Applications now accepted for Indiana Derby Queen Pageant

Indiana Grand Racing & Casino is now accepting applications for the third annual Indiana Derby Queen Pageant to be held during the Grade III, $500,000 Indiana Derby on Saturday, July 14. The Indiana Derby, Indiana’s richest Thoroughbred race, showcases some of the best three-year-olds in the country and carries the tradition as A Royal Derby. The pageant winner will receive $5,000 and serve as an ambassador for the race over the course of the following year.

The second annual Indiana Derby Queen court is pictured, including the inaugural Queen Gracie Lyons (third from left) and the current reigning Miss Indiana Derby Elizabeth Lecher (fourth from left). (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Applications for the Indiana Derby Queen Pageant will be accepted through Friday, June 1, and are available at A preliminary pageant for the top 12 applicants will take place at Indiana Grand on Thursday, June 28. Five contestants will then be chosen to serve as the official Indiana Derby Court and one contestant will be crowned the Indiana Derby Queen on Saturday, July 14.

The Indiana Derby Queen Pageant winner will receive $5,000 and serve as an ambassador for the Indiana Derby. Additionally, the first runner up will be awarded $2,500, and the second runner up will receive $1,000.

Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and cannot have reached their 30th birthday on or before June 14, 2018. Complete rules and details are available online, along with the application form. Information is also available on the official Indiana Derby Queen Pageant Facebook page.

A panel of judges will select the top 12 applicants by June 7 based on their application and photo. Pageant contestants will then be evaluated on their speaking ability, poise, and personality through a series of interview questions, as well as swimsuit and evening gown portions of the pageant.

The preliminary round is open to the public and will take place on Thurs., June 28 at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at Shelby’s Gifts in the casino, or at the door.

The 2017 Indiana Derby Queen, Elizabeth Lecher of Lebanon, will be present at the Indiana Derby and will crown the winner.

After winning last year’s title, Lecher noted that she has a strong love of the racing industry and grew up watching horse racing. “The equine industry is full of amazing organizations with numerous possibilities and I can’t wait to help represent the Indiana Derby and Indiana Grand,” she said. “All of my life I have loved watching racing, but nothing compares to Derby Day.”

Lecher was also named the 2016 and the 2017 Indiana Derby People’s Choice winner through WISH-TV in Indianapolis.