Everyone knows Buffalo native and New England Patriots All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski heads to the Kentucky Derby annually.
This year, his namesake will be in the gate in Louisville on the First Saturday in May.
Phoenix Throughbred's Gronkowski, a 3-year-old son of Lonhro (AUS) out of a Lookin at Lucky mare, garnered his fourth straight win on Friday in the Burradon Stakes at Newcastle Racecourse in the United Kingdom. He ran 1 mile over Newcastle's synthetic all-weather track in 1:37.40 to capture a special invitation to compete in the 144th Kentucky Derby on May 5.
The horse's owner, Kerri Radcliffe of Phoenix Thoroughbreds, tweeted about the accomplishment afterward and tagged the Patriots' star.
— Kerri Radcliffe (@Ker_Radcliffe) March 30, 2018
"I named him after my love for the Patriots," Radcliffe told NBC10 Boston Friday. "I'm a huge fan."
She also told NBC10 that the horse has a similar build to Gronk: "He is big with a great hind leg and a great shoulder, but most of all, a gentle giant."
Gronkowski, trained by Jeremy Noseda and was ridden by Jamie Spencer, recorded the 1 1/4-length win to secure a berth in the Run for the Roses.
Horse named Gronkowski just won the Burradon Stakes in England and has qualified to run in the Kentucky Derby pic.twitter.com/QkJlkPdVbS
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 30, 2018
His victory secured 30 more points, giving him 50 overall, in the inaugural European Road to the Kentucky Derby series finale. The win vaulted him ahead of the previous leader, Mendelssohn (20 points), who will attempt to qualify for the Derby on Saturday morning in the UAE Derby. Mendelssohn's hopes lie in qualifying on the primary Road to the Kentucky Derby at Meydan, the top four finishers will be awarded 100-40-20-10 points.
Gronkowski now appears at No. 20 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard.
The question you're all wondering about......can Louisville handle two Gronks at once?
— GQ Magazine (@GQMagazine) May 3, 2015
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.