Kentucky Derby hopefull Gronkowski to miss the Run for the Roses

"Gronkowski the horse is recovering very well from a small infection, " said Tom Ludt, vice president of equine operations for Phoenix Thoroughbreds, which owns the towering colt.

By winning the Burradon Stakes at Newcastle racecourse in England on March 30, Gronkowski earned the first European slot in the Kentucky Derby under the points system created by Churchill Downs.

"It's unfortunate Gronkowski the horse will not be able to race in the upcoming Kentucky Derby due to an illness", Gronkowski wrote on Twitter.

Gronkowski originally had plans to make the trip to Louisville, but won't be in attendance as long as his horse isn't competing.

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Should Gronkowski not make it, the next entry up on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard would be for the Steve Asmussen-trained Combatant, fourth-place finisher in the Arkansas Derby.

Phoenix Thoroughbreds said Gronkowski was responding well to antibiotics.

Gronkowski the horse was sired by champion Lonhro, Australia's Racehorse of the Year in 2003-'04, and was bred in Kentucky as the first foal from the mare Four Sugars, a daughter of twice champion American racehorse Lookin At Lucky.

New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski recently bought an interest in the animal and said he was excited to meet his namesake during Derby week. "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".


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