. - LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - An historical groundbreaking today for a $6.5 million dollar renovation and expansion project for the Kentucky Derby Museum. And to add some extra luck, horseshoes were placed before the shovels.
The day also included a special celebration for Winston, the resident miniature horse at the Derby Museum.
He has served as a companion animal to over 30 thoroughbreds, including three derby horses, and Kentucky Derby 135 winner Mine That Bird. After 22 years of service, it's time for retirement.
"He's been a great ambassador for the museum, appearing in fundraising events, garnering many likes and comments as a rock star on social media and the list goes on," said Pat Armstrong, Derby Museum President.
Now it's on to Old Friends Farm in Georgetown for Winston's Retirement.
But before that he took a symbolic last spin around the museum. Where school children bid him farewell, and he got a few kisses on the nose and peppermints.
He won't get to see the new stable that will soon be built as part of the museum's 6.5 million dollar renovation and expansion project.
"That area will feature seating for educational programming which is a big part of the mission here at the Kentucky Derby museum," Armstrong said.
In addition, more than 11,000 square feet of new space will be added. This will showcase the collection of legendary trainer D. Wayne Lukas and jockey Bill Shoemaker.
"This was a very significant acquisition and a big part of the reason to do the expansion," said Hunter Wilson, Derby Museum Board Chairman.
They'll renovate an existing 5,000 square feet. And in the outdoor area where the press conference was held, there will soon be a covered space to be used for weddings and parties. The Derby Museum is hoping members of the community will contribute.
"You can pledge as long as five years, for as little as one hundred dollars your name can be included on the wall (of donors)," said Todd Spencer, who is chairing the expansion.
Most of the construction will start after this year's Derby. It's expected to be complete by November in time for the 2018 Breeder's Cup at Churchill Downs.