Gronkowski ramps back up for Dubai World Cup in local prep

December 02, 2019 09:53am
Gronkowski, second in the 2019 Dubai World Cup (G1), is on schedule for another try in 2020 with the popular Phoenix Thoroughbreds runner showing up in the entries for his first prep.

The 4-year-old son of Lonhro leads contenders in Thursday's The Entisar in Dubai, with the 10-furlong listed stakes running as the Meydan feature.

Phoenix continues to run its horses amid allegations made in November that its chief, Amer Abdulaziz, was involved in and stole from a money laundering scheme, and that "
the world’s first regulated Thoroughbred fund" has been put into voluntary liquidation.

Gronkowski last appeared when a narrow runner-up to Thunder Snow in the World Cup. It marked his second race off the bench for trainer Salem bin Ghadayer, who also sent him out for a fifth in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 (G1).

Gronkowski previously ran in Europe, where he won multiple stakes over synthetic, and finished second in another major race, the 2018 Belmont Stakes behind Justify, once transferred to Chad Brown in the U.S.

On Thursday, Gronkowski's seven rivals in The Entisar -- worth about $72,000 in prize money -- include New Trails, also off since World Cup night when he was 10th of 12. He's a two-time winner over the Meydan dirt; however, Gronkowski's 120 rating towers over the rest, with New Trails next at 109.

Other notables include Manguzi, third in this year's UAE Derby (G2), and Group 1 winner Saltarin Dubai.

The Enistar could springboard Gronkowski to lucrative races in 2020. Tom Ludt, vice president of Phoenix Thoroughbreds, told Horse Racing Nation last summer that the $9 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) on Jan. 25 at Gulfstream Park and $20 million Saudi Cup on Feb. 29 at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack could also be on the agenda.

The Dubai World Cup will again be worth $12 million in 2020. It runs on March 28 at Meydan.

The Enistar will go as the last of seven races on the card. Post positions and post time will be determined later.

Others entered are Mystique Moon, Talento Puma, Tried and True and Military Law.

All horses aside from the 3-year-old Manguzi toting 59.5kg. He will carry 58.


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