Artax wins the 1999 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Gulfstream ParkPICTURE: Edward Whitaker
Champion sprinter Artax dies at stud in Brazil
ARTAX, North America's champion sprinter of 1999, was put down at stud in Brazil in Sunday after suffering from colic. The son of Marquetry was 17 years old.
Artax began his stud career at Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky before moving to Metropolitan Stallion Station in New York and then Diamond G Ranch. For the past threesouthern-hemisphere seasons he was leased to stand at Haras Santa Tereza do Bom Retiro in Brazil.
Bred by Vinery and Carondelet Farm out of the Apalachee mare Raging Apalachee, Artax was campaigned by Paraneck Stable.
He finished second to subsequent Kentucky Derby hero Real Quiet in the Hollywood Futurity at two and was runner-up in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at three.
It wasn't until Artax's four-year-old season in 1999 that he really blossomed, though. That year he landed three Grade 1s - the Carter Handicap, the Vosburgh Stakes and the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Gulfstream Park, in which he beat Kona Gold by half a length in a time that equalled Mr Prospector's track record.
Artax also played a part in of one of American racing's most bizarre incidents, when a racegoer got on to the track, stood in the horse's way and tried to throw a punch at him in the Maryland Breeders' Cup Handicap at Pimlico in 1999. Luckily, jockey Jorge Chavez swerved to avoid the intruder but lost the race.
Artax was unable to produce at stud a horse who replicated his own brilliance, though he left Diabolical, who finished placed in the Diadem Stakes, Golden Shaheen and KrisflyerSprint for Godolphin, and Grade 1 Prioress Stakes scorer Friendly Michelle.