Meet Winston: The Derby Museum's 'mane' man

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The miniature horse that was a fixture at the Kentucky Derby Museum for years has died. 

Winston the horse died Wednesday morning. He acted as an ambassador for the museum and had greeted visitors since 1995 until his recent retirement. In February, he moved to the Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement facility in Georgetown, Kentucky.

According to the Park Equine Hospital, the mini horse died unexpectedly from an abdominal infection. 

Winston spent nearly 23 years living at the museum as a companion to more than 30 visiting thoroughbreds including Derby contenders Perfect Drift, Phantom on Tour, and Twinspired, as well as Kentucky Derby winner, Mine that Bird.

In a statement, Kentucky Derby Museum president and CEO Patrick Armstrong said they are deeply saddened to learn of Winston's passing. "He was such a wonderful ambassador for the Museum, bringing happiness to thousands of visitors for 22 years. He will always be a part of the Museum's story and he will always have a special place in our hearts,"  Armstrong said. 

Over the years, Winston earned fans by making his annual Derby picks and even throwing out the first pitch at a Louisville Bats game. He was also a hit by helping at least ten couples pop the question with his "Will You Marry Me?" blanket. 

Winston was 24 and would have turned 25 on Oaks day this year -- Friday, May 4.

There has been no decision on where his final resting place will be. 

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