The horse, aptly named Gronkowski, won the Burradon Stakes in England on Friday, qualifying the Kentucky-bred horse for the venerable May 5 race at Churchill Downs.
“We’ve had this dream, and now the dream is alive,” trainer Jeremy Noseda told At The Races after the horse’s victory.
Gronkowski (the football player) has attended The Run for the Roses in the past, taking in the sites and sounds of Millionaires Row alongside teammate Tom Brady and others.
Kerri Radcliffe of Phoenix Thoroughbreds, which owns the horse, said his height — the same as the Patriots star (6-foot-5) — and size of the horse made it an appropriate name.
“I love the New England Patriots, and as Rob Gronkowski is 6-5 and about the same wide, I thought it would be an appropriate name for the horse, as he’s built much the same,” Radcliffe told the Racing Post last month.
Gronkowski (the horse) has finished first in his last four races, with two victories coming in March.
“It sounds strange, but I haven’t yet seen on the racetrack what I believe this horse is capable of. I’m sure there’s more to come,” Noseda said.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell contributed to this report.