Home Town Hero

Saturday is the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby. This year the Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports will be the quietest Derby in history.

Thanks to covid-19 there will be no spectators on the grounds at fabled Churchill Downs when the horses turn for home and the track announcer bellows- AND DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME!

But the Daily Racing Blog wants to make a little noise about 1918 Kentucky Derby Winner EXTERMINATOR. He was the 30-1, long-shot Winner of the Derby 102 years ago.

EXTERMINATOR was owned by Willis Sharpe Kilmer of Binghamton, who gained his wealth and notoriety selling Swamp Root, a magic elixir said to cure almost anything that could ail one back then. 

People would ask Kilmer, what was Swamp Root good for?  He would reply; “A couple million a year.”  This cure-all contained all natural ingredients…as well as 9% alcohol.  WHEW!  Kentucky bourbon perhaps?

It was the stablemate of EXTERMINATOR, a colt named SUN BRIAR that was supposed to be Kilmer’s Kentucky Derby horse that year, but due to health and training issues he was scratched from running. 

Kilmer instead entered Old Bones to run on that muddy track in Kentucky all those years ago, and the rest is thoroughbred legend.

No one trick pony was EXTERMINATOR, as he went on to have a great career.  He had 99 career starts with 50 Wins, 17 second, and 17 third place finishes, amassing over a quarter of a million dollars in earnings- which back then was a lot of hay !

EXTERMINATOR passed away on September 26th, 1945 at thirty years of age.  He died in his stall at Sun Briar Court Stables which were somewhere along Riverside Drive on the west-side of Binghamton.

Bones, along with his stablemates SUN BRIAR, and SUNTICA are buried at Whispering Pines Cemetery off of Gardner Road in the Town of Binghamton.

It is at this grave-site where many a local Derby fan gather before the Run For The Roses to pay tribute, and to toast the great horse with their own magic elixirs and hope for a bit of divine, equine, foreshadowing as to who the upset Winner might be on any given year.

The Daily Racing Blog will begin to take a look at the field for this years Derby on Wednesday. So be sure to stop back.

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