Artax is Atrayu's best friend, and they go in search for a cure for the Childlike Empress in the Never Ending Story. Artax dies in the Swamp of Sadness, but is brought back to life when Bastian re-creates Fantasia.
Artax as a horse
Artax (1995–2012) was an American Champion Thoroughbred racehorse. He was named after a horse featured in the children's fantasy novel "The Neverending Story". Artax equaled or broke three track records during the 1999 racing season when he won the Breeders' Cup Sprint, Carter Handicap and Forest Hills Handicap. Those victories, coupled with a win in the Vosburgh Stakes, earned him that year's Eclipse Award as Champion Sprinter.
During the 1999 running of the Maryland Breeders' Cup, an inebriated man (Lee Chang Ferrell) walked under the rail at Pimlico Racecourse on Preakness Day and stood in front of the field. As Artax came by, Ferrell attempted to hit Artax, and the horse moved over several paths, making contact with other horses and wrenching its ankle. Ferrell was not injured. All betting money on the Artax, who was the 4/5 favorite, was refunded.
Artax was retired to stud in 2000. He stayed at several farms, including Clermont Farm in New York, Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky, and Diamond G Ranch in Edmond, Oklahoma before being moved to Haras Santa Tereza do Bom Retiro in Brazil. His most notable offspring include Diabolical, winner of the Alfred Vanderbilt Handicap, and Grade I winner Friendly Michelle.