Jan. 12, 2015. Louisville, KY. – The five women selected to serve as Princesses in the 2015 Kentucky Derby Festival’s Royal Court were introduced this afternoon at Macy’s at Oxmoor Center. The Derby Festival’s Royal Court Program is coordinated by The Fillies, Inc., a volunteer group that works closely with the Festival. Fillies President Suanne Sanders joined KDF President and CEO Mike Berry, as well as 2015 Derby Festival Chair Trish Osborn, in crowning the newly appointed court. They are:
Kathryn (Katy) Ashby of Hanson, KY – Katy is a junior at the University of Louisville majoring in mechanical engineering. She is a James Graham Brown Fellow, the Speed School Student Body Vice President and has almost completed her private pilot license.
Madison Evans of Louisville, KY – Madison is a junior at Georgetown College and she is majoring in psychology. She is a Norton Healthcare Scholar, studied abroad with Athena Abroad Program and plans to attend nursing school in the future.
Kyle Hornback of Louisville, KY – Kyle is freshman at the University of Louisville majoring in political science. She serves as an ambassador for Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky, is a Task Force freshman at U of L and is a jazz and ballet dancer.
Sophie Knight of Lexington, KY – Sophie is a senior at the University of Louisville majoring in marketing. She is a Vogt Scholar, has been named to the Dean’s List for seven consecutive semesters and is fluent in Italian.
Briana Lathon of Louisville, KY– Briana is a senior at Centre College majoring in politics. She is a New Horizon scholar, has studied abroad in France and Ghana and plans to attend law school upon graduating.
Two alternates were also chosen – Makenzie King of LaGrange, KY was chosen as the first alternate.
Danielle Dorsey of Louisville, KY was chosen as the second alternate. They will become Princesses if one of the other women is unable to serve.
These five young ladies will act as ambassadors for the 2015 Kentucky Derby Festival, attending nearly 70 events over a two-week period. 30 were selected as finalists out of the more than 100 original applicants for the five Princess positions, and all attended the final judging on Sunday, January 11. None of them knew in advance who had been selected.
One of the five will be crowned the Derby Festival Queen by a spin-of-the-wheel at the annual Fillies Derby Ball on April 17 at the Galt House. Each woman will receive a $2000 scholarship ($1000 from the Fillies and $1000 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 first Derby Festival Princess was crowned in 1957, the second year of the Festival. Previous Princesses have included former Kentucky Governor Martha Layne Collins and Gail Gorski, the first female pilot ever hired by United Airlines.
Since 1956, the Derby Festival has worked to bring the community together in celebration. The Festival is an independent community organization supported by 4,000 volunteers, 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation. It entertains more than 1.5 million people in a two- week period and has a local economic impact of more than $127 million. This involvement has made the Festival the largest single attended event in Kentucky and one of the leading community celebrations in the world.