Gronkowski, the horse named for Rob Gronkowski, is out of the Kentucky Derby

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/24017/" data-ylk="slk:Rob Gronkowski">Rob Gronkowski</a> (right, with unidentified friend) will not see his namesake horse run at this year’s Kentucky Derby. (Getty)
Rob Gronkowski (right, with unidentified friend) will not see his namesake horse run at this year’s Kentucky Derby. (Getty)

Bad news for fans of Rob Gronkowski: Gronkowski, his namesake horse, will not be competing in the Kentucky Derby after all.

Gronkowski is suffering from a slight infection — this is the horse we’re talking about here, though we can understand the confusion — that’s enough to prevent the horse from making the journey from Europe to America for the first jewel in the Triple Crown. Gronkowski, a three-year-old, contracted the fever over the weekend and will not be in a condition to make transatlantic travel.

“We are beyond disappointed that Gronkowski will miss the Kentucky Derby,” said Tom Ludt, Phoenix Thoroughbred’s head of international operations. “To have a Derby contender with our first group of three-year-olds was a dream come true, and to have had New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski join us on that journey made it even more exciting. But we must put the welfare of the horse first and we will look forward to the colt recovering quickly and to his future races.”

Gronkowski is undefeated this year — again, we’re talking about the horse; Gronk the human lost his most recent game, as you may recall — and had earned the first European slot in the Kentucky Derby under a new points system.

“This horse is a winner and I love a winner,” Gronk the human said shortly after buying in on the horse. “When I heard about the racehorse being named after me, I started watching and got really stoked when he started winning.”

Sadly, Gronk the horse’s withdrawal deprives us of so many great possibilities: Would Horse Gronk go off at 69-1 odds? Would the jockey ride shirtless? Would Horse Gronk do some pre-race partying in the notorious Kentucky Derby infield? Would Horse Gronk fuel up on a pre-race bucket of Monster Energy drink? Would Horse Gronk flick the other horses aside to get open? Would Bill Belichick scheme some devious-yet-just-barely-legal way for Horse Gronk to win it all? Alas, now we’ll never know.
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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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