Thursday, October 13, 2011

Breeders' Cup Hero: Artax

The winner of the 1999 Breeders' Cup Sprint was Artax (pictured), who was billed at the time as the "Fastest Racehorse In The World". It's just as well he held that title that year with the Breeders' Cup being held at Gulfstream Park. The speed was holding up phenomenally well during the entire program at Gulfstream on Cup Day and most of the smart folks in the crowd knew that when Artax took the lead on the turn, it was going to be awfully difficult to catch him. Well, no one did and Artax held off the charge of Kona Gold to win the Sprint, paying $9.40 to win. The time for his victory was 1:07.4, which equaled the track record of Gulfstream set by the great Mr. Prospector. Artax was named the Champion Sprinter of 1999 following his performance in the Sprint.

Considering how great Artax was as a sprinter, it is interesting to note that he actually was considered a Classic contestant during his three-year-old campaign in 1998. In one of the Kentucky Derby prep races on the West Coast that year, Artax actually defeated Real Quiet, who would go one to win the Derby and Preakness. Artax never contended on Derby Day, showing absolutely no speed at all, never getting higher than tenth in the field of fifteen and finally settling in thirteenth place. This would not be the last we would encounter Artax during a Triple Crown program. The following spring in the 1999 Maryland Breeders' Cup at Pimlico on Preakness Day, a fan from the infield who had maybe enjoyed himself a little too much in the infield, stepped on to the track in the middle of the race and took a swing at Artax in the stretch. Thankfully, neither fan nor horse were injured, but all wagers on Artax in that race were refunded by the stewards after the incident.

For his 25-race career, Artax recorded seven wins, nine seconds, and three thirds. His total earnings were $1,685,840. To watch the video of Artax's win in the 1999 Breeders' Cup Sprint, here is the link: Tune in again tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!

Photo courtesy of

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is such a good article to read. Stimulating me to read more of your articles. Keep up the good work hoping more excellent articles from you soon.
Handicapping horses