Adapted by Keswick Life
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, and his wife Dolley. William and his wife Annie, made substantial changes to the house, enlarging it, renovating the formal garden, and adding many outbuildings and stables. Mr. duPont’s daughter, Marion duPont Scott, an accomplished horsewoman, inherited the property from her parents and resided at Montpelier until her death in 1983, at which time the duPont family transferred the property to the National Trust For Historic Preservation. Montpelier was declared a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. It was included in the Madison-Barbour Rural Historic District in 1991. The National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) has owned and operated the estate since 1984. In 2000, The Montpelier Foundation formed with the goal of transforming James Madison’s historic estate into a dynamic cultural institution. From 2003–2008 the NTHP carried out a major restoration, in part to return the mansion to its original size of 22 rooms as it was during the years when it was occupied by James and Dolley Madison. Extensive interior and exterior work was done during the restoration.Recently, archeological investigations have revealed new information about African-American life at the plantation. Thanks to a generous gift from philanthropist David Rubenstein, Montpelier is restoring the slave quarters in the South Yard, and finalizing a groundbreaking exhibition on slavery, The Mere Distinction of Colour, opening Spring 2017.
Mrs. Scott with the help of her brother, William duPont, Jr., transformed Montpelier into a first class Thoroughbred breeding and racing facility, building a state of the art steeplechase course and a flat training track. In 1929, Marion duPont Scott started The Montpelier Hunt Races on the front lawn of James Madison’s home. 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 and owned 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.
Montpelier Hunt Races hosts seven races. The hurdle course features the only live brush jumps in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The first race post time is 12:30 PM and the last race usually begins around 4:30PM. Two races are on the flat and five are over fences. The premier race is the sixth race and is run over Montpelier’s signature live brush fences. Most races are over 2 miles and the horses make over two turns around the course. Viewing is available right at the rail and is exhilarating beyond belief.
Watching the horses being saddled and walked in the paddock is also popular with spectators. A traditional presentation is made in the Winner’s Circle below the Race Tower for the winning horse, jockey and trainer.
Jockey’s silks distinguish the owners and are described in your race program. Other information about the horses, their recent race record, th Eweight they will be carrying, their color, sex and breeding are also included in the Race Program.
Many other events happen during the race day. Jack Russell Terrier Races – near the flat track at 10:30 AM. Stick Horse Races For children 2-11, on the Racecourse in front of the Race Tower.
A Tailgate Contest has no entry fee, just let the office know prior to race day that you would like to be judged, we need your. Great prizes and lots of fun ! The Hat Contest is always a big hit and right after the second race on the racecourse in front of the Race Tower. Judged on elegance, or best race theme, even a group prize! Sponsored by Dubarry of Ireland.
More information can be found on our Race Day Information page and Facebook. 540-672-0014 or email firstname.lastname@example.org