Kentucky Derby Contender Profile: Gronkowski

GronkowskiPPsBest Brisnet Speed Figure: 95 estimated (32Red Burradon Stakes).

COMMENTS: This colt, named after the New England Patriots’ great tight end Russ Francis (kidding, kidding — obviously, he was named after Rob Gronkowski), lost his first two races on the grass, but is undefeated on all-weather surfaces in England. His sire, Lonhro, won at distances ranging from six to 10 furlongs in Australia and also sired five-time Group 1 winner Pierro, who banked nearly $4.1 million in his 13-race career (also in Australia).

Horses that last raced on an all-weather surface actually have a decent record in the Kentucky Derby, with both Street Sense (2007) and Animal Kingdom (2011) visiting the winner’s circle from 49 starters (0.79 impact value, 0.84 odds-based impact value). But, of course, both those colts raced previously in the United States. Since 1997, 15 foreign shippers have competed in the Run for the Roses — and not one of them has hit the board.

There are also questions regarding the level of competition Gronkowski has faced and the fact that he has never gone beyond a mile. His best (estimated) Brisnet speed figure is just a 95 and horses that last raced at a distance less than 1 1/8 miles are 1-for-51 (0.34 IV, 0.40 OBIV) in the Kentucky Derby over the past 26 years.

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Derek Simon
Derek Simon is the Senior Editor and Handicapper at US Racing.