Anyone here familiar with Sheilah Rathbun of Middleburg Hunt (1960's-1980's)?

I’m looking for information regarding a racehorse owned by Sheilah Rathbun (who died at age 81 in 2005) of Fay Gate Farm in the Middleburg area (actually the farm is on Snake Hill Road in St. Louis on the border of Piedmont and Middleburg Hunts) in western Loudoun County, VA. Sheilah was a governor of Middleburg Hunt sometime during the last part of this past century, and I’m curious to know a bit more of her background in regards to her racing.

Specifically, I’m looking for a racehorse she and her husband bred and owned by the name of “Unison” - a bay colt who broke his maiden at Bowie in 1980 during the time that she was the owner. His last owner of record was A. J. Repici.

I’ve pretty much exhausted what the web has to offer in trying to trace back this horse, so posted in the Racing forum hoping someone there might be able to provide more racing background data.

Stats: Foaled 1976, bay colt by Cyane (Turn To* x Your Game) out of Rugosa (Double Jay* x Rose). Bred by Mrs. and Mrs. H. T. (Sheilah and “Duffy”) Rathbun of Fay Gate Farm in Middleburg, VA. Raced 36 times, Won 3, Placed 5, and Showed 5. Winnings $38,986 overall, with 3 wins at ages 4 and 5 totaling $28,986.

I would dearly love to know what became of the horse, but am not hopeful (or should I say “realistic enough to think”) that the records will divulge what happened to “Unison” after he finished his race career. It could be that Sheilah may have talked about this horse in conversation during a hunt or polo party, and I’m hoping someone here may have been privy to knowing the horse.

THANK YOU to any COTHers who hunted with/ knew the Rathbuns, that might be able to provide me with some more info on this horse, or on Sheilah. I would be super grateful.


I believe they have a son who was a trainer. Might be Gordon Rathbun.

I recall the name, but cannot say I knew her. If I were looking, I’d call Will O’Keefe and pick his brain, though you are talking about flat racing and not the point to points. Or try the VA Thoroughbred Association, as I recall they tracked data by owners and in particular Virginia breeders, so may have some archives available.

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Hi–I’m Mickey Rathbun, Sheilah’s youngest daughter. I don’t recall what happened to Unison, although I certainly remember him. My parents named him after Unison, Va, a small hamlet close to their farm. Unison had several half-sisters who were quite successful at the track…
I suggest you contact the last trainer who had him. He must have been claimed at some point…I’m curious why you’re trying to find out about him!