NFL Star Rob Gronkowski Acquires Stake in Namesake Kentucky Derby Contender

Photo by Equuis Photography

Phoenix Thoroughbreds Ltd. has joined with New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski in a partnership arrangement involving the three-year-old colt Gronkowski, who is set to compete in the Kentucky Derby on May 5 at Churchill Downs after winning all three of his starts to date in 2018.

Gronkowski has acquired a substantial stake in the racehorse, a towering Thoroughbred who secured his spot in the Run for the Roses by capturing the Burradon Stakes in England on March 30. The two-time Super Bowl champ and National Football League All-Pro will join the Phoenix team in Louisville for the Derby, where he will meet his namesake colt for the first time.

“This horse is a winner and I love a winner,” said Gronkowski. “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 and is now headed to the Derby. I’m all in: Welcome to the Gronk family, Gronkowski the Horse!”

Gronkowski the football player and Gronkowski the horse share some similar traits as both are fierce competitors and possess imposing physiques on their respective athletic fields. Gronk the man is 6-feet, 6-inches tall and weighs in at 265 pounds, while the horse is a massive 16.3 hands and 1,212 ½ pounds.

Once the Patriots star began following the colt’s career, he connected with the horse’s owner, Phoenix Thoroughbreds, a unique global horse racing investment fund founded by Dubai-based businessman Amer Abdulaziz, to discuss a potential partnership.

“We are very excited to have this talented racehorse running in the Derby and to have Rob Gronkowski join our team,” said Tom Ludt, who directs Phoenix’s 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.”

Gronkowski the colt is a son of champion Lonhro, Australia’s Racehorse of the Year in 2003-’04, and he was bred in Kentucky as the first foal from the mare Four Sugars, a daughter of twice champion American racehorse Lookin At Lucky. Phoenix purchased Gronkowski in 2017 as an unraced 2-year-old in training at the Tattersalls Craven breeze-up sale in England.

Trained by British-based Jeremy Noseda, who is well known in American racing as the trainer of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Wilko and European classic winners Araafa and Sixties Icon, 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, and soon thereafter the football star will be introduced to his equine namesake.

“I really can’t think of anything cooler than having a top-class Thoroughbred named after me,” Rob Gronkowski said. “Except maybe having him win the Derby.”

(from Phoenix Thoroughbreds news release)