Mahubah: Man o' War's Dam

Updated: Apr 10, 2019



Mahubah and one of her weanling fillies. Undated. From the Keeneland Library Estes Collection. This image is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in print or electronically without written permission of the Keeneland Library.


August Belmont Jr. was a great businessman known for his work in railroads and subways. He is also highly regarded in the world of Thoroughbred horse racing for his work in breeding, owning, and in being the first president of The Jockey Club. His farm, Kentucky Nursery Stud, was home to some of the best sires and broodmares in the industry. One of these broodmares was Mahubah whom he had bred and was foaled in 1910.

According to American Classic Pedigree, Mahubah was a lengthy and roomy mare. She had a laid back shoulder and strong hindquarters. Mahubah was a well-bred daughter of Rock Sand (English Triple Crown Winner) and Merry Token (a minor stakes winner by The Derby winner Merry Hampton), but unfortunately had inherited her sire’s nervous disposition.

Like almost all of Belmont Jr.’s homebred broodmares, Mahubah was only raced enough times to prove her on-track abilities. She ran five times, winning once, before being retired to Belmont’s broodmare band in Kentucky. She was bred five times in her life, all five times to Fair Play. Mahubah first foal was a 1915 filly named Masda. Masda went on to become a minor stakes winner before joining Harry Payne Whitney’s broodmare band where she produced three stakes winners and even went on to become the third dam of Triple Crown winner Assault.

Mahubah’s next foal was her most notable: Man o’ War. Man o’ War was the winner of 20 out of 21 races and is considered one of the most talented racehorses of all time. Off the track, Man o’ War sired many good racehorses, including Triple Crown winner War Admiral.

Her other notable foal was My Play, the winner of the 1923 Aqueduct Handicap and 1924 Jockey Club Gold Cup. My Play was overshadowed by Man o’ War at stud, but was still able to produce Head Play and some good broodmares.

Mahubah’s two other foals, Playfellow and Mirabelle, were not as successful but kept Mahubah’s name as a broodmare clean nonetheless. She went barron after her fifth foal and was retired from her broodmare duties. After Belmont Jr. died in 1924, Mahubah was purchased by Joseph Widner and was sent to his Elmendorf Farm. There she lived until 1934. At twenty-one years old, she was laid to rest next to Fair Play, fitting for her nickname as “Fair Play’s wife”.

Playfellow, Man o’ War, and My Play all ran times better than 1:37 for the mile, making Mahubah the first mare to produce three horses to do so. She was also named a “Cluster Mare”, meaning that she produced two or more winners of five or more of the eight most important races within six generations. This is quite the feat considering she was only bred five times.

When looking at the pedigree of many great racehorses, Mahubah’s name can be found. As her name suggests, Mahubah’s blood carried “great fortune” and she should be respected for her contribution to some of the greatest racehorses the United States have known.


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