Gronkowski Seeks Super Bowl and Dubai Cup In Same Year

Can Gronkowski win the Super Bowl and the Dubai World Cup in the same year? Check that. Could Gronkowski win the Super Bowl and the Dubai World Cup in the successive months?

The namesake of Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski is among the top contenders in the $12-million G1 Dubai World Cup, slated for March 27th. Leading online sports betting site MyBookie is listing Gronkowski at odds of +1200.

Rob Gronkowski football

“Rob Gronkowski” by Getty is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Gronkowski finished second by a nose to winner Thunder Snow in the 2019 Dubai World Cup. The 2020 edition of the race was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the race are therefore moved to be part of this year’s festivities.

The idea for the horse’s name came from an early trainer when the yearling was still learning how to race. The fellow was a New England Patriots fan – Gronkowski’s NFL team at the time – and envisioned the horse-racing version of Gronk in the big, strapping colt. Gronkowski the horse stands approximately 16 hands tall and weighs in at around 1,300 pounds.

“Hopefully if they named it after me, it’s just a beast of a horse, it’s fast and it’s ready to roll,” Gronkowski the tight end told Sports Illustrated upon first learning of his four-legged namesake.

The human version of Gronkowski caught two of the three touchdown passes thrown by Tom Brady in Tampa Bay’s 31–9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. It was the fourth Super Bowl title he’s won during his NFL career.

Gronkowski’s History Of Success

Though he might not often find his way to the winner’s circle, Gronkowski rarely finishes a big race without grabbing a piece of the purse. The six-year-old bay horse won the 2018 Burradon Stakes at Newcastle Racecourse in Great Britain, earning a winner’s share of the purse of £100,000 in the one-mile race over a dirt course. That same year, Gronkowski also won the Road To The Kentucky Derby Stakes at Kempton Race Course.

The top European-based qualifier for the Kentucky Derby, unfortunately, illness prevented Gronkowski from competing in the first leg of the Triple Crown. However, he regained his health in time to race in the third jewel of the crown, finishing second to Triple Crown winner Justify in the Belmont Stakes by 1 ¾ lengths at odds of 12-1.

Gronkowski shows a 4-3-3 slate from 16 career starts and earnings of $3,142,360.

Rob Gronkowski

“Rob Gronkowski” by NESN is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Gronk Meets Gronkowski

In 2018, NFLer Gronkowski purchased a minority ownership share in his equine namesake. Naturally, it was fated that the two would meet.

Gronkowski remembers learning about his horse-racing doppelganger via social media. He was being tagged with tweets each time Gronkowski succeeded on the track.

“I kept seeing this horse popping up on Twitter winning races and winning

Naming a horse after a celebrity is always a scary proposition. It can prove embarrassing for the famous person if the four-legged version of them doesn’t live up to their popular handle.

“The good news is this horse ended up being good,” says Tom Ludt, VP of equine operations for Phoenix Thoroughbreds, owners of Gronkowski. “Sometimes the horse doesn’t end up being good, and once you use a name, it’s a very long period before you have a name back again.”

There’s an eerie similarity to the career beginnings of both Gronkowskis. The horse began his career in Britain and didn’t race in the USA until the Belmont, which was where the two would first meet.

Gronkowski played his first NFL game with the Patriots in London, England in 2012.

“It was kind of like the same thing – known about, but never been seen before,” Gronkowski said. “I went to London and I dominated that game, we dominated that game as a team.”

Saudi Cup Prep

Several of the contenders for the Dubai World Cup will be seen on track this Saturday in horse racing’s richest race, the $20 million Saudi Cup.

Knicks Go, the +300 favorite for the Dubai World Cup, is in the race, as are Charlatan (+400), Mishriff (+600), Military Law (+600), Maxfield (+1000), Tacitus (+1000) and Chuwa Wizard (+1600).

Gronkowski finished 10th in last year’s Saudi Cup.

“All of a sudden I see the horse is going to the Kentucky Derby, and I’m like, wow, no way.”

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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