The European Road to the Kentucky Derby continued March 7 at Kempton Park (GB) in England following a one week delay due to wintry conditions. But Gronkowski had no trouble with the delay, winning the Kentucky Derby Conditions Stakes to pick up 20 qualifying points towards earning a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate.
Gronkowski was a little green racing near the back of the 7-horse field early in the Conditions Stakes, but jockey Jamie Spencer got him moving around the far turn with a bold move up to pressing position behind the leader Ventura Knight.
A stretch duel ensued before Gronkowski opened a clear advantage on the Polytrack surface to win the 1600-meter race in 1:37.74. Court House, who broke slowly and raced last early, rallied for second, three-quarters of a length behind the winner. Fortune’s Pearl finished third.
Gronkowski, by Lonhro out of the Lookin at Lucky mare Four Sugars, lost the first two starts of his career on turf, but has now won three in a row over all-weather surfaces.
There are seven Derby prep races in Europe, and the Kentucky Derby Conditions Stakes was the fifth in the series and the first to offer 20 points to the winner. The European Road to the Kentucky Derby reserves one of the 20 Derby starting gate spots to the leading point earner in the series whose connections want to run in the Derby. Gronkowski is now the co-leader with Saxon Warrior, a top European turf prospected who is not expected to run in the Kentucky Derby if he qualifies. However, the connections of Gronkowski and his trainer Jeremy Noseda have expressed in running in the Kentucky Derby.
Learn more about the Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition Stakes with these indepth stories:
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