Fair Play’s wife: Mahubah

A 1910 British-bred daughter of Rock Sand, Mahubah was considered to be a speedy, talented filly, but she was also excessively nervous. It negatively affected her racing career, and she lost her first four races. After her fifth race and only win, she was retired to broodmare duty at Nursery Stud in Kentucky

As with her five races, she produced only five foals, all sired by Fair Play. Her first was a speedy but unpredictable filly called Masda, born in 1915. Two years later, Mahubah gave birth to her legacy: a bright red force of nature known as Man o’ War

Her next three foals were disappointing in comparison. Her 1918 foal was the injury-prone colt Playfellow, followed by My Play in 1919. My Play was perhaps her second-best foal, being the winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Aqueduct Handicap, but he could not hold a candle to his older brother. Mahubah’s final foal was the filly Mirabelle, who was unplaced in two career races and who inherited her mother’s nervous temperament 

Mahbah and Mirabelle were sold, along with Fair Play, to Elmendorf  Farm at the 1925 Nursery Stud dispersal sale. Mother and daughter lived together in the same paddock, until Mahubah’s death in 1931 at the age of 21. She was buried nest to the only stallion she ever knew, Fair Play


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The picture post of Man o’ War as a foal inspired me to look up some stuff about his dam, Mahubah. I had to do some digging to find a somewhat decent photo of here sans broodmare belly.

Mahubah was a royally-bred daughter of 1903 English Triple Crown winner *Rock Sand and the Merry Hampton mare *Merry Token. Like her sire, she was gentle and sweet-natured, but took after him in that she was very nervous. Her trainer, Sam Hildreth said she had good speed, but she was excessively nervous, so the decision was made to retire her after she broke her maiden in her fifth career start. She passed her nervous disposition to Man o’ War, who was known to chew his hooves when upset.

A plain bay with no markings to speak of, Mahubah had relatively good conformation, with good length of rein, good leg, good shoulder, and a deep chest. Her only physical flaws were high withers and a somewhat-weedy hind end. What photos exist of her show a mare with an intelligent look and a kind eye, despite her nervous disposition. 

Best known as “Fair Play’s wife” and the dam of Man o’ War, Mahubah produced five named foals, all by Fair Play:

  1. Masda, ch. f. 1915 (stakes winner, produced The Tartar to the cover of Stephan the Great)
  2. Man o’ War, ch. c. 1917 (champion, sire, sire of War Admiral, Crusader, American Flag, Florence Nightingale, War Relic, Clyde Van Deusen, etc.)
  3. Playfellow, ch. c. 1918 (winner)
  4. My Play, b. c. 1919 (stakes winner, sire)
  5. Mirabelle ch. f. 1920 (unplaced; sold to Elmendorf farm with her sire and dam)

Mahubah was barren after foaling Mirabelle. When Belmont’s Nursery Stud was dispersed in 1925, she, Fair Play, and Mirabelle were purchased by the Wideners and moved to Elmendorf farm, where they were treated like royalty. Daughter Mirabelle was pastured with her pensioned mother to keep her company until Mahubah died in 1931 at the age of 21. Fair Play had died two years earlier at age 24, and Mahubah was buried next to him at Elmendorf Stud.