01/09/2012 3:15PM

Artax, 1999 champion sprinter, dies in Brazil

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Artax, the 1999 champion sprinter, died on Jan. 8 at a hospital in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, after suffering a bout of colic, according to the farm where he had stood for the past two seasons.

Artax, who was 17, had been standing at Haras Santa Tereza do Bom Retiro since the 2010 breeding season, as the property of a syndicate of Brazilian breeders. He had shuttled between the U.S. and Brazil in 2009.

A sprint specialist on the racetrack, Artax was by Marquetry out of Raging Apalachee, by Apalachee. He started his stud career at Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky, and last stood at Diamond G Ranch in Oklahoma before being relocated to Argentina.

Owned by Ernie Paragallo’s Paraneck Stable, Artax won the Grade 1 Vosburgh Stakes and Carter Handicap the same year that he won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and was named champion. That same year, a drunken racegoer at Pimlico Race Course attempted to punch the horse deep in the stretch of the Maryland Breeders’ Cup Handicap. Already beaten, Artax finished fifth in the race.

For his career, Artax sired six stakes winners in his first eight crops, including Friendly Michelle and Diabolical.