Artax, champion sprinter of 1999 and winner of the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr.I), is back in training at Saratoga Race Course after servicing 93 mares at Clermont Farm, near Germantown, N.Y., owner Ernie Paragallo confirmed on July 7.
"He's been in training for several months on the farm's indoor and outdoor tracks," Paragallo said. "He got 90 percent of his mares in foal this year, and now we'll see how he takes to serious training. This had been our plan before we even sent him to the farm after his (suspensory) injury had healed. That's why we kept him at the track an extra two months. Our original plan was to breed him, then return him to the races, and retire him after the Breeders' Cup.
"I race horses, and when they're sound and can race, I like to race them. I always felt retiring him after last year was a little premature. This horse hates time off, and what would he be doing the rest of the year turned out in a three-acre paddock? He's happier now than he was the last month of the breeding season, and he's training like he used to train. If he has any missteps at all along the way, he'll return back to his house (on the farm)."
With trainer Lou Albertrani at Belmont with the main string, Artax is under the care of assistant trainer Jennifer Leigh and Richie Suttle, who has worked for Paragallo in the past. Paragallo said Artax will not make his first start before mid-September. He plans on giving the horse one or two races before the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
Artax, who broke track records last year held by Dr. Fager and Groovy, and equaled a record held by Mr. Prospector, stood his first season at Clermont for a fee of $30,000. The 5-year-old son of Marquetry has won seven of 25 starts for earnings of $1,685,840.