The story of Battleship
A NEW EXHIBIT ABOUT BATTLESHIP AND HIS HISTORIC WIN WILL OPEN IN THE DUPONT GALLERY MARCH 28, 2013 AND RUN THROUGH THE FIRST WEEK IN NOVEMBER. Don’t miss this opportunity to view rare newsreel footage, the 24k Trophy and other artifacts that tell the story.
Over seventy years ago Battleship was the first American owned and bred horse to win the British Grand National, the preeminent test of a steeplechase horse. And, he was only 15.2 hands and carried a 17 year old jockey who stood well over 6 feet tall.
Mrs. Scott noticed Battleship, a son of Man ‘o War, at age three and wanted to buy him. He sustained an injury in a starting gate before she could buy him. Mrs. Scott was still interested and bought him after rest and corrective shoeing stating “you could just tell he was going to be right”. He raced as a four year-old winning six of 12 starts. He started racing over fences at five.
Battleship was sent to England in 1936 as a hopeful to run in the 1937 Grand National. His English trainer discouraged his entry in that race although he raced well there. In 1938 Mrs. Scott insisted he be entered in the Grand National. Reg Hobbs, the trainer, continued up until race day morning to try to discourage Mrs. Scott from entering him, even though his son was riding him.
The Grand National was celebrating its 100th anniversary in 1938 and 33 horses started. Battleship ran a grand race.The jockey, Bruce Hobbs, claimed after the race he was falling off at the fourth fence when a fellow jockey reached, grabbed him and plunked him back in the saddle. Only 13 horses finished the race. Battleship ran a nail biting stretch run against one other horse to stick his head in front at the wire.
A parade in his British home base greeted Battleship the day after the race. A month later when he returned to New York City aboard a ship mayor LaGuardia welcomed him along with actor Randolph Scott, Marion’s husband, who interrupted filming a movie in Hollywood to join the celebration. Mrs. Scott promised if Battleship won the Grand National he would never race again and she was true to her word. He retired to stud at Montpelier and is buried there. Guests can visit his grave, alongside two of Mrs. Scott’s other famous horses, Annapolis and Accra.
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.