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A thoroughbred named for the Patriots tight end, Rob Gronkowski will race in the Kentucky Derby.

Gronkowski followed up his win in the the ”European Road to the Kentucky Derby” Condition Stakes at Kempton Park outside London in early March with another victory in Friday’s Burradon Stakes at Newcastle in England, to clinch an invitation to the first race of the Triple Crown at Churchill Downs in May.

With the win in the final Kentucky Derby qualifying points race, Gronkowski moved to 3-0 on synthetic surfaces this season. He is also 4-0 since earning a runner-up finish in a pair of turf starts to launch his career.

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The Kentucky Derby is nothing new for Gronk, the NFL player. He attended the Derby in 2015 along with Patriots players Tom Brady and Julian Edelman.

Another famous sports figure who will not be attending a similar thoroughbred race in the Bluegrass State is embattled Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino.

Pitino vowed to not return to the state of Kentucky, and he’s keeping that promise, even though he has a filly racing at Kentucky Oaks.

Pitino is a part owner of Coach Rocks, which won Saturday’s Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks in Florida. Kentucky Oaks is scheduled for Friday, May 4 at Churchill Downs.

Pitino was fired as Louisville’s basketball coach in October after an FBI probe into corruption with NCAA recruiting and bribery named him as a facilitator. Pitino has denied these accusations, and vowed to not return to Kentucky.

“I’m not going to go to Kentucky for the Oaks, but my partners are,” Pitino told reporters in the winner’s circle at Gulfstream Park. “But I feel absolutely awesome.

“I will not (go to Churchill Downs),” he added, “unless (chairman) David Grissom and the pizza guy, Papa John (Schnatter), retire from the (university’s) board of trustees. Then, I’ll be there.”

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