The tight end plans to meet his namesake before the Derby.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will buy a minority stake in a Kentucky Derby horse named after him, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The deal between Gronkowski and the Phoenix Thoroughbreds, a horse racing investment fund, is expected to be announced Thursday, reports the Journal. The terms of the deal have not been released.
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 Journal. Also, the colt's trainer, Jeremy Noseda, and his family are Patriots fans.
Gronkowski - named for @Patriots star tight end @RobGronkowski – collected his 4 straight win in Friday's Burradon Stakes @NewcastleRaces & clinched @KentuckyDerby invite by accruing most points on inaugural European Road to #KyDerby. Updated Leaderboard: https://t.co/zlTZn3t4yS pic.twitter.com/yEClPJt2Ke— Churchill Downs PR (@DerbyMedia) March 30, 2018
"I've never dealt with horses," Gronkowski told the Journal. "Hopefully I can get a ride on the horse."
While the horse happens to be the same height, 6-foot-5, as the tight end, the athlete's weight is listed at 265 pounds. The jockey only weighs 115 pounds, which means the horse might not be used to handling much more weight.
"That's what I want to know," Gronkowski said. "I'm not trying to ride it for a full speed ride. I just want to get the feel of what it's like to be on top of one. Maybe I'll go for a full speed ride once I get comfortable."
The football player first heard about the horse around a month ago when people alerted him that a colt sharing his name won the Burradon Stakes, securing his spot in the Derby.
Phoenix hopes Gronkowski's status as a professional football player can bring attention to the horse racing community.
"[Rob] has a reach that the traditional thoroughbred industry doesn't have anymore," said Tom Ludt, Phoenix's vice president of equine operations.
Gronkowski plans to meet his namesake in Louisville, Ky., a few days before the Derby.
The colt has won four out of six races in his career.