There will be at least one Gronkowski at the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) next month—and most likely another now that New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has purchased a stake in his namesake racehorse.
In a deal announced April 18, the football player has partnered with Phoenix Thoroughbreds to acquire a minority interest in the 3-year-old colt, whose March 30 win in the 32Red Burradon Stakes at Newcastle, the final test on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby, helped secure an invitation to the first leg of the Triple Crown.
"This horse is a winner, and I love a winner," Rob Gronkowski said. "When I heard about the racehorse being named after me, I started watching and got really stoked when he started winning. He's won his last three races and is now headed to the Derby. I'm all in: Welcome to the Gronk family, Gronkowski the horse!"
"We are very excited to have this talented racehorse running in the Derby and to have Rob Gronkowski join our team," said Tom Ludt, director of Phoenix Thoroughbreds' global racing and bloodstock operations. "His involvement only adds to our growing credentials worldwide and can help us introduce the best of horse racing to a whole new audience."
While the equine Gronkowski is considered a wild card in this year's Run for the Roses, the Kentucky-bred colt has a pedigree designed for success. Gronkowski's sire is multiple group 1-winning Australian champion Lonhro, and his broodmare sire, Lookin At Lucky , is both a multiple graded stakes winner and a two-time Eclipse award winner.
In 2017, Gronkowski was consigned by Lynn Lodge Stud and purchased for $404,492 by Kerri Radcliffe, agent, for Phoenix Thoroughbreds as an unraced 2-year-old in training during the Tattersalls Craven breeze-up sale in England.
Conditioned by British-based Jeremy Noseda, who trained Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Wilko and Boylesports Irish Two Thousand Guineas (G1) winner Araafa, Gronkowski will be ridden in the Kentucky Derby by his regular jockey, Jamie Spencer. The colt will be shipped to Churchill Downs from Noseda's stables in Newmarket, England, a week before the Derby. Shortly thereafter, the NFL star will have the chance to meet his equine namesake.
"I really can't think of anything cooler than having a top-class Thoroughbred named after me," Rob Gronkowski added. "Except maybe having him win the Derby."