Gronkowski suffered a "slight infection" and will not make the trip to Churchill Downs.
New England Patriots' tight end Rob Gronkowski isn't just an NFL superstar—he also has a horse named after him, which he just bought a stake in last week.
The horse Gronkowski is a Kentucky Derby hopeful and was booked to fly to Churchill Downs this weekend, but suffered a "slight infection" and will no longer compete in the nation's premier horse racing event. Instilled Regard will take his place.
Gronkowski the horse is out of the Kentucky Derby with a ``slight infection,'' according to press release from his management team. Derby week/day just got a little quieter.— Tim Layden (@SITimLayden) April 23, 2018
As expected, Gronkowski officially out of Ky. Derby, per press release. Instilled Regard gets in, Blended Citizen on bubble.— Jay Privman (@DRFPrivman) April 23, 2018
Earlier on Monday, The Racing Post reported that Gronkowski suffered a setback that may threaten his participation in the event.
"We've had a minor setback and we will know where we are in the next 24 hours," trainer Jeremy Noseda said on Monday.
Gronkowski earned a victory in the Listed Burradon Stakes at Newcastle on Good Friday, giving him enough points to start at the Kentucky Derby.
The three-year-old colt was purchased last year in England by Phoenix. The investment group decided on the colt's name because he is "big and strong" just like his namesake, according to the Wall Street Journal. Also, the colt's trainer, Jeremy Noseda, and his family are Patriots fans.
Rob Gronkowski had planned to meet his namesake in Louisville, Ky., a few days before the Derby, but will no longer be able to do so. He did offer up some thoughts on the horse missing out on chance to race in the Derby.
It’s unfortunate Gronkowski the horse will not be able to race in the upcoming Kentucky Derby due to an illness. I fully support what is best for the horse. I know he will come back strong and healthy and I am excited to see him race again very soon.— Rob Gronkowski (@RobGronkowski) April 23, 2018
The colt has won four out of six races in his career.