Belmont Stakes 2018: Gronkowski the horse set to race against Justify in American debut

So what are Jody Demling's 2018 Belmont picks? Where does Justify finish? And what long shot do you need to jump on? Visit SportsLine now to get Jody Demling's Belmont Stakes picks and predictions for every single horse, all from the horse racing guru who nailed the 1-2 finish and superfecta last year.

It might be rare for New England Patriots fans to get excited about a big sporting event in New York, but it's also not every day that Gronkowski takes the track at the Belmont Stakes.

A little over a month after an illness forced him out of the 2018 Kentucky Derby lineup, Gronkowski the horse is preparing to make his American racing debut at Belmont Park on Saturday. Most famous for being named after Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski, who owns a stake in the horse, the 3-year-old recently underwent his first official workout since arriving in the United States from Britain, and he's expected to be among at least a half-dozen horses challenging Triple Crown candidate Justify in Elmont.

Gronkowski the horse will enter the Belmont field having won four of six starts in Britain, including England's Burradon Stakes. He's also now being trained by Chad Brown, per the AP, after coming over under Europe's Jeremy Noseda, and since overcoming the infection that led to his Derby absence, Brown has said Gronkowski came to him in "outstanding condition."

Fan favorite or not, Gronkowski could face long odds in a race that figures to be heavily tilted in Justify's favor. The latter is looking to become the first Triple Crown winner since American Pharaoh in 2015, and his victories on sloppy tracks at both the Derby and Preakness Stakes seem to have trainer Bob Baffert confident in a third straight win at Belmont.

CBS Sports Writer

Cody Benjamin joined CBS Sports in 2017 after time spent with SB Nation, various newspapers and his own Eagles outlet. Raised around the Philly sports scene, he now lives in Minnesota with his wife and... Full Bio

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