nsucurrent.com May 20, 2018

Quip out of next week's Kentucky Derby, pointed toward Preakness

26 April 2018, 12:08 | Nina Perez

The Steve Asmussen-trained Combatant could enter the Kentucky Derby field if Gronkowski can't make

The Steve Asmussen-trained Combatant could enter the Kentucky Derby field if Gronkowski can't make

The Phoenix race team, which now includes the colt's co-owner, New England Patriots all-pro tight end and two-time Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski, expects the horse to make a big impact on American racing.

Gronkowski (Lonhro ), ruled out of consideration for the GI Kentucky Derby with a minor infection, will resume training next week in preparation for a tilt at the GI Belmont S., owner Phoenix Thoroughbreds, Ltd., announced Tuesday.

While an ill-timed illness knocked him out of consideration for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), the connections of stakes victor Gronkowski plan to point him to the Belmont Stakes (G1).

Fortunately, the horse is on antibiotics and is expected to be healthy shortly. I fully support what is best for the horse.

The three-year-old son of Lonhro has incurred a slight infection and will not be able to make the global journey to Louisville.

Should Gronkowski not make it, the next entry up on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard would be for the Steve Asmussen-trained Combatant, fourth-place finisher in the Arkansas Derby.

The 3-year-old colt was undefeated in three races this year, including the Burradon Stakes at Newcastle on March 30, which earned him the first European slot in the Derby under Churchill Downs' points system.

"We are beyond disappointed that Gronkowski will miss the Kentucky Derby", Tom Ludt, who directs Phoenix's worldwide operations, said in the release.

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