The possible reaction of Rob Gronkowski to the equine news of England. (Larry Busacca / Getty Images)
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was bursting with his usual bounce after announced last week that he had bought a minority stake in a Kentucky Derby qualifier named Gronkowski.
"This horse is a winner, and I love a winner," the human Gronkowski said in a statement. "When I found out that the racehorse would be named after me, I started to look and I was really excited when it started to win, it has won its last three races and now it is heading to the Derby. Family Gronk, Gronkowski the Horse! "
But now comes the news that Gronkowski, the horse, will not make it to Churchill Downs after all. British coach Jeremy Noseda told RacingPost.com on Monday, before the horse's leading group made a more serious announcement.
"We are very sorry that Gronkowski missed the Kentucky Derby after having a fever over the weekend and receiving antibiotic treatment," the Phoenix owner group Thoroughbred announced Monday. "He can not make the long trip to Louisville, but he's doing well."
Gronkowski the horse had won four consecutive starts to accumulate enough qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby and was scheduled to arrive in Kentucky this coming weekend. It had always been a remote possibility to compete in the Derby; He has never run on land, with all his races coming on turf or all-weather surface. In addition, he never ran more than a mile, so it is questionable if Gronkowski had the stamina to compete in the 1 1/4 mile Derby. In addition, since the Kentucky Derby point system was introduced in 2013, no horse has won the race with less than 100 qualifying points. Gronkowski is only 50.
Even so, he figured to attract popular money based on his extremely popular and co-owner namesake. The news on Monday ended that possibility.
"Having a Derby contender with our first group of 3-year-olds was a dream come true, and that New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski joining us on that trip made it even more exciting" said Tom Ludt, director of international operations at Phoenix Thoroughbred, according to the (Louisville) Courier Journal. "But we must put the welfare of the horse first, and we expect the colt to recover quickly and for his future careers."
Gronkowski, the human, probably has enough disposable income out there that it will be fine if his horse investment does not pay off. (He has said he never touches the money he receives from the six-year, $ 54 million contract he signed in 2012, but instead lives on his endorsements). But here is the hope that he knew the risks involved.
"This is a game in which money invested should be considered as disposable income," racehorse expert and adviser Tony Cobitz told CNBC in 2010. "Is it possible to make money? Yes. Is it possible? Make a lot of money, of course, but even the most sophisticated investors do not expect to do it every year. "
Barry Irwin, founder of Team Valor, one block from Kentucky horse racing, said: "Do not get involved in horse racing unless you like the sport, the chances of losing are 90 percent."  Fighter and Instilled Regard moved to the Derby camp, according to the Courier Journal, after Quip also left him.
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