction Grad

When Gronkowski was purchased out of last year's Tattersalls Craven breeze-up sale for the equivalent of US$404,492, it marked the Lonhro colt's third time to change hands at public auction.

The colt, owned by Phoenix Thoroughbred and trained by Jeremy Noseda, entered the classic fray when he posted a three-quarter-length victory in the Road to the Kentucky Derby Conditions Stakes March 7 over the all-weather track at England's Kempton Park. That win moved him into a tie with Saxon Warrior—who is not being considered for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1)—in the European Road to the Kentucky Derby points standings. (Mendelssohn is also tied atop those standings with 20 points.)

Kerri Radcliffe, Noseda's former partner, signed the ticket on behalf of Phoenix to acquire "Gronk" from the Lynn Lodge Stud offerings at Tattersalls.

"He breezed well and looked like he had all the assets to be a nice racehorse," Noseda said of why he was attracted to the colt. "He breezed beautifully and was a lovely horse. He was a big, strong, fine horse. He was a real man of a horse."


Radcliffe comments on Grownkowski at 3:39 and video of his breeze follows/video courtesy of Tattersalls

Though he has been pleased with the colt's progress to date, Noseda said, "We have bigger expectations, and we are getting there slowly but surely. He's got plenty of talent. He's been straightforward to train."

Noseda is leaning toward pointing the son of Lonhro to the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland, although the Wood Memorial Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct Racetrack also is an option. Both races are scheduled for April 7.

Prior to being offered at Tattersalls last year, Gronkowski was purchased by Peter and Ross Doyle Bloodstock for US$67,416 when he was consigned by Lynn Lodge to the Tattersalls October yearling sale. The colt's first journey through the sales ring came in 2015 when Trackside Farm sold him as a weanling to Margaret O'Toole for $75,000 at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

Bred in Kentucky by Larry Goldman's Epic Thoroughbreds, Gronkowski is out of Four Sugars, a daughter of 2010 Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Lookin At Lucky .

Trackside owner Tom Evans said he and Goldman inspected Lonhro at Darley and "he was an impressive individual," resulting in the decision to mate Four Sugars to the Australian champion.