If all goes right, Gronkowski will finally make his debut on American soil at the 2018 Belmont Stakes. In the meantime, the three-year-old fan favorite will be transferred to trainer Chad Brown, who just rallied Good Magic to a runner-up finish in the 2018 Kentucky Derby. The announcement was made by Phoenix Thoroughbreds, who owns the colt.
“He is coming to Chad and I think he’ll be there Monday morning,” said Top Ludt, VP of Operations for Phoenix Thoroughbreds. “I talked with Chad before the Derby and obviously he has not had the horse yet. He’ll be in the barn by Monday and the Belmont is our intention. But we’re not going to tell Chad what to do. He’ll only go in the Belmont if he feels it’s the right fit.”
Gronkowski made waves when he won the European Road to the Kentucky Derby and earned a berth for the spectacle that ran without him this past weekend. The longshot was not only handed roughly 30/1 odds by handicappers, he also was given an unfortunately timed flu. That, however, had nothing to do with the massive shakeup at Phoenix Thoroughbreds, which seems to be parting ways with trainer Jeremy Noseda, who was reportedly “shocked” by the news according to his social media posts.
Ludt was quick to address this. “At the end of the day there are a lot of things going on and a lot of distractions, and we want to do what is best for the horses,” Ludt explained. “I heard that Noseda was quoted as saying he was shocked, but I had been talking to him about this for a while. Jeremy and I have been friends for a long time and it’s a tough decision, but Phoenix has to do what is best for the horses right now.”
It’s an obviously painful decision for Noseda, but Gronkowski’s popularity has never been higher. Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots bought stake in the horse, who was named after him by his breeders who liked how big and jovial the horse was as a yearling. The Lonhro sired colt was cosigned for $404,492 as a two-year-old and is undefeated in four starts this year with an overall record of 4-1-0 in six starts.
The 2018 Belmont Stakes will run on Saturday, June 9th and once again serve as the most gruelling leg of the Triple Crown.