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Furlongs, not football: Gronkowski earns spot in Ky Derby

Posted: 4:42 PM, Apr 03, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-03 23:22:36Z

Gronkowski has clinched a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate with the colt's fourth straight victory.

Named for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, the Kentucky-bred colt won the Burradon Stakes at England's Newmarket by 1 ¼ lengths on Friday.

For the first time, Churchill Downs is allotting one spot in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby field to a European-based horse.

Trained by Jeremy Noseda and ridden by Jamie Spencer, Gronkowski moved ahead of Mendelssohn on the European Derby leaderboard.

Mendelssohn will try to qualify for the May 5 Kentucky Derby through the main Derby leaderboard with a victory Saturday in the UAE Derby.

Another spot in the Kentucky Derby field is being allotted to a Japan-based colt.