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Artax Hat
Artax - Fastest Horse in the World
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When the field for the 1999 Breeders' Cup Sprint was loaded into the gate, announcer Tom Durkin, the voice of the Breeders'Cup proclaimed 'this is the race which will determine the fastest horse in the world.' When the final time of 1:07 4/5ths flashed on the board - equalling Mr. Prospector's 27 year old track record, the words took on special meaning.
1999 Eclipse Champion Sprinter Artax was a standout from square one. Offered for sale as a weanling at Fasig-Tipton, Artax caught the eye of two of the most astute horsemen in the business, "Buzz" Chace of Unbridled's Song fame and Irish pinhooker Bobby Barry. Buzz Chace purchased Artax on behalf of owner Ernie Paragallo. From the first crop of Juddmonte-raced Marquetry, sire of two Breeders' Cup winners, Artax sold for 16 times his sire's stud fee.

A superior two year old, Artax began his career in spectacular fashion breaking his maiden by over 9 lengths going a mile and a sixteenth. Trained by Wayne Lukas protege, Randy Bradshaw, Bradshaw was convinced he had a two-turn Classic prospect in Artax. Never off the board at two, Artax ran second in the Grade 1 mile and a sixteenth Hollywood Futurity to Real Quiet. It is interesting to note that the race contained two eventual Eclipse award winners in Artax and Real Quiet. Real Quiet's Beyer speed figure in the Hollywood Futurity was the highest two year old Beyer of any Kentucky Derby winner to date.

As a three year old, Artax factored prominently into the Classic picture. In the 1 1/16th mile Santa Catalina Stakes (G3), Artax dominated with a 5 and a half length victory over Sounvenir Copy and Ladies Din. In the West Coast Derby prep, the San Felipe Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita, Artax turned the tables and defeated eventual Kentucky Derby Champion Real Quiet. Artax's time for the mile and a sixteenth was an impressive 1:41 and change. In the final west coast Derby prep, the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, Artax ran third to Kentucky Derby favorite Indian Charlie and to Kentucky Derby winner Real Quiet. Artax ended his three year old campaign with a runner-up performance in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes, defeating millionaire Event of the Year.

An Eclipse Champion Sprinter, at 4, Artax changed trainers and changed running styles. He went from a solid Classic two-turn horse to one of the best sprinters of all time. A winner of 3 Grade 1 sprints at 4, Artax captured the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), the Vosburgh (G1) and the Carter (G1). His four year old campaign saw him in competition with the best sprinters of his generation including Kona Gold, Affirmed Success, Yes It's True, Big Jag, Stravinsky, Forestry, Intidab, etc.. Artax's track records put his performances into an historical perspective, in essence competing against three of the fastest sprinters of all time, namely, Mr. Prospector, Dr. Fager and Groovy. In the Breeders' Cup Sprint, Artax equalled Mr. Prospector's 27 year old track record of 1:07 4/5ths for 6 furlongs. In the Carter, he broke Dr. Fager's 32 year old track record for 7 furlongs, stopping the clock in 1:20 flat. Artax's record breaking performance in the Forest Hills, (6f - 1:07 3/5) prompted track announcer Tom Durkin to proclaim "he's faster than Groovy". Mr. Prospector, Dr. Fager and Groovy, three of the most acclaimed sprinters of modern times - now are joined in the annals of racing history by Eclipse Champion Artax.

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