Royal Court

Click here to apply

Each year, it begins with more than 100 applicants. Then, 30 finalists are selected. Finally, five young women are selected as the Royal Court® Princesses. These young women represent the Kentucky Derby Festival and the city of Louisville as official ambassadors for the springtime tradition of the Festival. Over the two-week period, they attend nearly 70 events.

One of the Princesses will be crowned the Derby Festival Queen by a spin-of-the-wheel at the annual Fillies Derby Ball on April 17. Each woman will receive a $2,000 scholarship ($1,000 from the Fillies and $1,000 from the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation).

Candidates for the Princess Program must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average and are selected by a panel of three out-of-state judges. Criteria for selection includes knowledge of the Derby Festival, poise, intelligence, personality and campus and community involvement. The Derby Festival’s Royal Court Program is coordinated by The Fillies, Inc., a volunteer group that works closely with the Festival.

For additional information, contact Julie Dorsey at (502) 489-7111 or


Morgan Cooksey of Louisville, KY is a junior at the University of Louisville majoring in political science.  Morgan serves as a Cardinal Ambassador, is a member of the Student Government Association and also is a Kentucky YMCA Leadership Training Conference facilitator.



Julia Springate of Louisville, KY is a senior at Centre College.  Springate is majoring in biology and serves on the Centre Student Senate and volunteers for several organizations such as Salvation Army and Harvesting Hope Food Pantry.



Eriauna Stratton of Louisville, KY is a senior at the University of Kentucky majoring in elementary education.  Stratton is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, an Academic Excellence Scholar and a Fulbright Scholar.



Grace Trimble of Winchester, KY is a junior at the University of Kentucky.  Trimble is majoring in political science.  She serves on the University of Kentucky Student Athlete Advisory Council and is a recipient of the United States Tennis Association Serves National Scholarship.


Grace W

Grace Wainwright of Louisville, KY is a senior majoring in bioengineering at the University of Louisville.  Wainwright is a fashion blogger at, a member of the Society of Women Engineers and a Dean’s Scholar.




1957 – Jackie Love
1958 – Pat Travis
1959 – Martha Layne Hall (future Governor Collins)
1960 – Lillian Campbell
1961 – Dillard Marr
1962 – Jane Helm
1963 – Judy Roach
1964 – Trudie Musson
1965 – Jennifer Burcham
1966 – Lynne Girdler
1967 – Julie Short
1968 – Lynn Morris Haymond
1969 – Melinda Milliken
1970 – Starr Sprigg
1971 – Jennifer Lynn Storm
1972 – Gail Gorski
1973 – Julie Williams
1974 – Marion R. McCord
1975 – Annette Grundy
1976 – Kathy Carpenter
1977 – Robin Marie Clore
1978 – Elizabeth Page Penna
1979 – Ronda Marie Hartlage
1980 – Holly Wright
1981 – Gwen Francis Hettinger
1982 – Mia Todd
1983 – Lala Michele Thomas
1984 – Jessica Elizabeth Thomas
1985 – Peggy Barton
1986 – Kristen Zapata
1987  – Jennifer Lynn Stratton
1988 – Christina Lynn Levy
1989 – Margaret McGaw
1990 – Heather Marie Peet
1991 – Kristi Wright
1992 – Michelle Gaines
1993 – Preethi Anathakrishnan
1994 – Melissa Purvis
1995 – Tara Lutz
1996 – Charliese Brown
1997 – Leslie Ann Corbett
1998 – Natalie Ann Hallal
1999 – Michelle Elaine Ackerman
2000 – Kerri Richardson
2001 – Anne Marie Abell
2002 – Caryn Rae Willian
2003 – Rebecca DeSensi
2004 – Maria Maldonado
2005 – Brittany Diane Carpenter
2006 – Patti Jo Grice
2007 – Charlee Doom
2008 – Taléa Renee Drummer
2009 – Harini Chenna
2010 – Megan Imel
2011 – Trisha Maclin
2012 – Kaelyn Gault
2013 – Cameryn Jones
2014 – Julia Springate