The Game Haus

Sports Stars Who Own Racehorses

No matter what sport they are famous for and whether they are still active or not, the following sports stars all have a love of horses in common. 

Take a look at who has sampled the pleasure of owning a racehorse.

Rob Gronkowski

Labeled as one of the best tight ends to ever play in the NFL, Gronkowski has had a long and highly successful career to date. After spending nine seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers he moved to the New England Patriots in 2020.

During his career, the hugely popular Gronkowski has been on the winning side in four Super Bowls and made it into the NFL All-Decade Team for the 2010s. In terms of racehorses, he has a minority stake in a horse that was named after him. The horse called Gronkowski was born in 2015 and ran in several high-profile races in the UK and the US. 

While a fever meant that he couldn’t compete in the 2018 Kentucky Derby, Gronkowski came second, at long odds, in the Belmont Stakes of the same year. The following year, he also came second in the Dubai World Cup. The NFL star said that he hoped to ride the horse one day, but it isn’t clear if he ever managed to do this.

Wayne Rooney

Soccer star Rooney returned to England to coach Derby County, following a spell playing for D.C. United. This came after a long and exciting career that was carried out mainly at Manchester United.

His racehorse career is something he started a few years ago, buying several horses with his wife, Coleen. The couple bought Pippy for £63,600 in 2012, which was their third racehorse purchase. Interestingly, it was trained at stables partly owned by another former soccer star, Michael Owen.

Pippy went on to give Rooney his first win, having finished in last place in his first couple of races. The historic moment came when jockey Richard Kingscote rode Pippy to victory at a race in Wolverhampton. 

Wes Welker

Welker’s NFL career saw him play for teams such as the San Diego Chargers, the Miami Dolphins, and the Denver Broncos. Since retiring from the game at the end of the 2015 season, he has started his coaching career with the Houston Texans and then the San Francisco 49ers.

He has owned horses for several years, and seems to have had some success in this sport. He famously handed over $100 dollars to other attendees at the 2014 Kentucky Derby. 

It was then confirmed by Churchill Downs that someone in his group has been overpaid by $14,000 on a bet and that they could keep the money. So, if you want to learn how to bet on the Belmont Stakes or on other upcoming races you can probably trust Wes Welker!

Bode Miller 

Best-known for his record-breaking exploits on the ski slopes, Miller has also dabbled in racehorse ownership, with a reasonable degree of success. If we start with a look at his skiing career, six Winter Olympics medals and two World Cup wins have made him the most successful American male skier of all time.

His interest in racehorses appears to have started with his friendship with Bob Baffert. The famous trainer named a son after Bode and he also had a horse called Bodemeister. Miller said back in 2012 that he had been to the Kentucky Derby at least 10 times, so it is clear that he already had an interest in the sport. 

Miller has achieved most horse racing success so far with Carving, the horse that he co-owned with Baffert’s wife, Jill, and that cost him $55,000 as a colt. This horse won a race at Del Mar, and he later got another victory thanks to En Hanse.

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