Stakes winner Gronkowski is set to be transferred from Newmarket-based trainer Jeremy Noseda to the barn of two-time Eclipse Award winning-conditioner Chad Brown, Tom Ludt of owner Phoenix Thoroughbreds confirmed May 8.
The son of Lonhro was initially being pointed to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) before being sidelined due to illness which prevented him from traveling to the United States. Plans were then announced for the colt to be pointed to the June 9 Belmont Stakes (G1), but Ludt said the Phoenix team will ultimately leave that decision up to Brown.
"He is coming to Chad and I think he'll be there Monday morning," said Ludt, Vice President of equine operations for Phoenix Thoroughbreds. "I talked with Chad before the Derby and obviously he has not had the horse yet. He'll be in the barn by Monday and (the Belmont) is our intention. But we're not going to tell Chad what to do. He'll only go in the Belmont if he feels it's the right fit."
Gronkowski captured the March 30 32Red Burradon Stakes at Newcastle racecourse in England, earning the first ever European slot in the Kentucky Derby under the points system created by Churchill Downs. He is undefeated in three starts this year.
Gronkowski's shift in shedrows comes as part of a larger shake-up, as Phoenix Thoroughbreds is removing all of its horses that were under the care of Noseda and transferring them to other trainers. While Noseda posted on his social media account that he was "shocked and surprised by their decision," Ludt said the move had been previously discussed.
"At the end of the day there are a lot of things going on and a lot of distractions, and we want to do what is best for the horses," Ludt said. "I heard that (Noseda) was quoted as saying he was shocked, but I had been talking to him about this for a while. Jeremy and I have been friends for a long time and it's a tough decision, but Phoenix has to do what is best for the horses right now."
According to Racing Post, Noseda had run four horses owned by Phoenix this year.
Earlier in the year, Phoenix Thoroughbreds announced it was parting ways with Noseda's former partner, British bloodstock agent Kerri Radcliffe.