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Niatross Made 1980 Debut

May 17, 2005

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It was 25 years ago this week that the great Niatross embarked on his 3-year-old racing campaign with a 1:56.1 victory in the $55,000 Hanover and Hempt Stakes at Vernon Downs.

After finishing his freshman season with 13 victories in as many starts, $604,900 in earnings and Horse of the Year honors, Niatross began his sophomore season just as impressively. With 8,248 fans on hand to watch, Niatross left from post position two with trainer-driver Clint Galbraith sending the big son of Albatross for the lead, and he responded by leading the field through fractions of :27, :59 and 1:28.4.

When Majestic Lobell, with Jeff James driving, and Storm Damage, with Bill Haughton up, tried to challenge Niatross at the top of the stretch, he just pulled away, pacing his last quarter in :27.2 for a 3 1/2-length victory over Majestic Lobell, with Storm Damage finishing third.

Niatross won his next five races, extending his unbeaten string to 18, before he suffered his first defeat at Saratoga Harness when he fell over the inside hubrail. He lost his next race, finishing fourth in an elimination for the Meadowlands Pace. But starting with the Meadowlands Pace final, he put together another 18 straight victories, including each leg of the Pacing Triple Crown, time trialed in 1:49.1 and finished the year with 24 victories in 26 starts, earnings of $1,414,313 and his second straight Horse of the Year honor.
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