She sent Battleship to England and in 1937 hoped to start him in the Grand National at Aintree. However, her trainer, Reginald Hobbs, declared the horse out of the race. "He said the horse didn't have enough experience over the high jumps, that they wanted him to carry too much weight," Mrs. Scott says. "He gave me 100 excuses. But the next year I refused to be put off. I insisted that Battleship run, and he won."
Battleship, one of the few good sons of Man o' War, was a tiny horse and his victory was the first by an American owner and horse in the Grand National. In recent years Mrs. Scott has floated the $100,000 Colonial Cup Steeplechase in Camden, S.C. with her own money, and eight times she has owned or bred the jumper of the year in the U.S. Among those horses were Rouge Dragon, Shipboard, Benguala, Soothsayer and the remarkable three-time champion Neji, who sailed over fences like a swallow even though he was forced to carry weights up to 176 pounds.
Mrs. Scott is a slight, shy, eccentric woman who was once married to actor Randolph Scott and for decades has lived in James Madison's home, Montpelier, in Orange, Va.
While her success has come mostly in steeplechasing, she has had some fine flat runners, like Mongo, Saratoga and Parka. Mongo won more than $800,000 but was unlucky enough to be running at the same time as Kelso.
Proud Delta could be Mrs. Scott's first champion dirt horse. The next few weeks will tell. The filly received a superior ride from Velasquez in the Beldame and she will need that assistance again. Velasquez moved her even farther out from the outside post position at the break to ensure that he would hinder neither his own mount's progress nor that of the horses on his left. He set a slow early pace and reserved Proud Delta until the top of the stretch. He was a target for the others to shoot at. Turning for home he let Proud Delta roll and she took off again. Revidere fought bitterly in the stretch to finish second, with Bastonera 2nd finishing third, a head in front of Optimistic Gal.
Before Proud Delta can be considered the champion, however, she must prove herself once more in the $125,000 Ruffian on Oct. 9 at Belmont at 1� miles. "Proud Delta will be there," Trainer Howe said after the Beldame. Heck, she always is.