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horse racing

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Photos: 2018 Preakness Stakes

Horse named for Gronkowski qualifies for Kentucky Derby

A horse named for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski earned a spot at the Kentucky Derby, ESPN reported.

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The 3-year-old colt, named Gronkowski, won the Burradon Stakes in England on Friday, qualifying the thoroughbred for the Run for the Roses on May 5 at Churchill Downs.

For the first time, the Derby is reserving one spot in the 20-horse field to a European horse, ESPN reported.

"We've had this dream, and now the dream is alive," trainer Jeremy Noseda told At The Races after the horse's victory.

The Patriots’ tight end has attended the Kentucky Derby before, attending Millionaires Row with teammate Tom Brady.

The colt won his last four races, with two victories coming in March, ESPN reported.

"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.

Police: Woman stole 1969 Preakness Cup from South Florida storage unit

The 1969 Preakness Cup trophy, the prize of a major thoroughbred horse race won by a stallion that nearly landed a Triple Crown, was among the items an alleged looter grabbed from a storage unit in South Florida, police said.

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Alicia Elaine Murphy, 59, of Boca Raton, faces several charges of burglary and grand theft. Investigators said she cut the locks on at least 12 storage units at a CubeSmart in Delray Beach and took electronics, household items, musical instruments and taxidermy.

And one storage unit had more than $300,000 worth of goods, including family heirlooms and memorabilia from the 1969 Preakness Stakes. Majestic Prince, a thoroughbred colt, won the race that year, two weeks after winning the Kentucky Derby.

Murphy sent the Preakness Cup, and other mementos including gilded horseshoes, to an auction house in New York that specializes in sports collectibles, police said.

The auction company had given Murphy a $15,000 advance on the cup before detectives arrested her Wednesday.

Police value Murphy’s total haul at between $350,000 and $400,000, the report says.

Murphy told detectives that she rented a storage unit at CubeSmart for 24-hour access, and routinely broke into other units using bolt cutters. She rented a large vehicle and hired laborers at Home Depot to help load trucks with stolen merchandise, according to the police report.

Murphy broke into the lockers at night when workers weren’t present, police said.

Murphy has been convicted of several felonies since the early 1990s, including cocaine possession, fraud, grand theft and forgery, according to state records. Most recently, Murphy served eight months in the state prison in 2005 on charges of grand theft and fraud.

The lucrative horse race memorabilia belonged to Francine McMahon, a Delray Beach resident whose father, Canadian industrialist Frank McMahon, owned Majestic Prince, according to news reports. Frank McMahon helped develop lucrative gas and crude oil pipelines in Canada.

Majestic Prince nearly won the Triple Crown, a rare feat in thoroughbred racing earned when a horse wins three prestigious races in a six-week span — Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Only twelve horses have won the Triple Crown, the last in 2015 by American Pharoah.

Majestic Prince was the first horse to enter the Belmont Stakes undefeated in 1969. But he had injured a ligament in his right front leg before the race, according to news reports. McMahon had wanted to rest “The Prince” as media called the champion thoroughbred, but changed his mind.

Majestic Prince finished second by 5½ lengths to Arts and Letters in the Belmont and never raced again.

Photos: Belmont Stakes 2017

Photos: 2017 Preakness Stakes

What's your Derby horse name?

In honor of the 143rd Kentucky Derby, you can now generate your very own horse name.

Racehorses are known for their colorful names. This year's Kentucky Derby contenders include Thunder Snow, Girvin, McKraken and Patch, the one-eyed horse.

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The Courier-Journal has created an interactive that allows users to enter their first initial and day of birth to create a unique Derby horse name. There's also a random name generator.

Users are encouraged to share their Derby horse name on social media.

The 143rd Kentucky Derby will be run at Churchill Downs Saturday at 6:34 p.m. ET.

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