Gronkowski in the 2018 Kentucky Derby? He’s a contender

It turns out two Gronkowskis could attend the 2018 Kentucky Derby.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski's spirited Kentucky Derby garb made the rounds when he attended the 2015 race with his New England Patriots teammates. Should he return to Churchill Downs on May 5, it could be with a colt named Gronkowski preparing to run in the Kentucky Derby.

Gronkowski – the horse, not the football player – is favorited in Thursday’s Road to the Kentucky Derby Conditions Stakes at Kempton Park, located just outside of London, England. Points are awarded on a 20-8-4-2 basis to the first four finishers, with one horse invited from the European Derby preps to compete in the Run for the Roses.

The Conditions Stakes is run at one mile over a synthetic track. After finishing seventh and second respectively in his first two outings on turf, the Triple Crown-nominated Gronkowski switched to the synthetic. It was on that surface he drew away to win by 4 ½ lengths and six lengths in his next two starts.

Trainer Jeremy Noseda spoke with BloodHorse Tuesday over the phone regarding Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ unbeaten Walk in the Sun and Gronkowski.

“Thursday night will tell us a lot more (about Gronkowski). The steps he's taken so far have been little ones; it's a bigger step on Thursday,”
Noseda told BloodHorse. “I think Thursday will tell me if what I've thought about, contemplated, is realistic.”

Walk in the Sun is being pointed toward the European turf season instead of the Kentucky Derby trail. Phoenix Thoroughbreds is also campaigning Smarty Jones Stakes winner Mourinho for the Kentucky Derby stateside.

Post time for Thursday’s Conditions Stakes is 2:30 p.m. ET.

Gronkowski was picked up for 300,000 guineas ($404,492 U.S.) through bloodstock agent Kerrie Radcliffe at the 2017 Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale. Earlier this month, Radcliffe gave the Racing Post insight as to how the Lonhro colt received his name.

“I love the New England Patriots,” she said, “and as Rob Gronkowski is six-five and about the same wide I thought it would be an appropriate name for the horse as he's built much the same.”

Radcliffe also named Dream Tree, a leading Kentucky Oaks hopeful, for the road on which she watched the Patriots' Super Bowl victory last year.

“Gronkowski is a lovely horse and we are excited about his future,”
Radcliffe told the Racing Post. “I think the plan would be to give him one more run here and then head to the US, where I'm sure he'll generate plenty of interest with a name like his.”

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