Niatross was an American champion standardbred race horse who 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, winning so impressively that he was named Harness Horse of the Year.
In September 1979, after 6 wins in a row to start his career, half interest in Niatross was sold to Stockbroker Lou Guida and the Niatross syndicate for 2.5 million in cash.
In 1980, Niatross won The Meadowlands Pace, which at the time, was the first Million dollar race in either standardbred or thoroughbred racing history. Niatross also won the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Pacers and in the harness racing world where records are broken by fifths of a second, Niatross obliterated the world record by three full seconds, setting an astonishing mark of 1:49.1 in a time trial at Lexington, Kentucky's "Red Mile."
During his racing career, Niatross won 37 of 39 races; in an elimination for the Meadowlands Pace, Niatross broke stride, lost much valuable ground, regained his gait and, what many say was his greatest performance, miraculously 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). Fortunately no one was hurt. 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.
By the time Niatross retired to stud at Castleton Farm in 1981, he had earned more prize money than any 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 which proved worthwhile with great offspring winning the Little Brown Jug and one, Nihilator who would go on to win 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, Niatross 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.