Two Gronkowskis could be at this year's Kentucky Derby. Two Gronkowskis and Six Legs
Gronkowski, a 3-year-old stallion named after the narrow end of the Patriots, won the Burradon Stakes in Newcastle, England on Friday morning. First place secured the horse a place in the Running of the Roses in May.
"The reason why he's called Gronkowski is because he looks like a tight end," said Kerri Radcliffe, a full-blooded Englishman who bought the horse for Phoenix Thoroughbreds in April 201
Radcliffe was a Patriots fan," since I saw Tom Brady walking on the field without a helmet, "but Brady just did not seem to be so apt for the big, muscular bay. Gronkowski is 6 feet 5 inches tall and built like his namesake.
"He was always a gentle giant, he's a beautiful horse, very calm, a perfect gentleman," Radcliffe said, settling for a few hours after the Burradon. Gronkowski and Jockey Jamie Spencer set up 10 entries on Friday at the bottom of the field, moving to the outer edge of the track about a quarter of a mile from the finish, Gronkowski started with an open field and took the lead and finally won the straight-mile by 1¼ lengths, Gronkowski holding an unbeaten record in three starts this season, all on synthetic surfaces.
It was a great finish, and the announcer's breathless screaming Gronkowski and Spencer gave their last boost would amuse any football fan.
"Gronkowski, under the near track. From Purser and Iconic Sunset it's Gronkowski who has fought his way forward, "a spokesman said breathlessly as the big bay made its final attack." Purser, however, remains at Dark Acclaim, but Gronkowski makes enough – he could be Kentucky Derby ? "
That could put the Gronkowskis in position, as the tight end on race day is often spotted in Churchill Downs. A Tom Brady-led contingent of patriots in various combinations of madras and pastels makes an annual pilgrimage.
Radcliffe, who grew up with ponies and competes in show jumping, is interested in racing when her grandfather sneaks her onto the slopes under the pretext of going for a walk together. She was not a football fan until she spent more time in the US during races, but for the last 10 years she has been rooted in the Patriots. She would love to make Brady or Gronkowski's acquaintance at Churchill Downs, though she will certainly be busy.
Radcliffe's hopes for Gronkowski were always the Kentucky Derby. Driving to the US is complicated and expensive, and there are many prestigious races in the UK, but it's no exaggeration to say that the Race of the Roses is Radcliffe's Super Bowl.
"It's the # 1 race in the world that I always wanted to win," she said.
They will have long chances, and horses that grew up abroad have struggled to win the derby in the past, but Gronkowski has potential.
"It sounds weird, but I have not seen it on the racetrack yet, which I believe This horse is capable of, I am sure that more will come," said celebrated coach Jeremy Noseda on Friday at At The Races. "We'll hone now and prepare for Kentucky. We will need a much better effort, but I'm sure we can live up to ourselves. He does not have proper gears, but if he can get into a rhythm, he can stay in rhythm for a long time. "
Gronkowski is finding his rhythm, with many tracks to follow before happily retiring, full of free time and potential comrades.
For the other Gronkowski, that may not sound so bad.