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Breed Standardbred
Sire Albatross (US)
Grandsire Meadow Skipper (US)
Dam Niagara Dream (US)
Damsire Bye Bye Byrd (US)
Sex Stallion
Foaled Mar 30 1977
Country United States
Colour Bay
Breeder Mrs. Elsie Berger (US)
Owner Mrs. Elsie Berger (US)
Clint Galbraith (US)
Trainer Clint Galbraith (US)
Record 39 starts for 37 wins
Earnings US$2,021,213
First standardbred to win break the 1:52, 1:51 and 1:50 barriers
First standardbred to win $2 million dollars
Last updated on 2009-04-17

Niatross (1977-1999) was an American champion standardbred race horse that many believe was the greatest harness horse of all time.


The son of Albatross out of the mare Niagara Dream, Niatross was born on March 30, 1977. He was trained and driven by co-owner Clint Galbraith and was unbeaten in 13 starts in his 2-year-old season, when he was named Harness Horse of the Year.

Racing career[edit]

In September 1979, after Niatross won his first six races, half interest in him was sold to Stockbroker Lou Guida and the Niatross syndicate for 2.5 million in cash.

In 1980, Niatross won The Meadowlands Pace, which was the first million dollar race in either standardbred or thoroughbred racing history. Niatross also won the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Pacers. In a time trial at Lexington, Kentucky's "Red Mile," he beat the world record by three seconds, setting a mark of 1:49.1.

During his racing career, Niatross won 37 of 39 races. In an elimination for the Meadowlands Pace, he broke stride, lost valuable ground, regained his gait and, in what many say was his greatest performance, recovered and finished 4th, qualifying for the final. In the Meadowlands Pace final, Niatross went right to the front and never looked back, winning easily. In his other loss at the Saratoga Standardbred track in Saratoga, NY, he spooked and fell over the inside hubrail (since then, all harness tracks have gone from hubrails to pylons). He recovered from some superficial scrapes and went on to beat all of his competition easily in future starts, frequently setting track records, including a new race and track record during the prestigious Prix d'Été at Blue Bonnets racetrack in Montreal, Quebec.

Stud career[edit]

By the time Niatross retired to stud at Castleton Farm in 1981, he had earned more prize money than any other standardbred horse in history. He had been named Harness Horse of the Year in 1979 and 1980, the New York Post Athlete of the Year in 1980, and Harness Horse of the Decade for the 1980s. In stud, he commanded a top price for his services. Among his progeny were winners of the Little Brown Jug. One son, Nihilator, won Horse of the Year honors.

In 1996, when he was 19 years old, Niatross made a 20-city tour for his fans in Canada and the United States. In 1997, he was inducted as a member of the Living Horse Hall of Fame. In May 1999, he took ill and was transported to the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center where he was diagnosed with a large cancerous mass in his abdomen. On June 7, 1999, Niatross was humanely euthanized.


Pedigree of Niatross (USA), bay stallion, 1977
Albatross (USA)
Meadow Skipper (USA)
Dale Frost Hal Dale
Countess Vivian Kings Counsel
Filly Direct
Voodoo Hanover (USA)
Dancer Hanover Adios
The Old Maid
Vibrant Hanover Tar Heel
Vivian Hanover
Niagara Dream (USA)
Bye Bye Byrd (USA)
Poplar Byrd Volomite
Ann Vonian
Evalina Hanover Billy Direct
Scoot (USA)
Scamp Guy Abbey
Sweet Miss
Doris Hanover Spencer
Last Chance

See also[edit]