Allie Viney got a text message Thursday she was not sure was real at first.

In fact, the Scott County High School sophomore, did not want to say anything too loud as she was riding in the car with her dad, Thomas, and did not want to scare him.

The text was informing her that she was the winner of the 2019 Kentucky Derby poster contest.

“I was shocked and wondered if this was real. Was this really happening?” she said.

It is real, and on March 16, she will be at the Governor’s Mansion for a luncheon and give her original artwork to Derby organizers who will put it on posters that will be everywhere that promotes the Run for the Roses the first Saturday in May.

“We are absolutely shocked and I am thrilled for her,” said Thomas. “Think about how important the Derby is not just in Louisville, but the state and the country, and they will be seeing her artwork.”

Allie’s Gifted and Talented teacher Katherine Booth told her about the contest, and she thought ‘I can do this.’

“I’ve been drawing as long as I can remember, and was looking for something to draw,” Allie said. “I wanted to put in elements of the Derby like roses and the spires of Churchill Down, but I wanted to use different colors that you usually don’t see.”

The self-taught artist who has never had a formal lesson used pencil to create her artwork, making sure she included colors that would pop out of the image. And it took her two weeks to finish the winning entry.

For winning, she received a $500 scholarship and will attend the Kentucky Derby Day Festival Luncheon and the Derby Eve Gala.

And the accolades from family and friends are already rolling in.

“I’m sure the original artwork and poster will be framed and hung in the house,” Thomas said. “She definitely has some talent and sees things in a unique way.”

“My grandmother has already said she wants one autographed,” Allie said.

Steve McClain can be reached at

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