When the 5-year-old Tough Sunday held off a late challenge to win Thursday's fourth race at Del Mar by a half-length, it was more than just another trip to the winner's circle for owner/breeder Nick Alexander. The son of his own stallion Grazen, Tough Sunday was born with symptoms of what is known as dummy foal syndrome; the colt could not see or hear, and he had no nursing instinct.
As originally reported by the Pasadena Star-News, Alexander rushed Tough Sunday and his dam Sunday Dress (General Meeting) to the veterinary hospital for treatment, but after a week had gone by the young colt had little improvement to show. Forced to make a costly decision about the colt's future, Alexander walked past his stall one more time. He noticed that Tough Sunday was tracking movement with his eyes – the colt could see.
Affectionately called “Bruiser” by his owner, Tough Sunday did regain his sight but not his hearing – the colt is still hearing impaired.
When turned out with the other mares and foals on the farm, Tough Sunday behaved as any other young Thoroughbred might. Alexander decided to send him to the racetrack, and after a third and a second-place finish the colt broke his maiden late in his 2-year-old season.
“This guy, he's tough. This is the first time I've had a foal that was that badly compromised that went on to recover and become the quality of horse that he is,” said Alexander.
This Thursday, entered in a five-furlong allowance optional claiming event on the turf, Tough Sunday once again showed that strong will which originally earned him his name. He and jockey Tyler Baze took the lead out of the gate and never relinquished it, holding off a late challenge in the stretch for his fourth career victory. The 5-year-old Steve Miyadi trainee has earned $235,838 in his 15 starts, for which he boasts a record of 4-4-4.
— Del Mar Racetrack (@DelMarRacing) November 16, 2017
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