Gronkowski wins the March 30 Burradon Stakes at Newcastle

Gronkowski wins the March 30 Burradon Stakes at Newcastle

Andy Watts/

Gronkowski Connections Target Belmont Stakes

Colt is expected to be back in training next week.

While an ill-timed illness knocked him out of consideration for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), the connections of stakes winner Gronkowski plan to point him to the Belmont Stakes (G1).

Phoenix Thoroughbreds announced April 24 that Gronkowski, a 3-year-old colt who finished atop the European Road to the Kentucky Derby standings, will resume training next week in preparation for his U.S. debut in the final leg of the Triple Crown June 9 at Belmont Park.

The Phoenix team was forced to bypass the May 5 Kentucky Derby after the horse experienced a minor infection, which prevented his travel from Newmarket, England, to Kentucky. The horse is now on antibiotics and is expected back on the track early next week.   

"Gronkowski the horse is recovering very well from a small infection," said Tom Ludt, vice president of equine operations for Phoenix Thoroughbreds. "He's extremely strong and we are excited about getting him to the U.S. to compete at the Belmont."

The Phoenix team, which now includes the colt's co-owner, New England Patriots all-pro tight end and two-time Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski, expects the horse to make a big impact on American racing. In addition to the Belmont, the Phoenix team has its eyes set on this year's Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs.

Rob Gronkowski recently acquired an interest in his namesake racehorse and was planning to travel to the Derby to meet the colt for the first time. 

"This horse is a fighter and a winner," Gronkowski said. "As an athlete, I understand the need for rest and recovery time. I'm glad that he's recovering quickly, and I look forward to meeting him soon and taking some selfies!"

Gronkowski the horse was sired by champion Lonhro, and was bred in Kentucky by Epic Thoroughbreds as the first foal from the Lookin At Lucky  mare Four Sugars. Phoenix Thoroughbreds, founded by Dubai-based businessman Amer Abdulaziz, purchased Gronkowski through Lynn Lodge Stud's consignment to the 2017 Tattersalls Craven breeze-up sale, where agent Kerri Radcliffe signed the ticket for the equivalent of US$404,492.