Gronkowski Ruled Out of Derby With Infection

Gronkowski | Racing Post photo

Phoenix Thoroughbred's Gronkowski (Lonhro {Aus}) incurred a minor infection that will force him to miss a potential start in the GI Kentucky Derby, Tom Ludt, who directs Phoenix's international operations, confirmed Monday. The 3-year-old spiked a fever over the weekend and was immediately treated with antibiotics. While the sudden illness seems minor and the colt has been eating heartily and otherwise responding well to treatment, the condition will prevent him from shipping to Louisville. Gronkowski, who qualified for the Run for the Roses via the newly created “European Road to the Kentucky Derby,” has generated significant public attention due to his namesake, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who recently puchased an interest in the horse.

“We are beyond disappointed that Gronkowski will miss the Kentucky Derby,” said Ludt. “To have a Derby contender with our first group of three-year-olds was a dream come true, and to have had New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski join us on that journey made it even more exciting. But we must put the welfare of the horse first and we will look forward to the colt recovering quickly and to his future races.”

Trained by Jeremy Noseda, Gronkowski won four consecutive starts in England, capped by a win in the 32red Burradon S. at Newcastle Mar. 30, a victory that secured him a start in the Derby starting gate.

“Even though we will not be able to make the Kentucky Derby–the ultimate goal in racing for everyone–we are delighted that we were able to gain entrance to this globally significant race with one of our very first acquisitions,” said Phoenix founder Amer Abdulaziz. “We will be back to the Derby in the future, and Gronkowski will return to running and, hopefully, winning more races.”


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