Gronkowski, winner of the Listed Burradon Stakes at Newcastle on Good Friday and unbeaten in four starts on the all-weather, has been confirmed an intended runner in the Kentucky Derby by trainer Jeremy Noseda.
Named after New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski owing to his impressive physical presence, the Phoenix Thoroughbreds-owned three-year-old will depart for Kentucky at the end of the month, and is likely to be joined in the field on May 5 by UAE Derby winner Mendelssohn to contest one of the biggest races in the world.
“I’m delighted with him,” said Noseda. “He’s a lovely, straightforward horse to deal with and everything is very much on schedule with our preparation.
“He leaves for America on Saturday, April 28, and by the time he leaves quarantine and starts training it will be Tuesday morning [May 1]. That’s the plan and I think it's the perfect timing for his arrival.”
Noseda had hoped to test the son of Lonhro on dirt in the US before the Kentucky Derby, but instead used the Burradon Stakes, which offered crucial qualifying points for the Churchill Downs Classic, as his prep.
The trainer added: “It’s just getting him happy, fit and healthy, and then we have to find out if he goes on the dirt or not. I’m pretty confident he’ll handle it well. They either do or they don’t, no matter how much you train them.
“The Kentucky Derby is one of the most special days in horseracing. It has an atmosphere and intensity I have never experienced at any other race anywhere in the world. It’s a special event to be at and we'll roll the dice and give it our best shot.”
William Hill make Gronkowski an outsider for the race at 50-1, with the Aidan O'Brien-trained Mendelssohn leading their market at 4-1.