A Touchdown of Tips for Derby Racehorse Owner Rob Gronkowski

Pop Culture
NFL star Rob Gronkowski has bought an interest in Kentucky Derby contender Gronkowski. It’s going to be some kind of party in Louisville on Derby day. (WikiMedia Commons/Eclipse Sportswire)

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that New England Patriots All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski is purchasing a minority interest in his namesake Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve hopeful Gronkowski.

Gronkowski, the horse, qualified for the Derby in England, cementing his spot in the race with a win in the 32red Burradon Stakes on March 30 at Newcastle in England.

Amer Abdulaziz’s Phoenix Thoroughbreds bought Gronkowski, a dark bay or brown colt by Lonhro, as a 2-year-old at auction in England for $404,492. Phoenix and Gronkowski, the star football player, are reportedly going to announce details of the deal on Thursday.

We had hoped to see Gronkowski at Churchill cheering on Gronkowski, but now that he’s part-owner, he’s gotta make the trip to Louisville.

With that in mind, here are a few Derby tips.

Get excited

They don’t call it “the greatest two minutes in sports” for no reason, the atmosphere on Kentucky Derby day is absolutely electric. People dream of having a horse in the Kentucky Derby, and now you are one of the select few. Live it up and be ready to party!

Smile, you’re on camera

There is no doubt the NBC and NBC Sports cameras will find an All-Pro tight end and Super Bowl champion making his debut as a racehorse owner. AND, America’s Best Racing will be embedding with co-owner Phoenix Thoroughbreds for a Derby edition of ABR Wired.

Pick out a great suit and a hat

When you make your debut as an owner in the Kentucky Derby you’d better be dapper … or eclectic if you prefer. In fact, go ahead and get creative! And while you’re at it, pick out a nice hat. Our friend Christine A. Moore is the featured milliner for the Kentucky Derby. Her millinery can get you a great lid that will be an asset whether the sun is shining or the rain begins to fall.

Grab a mint julep (or three)

You can’t go to the Kentucky Derby and not get a mint julep. It’s basically a requirement. But here’s an insider secret – after the first one it's OK to switch over to bourbon neat or on the rocks.

Take plenty of cash for betting (but leave the ATM card at home)

There is nothing that can compare with having a horse in the 144th Kentucky Derby, but it’s also a terrific day of racing with a ton of opportunities to make serious bank. Cozy up to a great handicapper (Joe Kristufek or Eddie Olczyk fit the bill) and fire away at the early races. You can make money betting to win and place on Derby day or test the waters in exacta and trifecta betting to increase the profit potential. But make a betting budget in advance so you don’t need to do the racing walk of shame to the ATM.

Bring Tom Brady (and Wes Welker)

The Kentucky Derby is best experienced with friends (or teammates). We know Tom Brady knows his way around Churchill Downs like he knows his way down a football field. Hell, if Welker plans to start handing out Franklins again, be sure to let us know.

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