Gronkowski (the horse) to miss Kentucky Derby because of infection

Gronkowski (the human) recently bought an interest in the animal.

Gronkowski horse
Gronkowski was supposed to ship to Kentucky over the weekend. –Andy Watts / Racingfotos.com

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Gronkowski won’t run in the Kentucky Derby because of a slight infection that will keep the England-based colt from traveling to the United States.

Tom Ludt, who oversees Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ international operations, says Gronkowski spiked a fever last weekend and was treated with antibiotics. The colt is eating normally and responding to treatment, but Ludt says the owners want to put Gronkowski’s welfare first.

Ludt said Monday that the owners are “beyond disappointed” to miss the May 5 race at Churchill Downs.

New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski recently bought an interest in the animal and said he was excited to meet his namesake during Derby week.

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The 3-year-old colt was undefeated in three races this year, including the Burradon Stakes at Newcastle on March 30, which earned him the first European slot in the Derby under Churchill Downs’ points system. He is trained by Jeremy Nosada and ridden by Jamie Spencer.

Ludt says Gronkowski will be given time off and return to racing at some point.

The colt was part of the first group of horses purchased by Phoenix Thoroughbreds, an investment fund formed last year by Dubai businessman Amer Abdulaziz.