NFL superstar Rob Gronkowski’s future playing football may be in question, but one thing is for certain. The New England Patriots’ tight end will be watching the upcoming Kentucky Derby closely after becoming a part-owner of the thoroughbred racehorse named after him.
Gronkowski announced via Twitter that he had acquired a stake in the horse that bears his last name and is slated to compete in the Derby on May 5 at Churchill Downs, one of the world's largest horse racing betting events every single year.
Gronkowski continued in the post that the horse is a “winner” and that he loves a winner, as can be evidentced by his extremely successful career with the Patriots.
“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 races and is now headed to the Derby. I’m all in: Welcome to the Gronk Family, Gronkowski the Horse!”
The 5-time All-Pro, two-time Super Bowl Champion may have finished his last season with New England as there’s speculation he’ll be traded or retire before the 2018-’19 NFL season begins. In eight seasons, the 28-year-old has amassed 474 receptions, 7,179 receiving yards and 76 receiving touchdowns to go with almost 1,000 yards and 12 scores in the postseason.
Gronkowski said he couldn’t think of anything cooler than having a top-class thoroughbred named after him, except for that horse winning the Derby. He told the Wall Street Journal that he’d never “dealt with horses” but that he “likes new hobbies.”
“Hopefully I can get a ride on the horse. I'm not trying to ride it for a full speed ride. I just want to get the feel of what it's like to be on top of one. Maybe I'll go for a full speed ride once I get comfortable. It will be a new experience. Hopefully it will be something I like.”
Whether or not a ride for the 6’6 285-pounf Gronk would be advised prior to the Derby, Tom Ludt, primary owner of the horse and director of Phoenix’s global racing and bloodstock operations is thrilled with his newest investor.
“We are very excited to have this talented racehorse running in the Derby and to have Rob Gronkowski join our team. His involvement only adds to our growing credentials worldwide and can help us introduce the best of horse racing to a whole new audience.”
The horse could accomplish major Derby history as it could become the first ever British thoroughbred to win the coveted race. He was trained in Newmarket by Jeremy Noseda and currently faces 33-1 odds to win according to top online bookmakers.
If Gronkowski the horse were to claim victory in the Run for the Roses, it wouldn’t be the first thoroughbred with a famous sports nomenclature to find itself in the winner’s circle. In 2016 Nyquist, named after Gustav Nyquist, a Swedish hockey player for the Detroit Red Wings, won the Derby.