Furlongs, not football: Gronkowski earns spot in Ky Derby

3/30/2018 6:42:55 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Gronkowski has clinched a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate with the colt"s fourth straight victory.

Named for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, the Kentucky-bred colt won the Burradon Stakes at England"s Newmarket by 1 \ lengths on Friday.

For the first time, Churchill Downs is allotting one spot in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby field to a European-based horse.

Trained by Jeremy Noseda and ridden by Jamie Spencer, Gronkowski moved ahead of Mendelssohn on the European Derby leaderboard.

Mendelssohn will try to qualify for the May 5 Kentucky Derby through the main Derby leaderboard with a victory Saturday in the UAE Derby.

Another spot in the Kentucky Derby field is being allotted to a Japan-based colt.