History of Montpelier Races
In 1901, William duPont purchased the Montpelier estate, located four miles west of the Town of Orange, in Virginia’s Piedmont Region. It was the lifelong home of James Madison, the fourth President of the United States. Mr. duPont’s daughter, Marion duPont Scott, an accomplished horsewoman, resided at Montpelier until her death in 1983, at which time the duPont family transferred the property to theNational Trust For Historic Preservation.
Mrs. Scott and her brother, William duPont, Jr., were responsible for creating many of steeplechase and flat racing’s best known venues, including Delaware Park in Delaware, the Fair Hill Natural Resources Area, home to the National Steeplechase Association Headquarters and its race course in Maryland, the Camden Race Course, South Carolina, home of the Carolina Cup and the Colonial Cup Races and in 1929, she inaugurated the Montpelier Races. As an owner, Mrs. Scott bred a series of winners from excellent Thoroughbred bloodlines. In 1932, her horse Trouble Maker won the Maryland Hunt Cup, regarded as America’s most challenging timber race, and in 1938, her horse Battleship, a son of Man O War, became the first American bred horse to win the British Grand National Steeplechase. Other winners campaigned under her French blue, old rose and silver colors were Mongo, Accra and Annapolis, another son of Man O War.
Regarded by many as America’s First Lady of Racing, Marion duPont Scott generously supported the equine industry throughout her life. She donated funds to construct Virginia’s leading equine medical center in Leesburg, which is named in her honor. Her legacy continues with the running of the Montpelier Races, a premier event on the national Steeplechase Association’s circuit, which is always held on the first Saturday in November.
shown here the Races in 1932
With the mansion’s architectural restoration complete, come witness the investigation, discovery, and installation of Madison furnishings and décor. Watch as curators bring James and Dolley Madison’s home back to life.
Poster Art Info
This year’s poster art is by Virginia artist, Sandy Lawrence. This highly detailed pencil drawing shows Marion duPont Scott’s horse, Battleship, leading over Becher’s Brook in the Grand National on March 25, 1938. This year marks the 75th anniversary of his Grand National win which put him down in the record books as the first American bred and American owned horse to win the Grand National. He is still the smallest horse to ever win, with the youngest jockey, Bruce Hobbs who was only 17.
This win catapulted Marion duPont Scott and her Montpelier Racing stable into international fame. See more about the story on this website at Story of Battleship page.
Sandy Lawrence’s art education was with the community of artists of Virginia. She studied decorative arts at Ina Marx’s Finishing School in Great Neck, NY and her work is represented in many homes in Virginia as well as Mary Baldwin College and the National Paint and Coatings Association in DC. She lives in Charlottesville and is pursuing her love of portraiture.