The Daily Racing Blog would be remiss if it didn’t wish a Happy (belated) Birthday to Binghamton’s own Kentucky Derby Winner EXTERMINATOR.

Old Bones (a nickname attributed to his rather bony appearance) was born on May 30th, 1915.

It was 104 years ago that EXTERMINATOR brought Kentucky Derby glory back to his home town as a 30-1 upset Winner in the Run For The Roses.

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 ailed you back in the day.

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 Binghamton Derby fan gather before the Run For The Roses to pay tribute, toast the great horse with their own magic elixirs and hope for a bit of divine, equine, insight as to who the upset Winner might be on any given year.

So for all the smiles and good cheer you still bring to us all these years later- Happy, Heaven sent Birthday Bonesy.

One thought on “Happy Birthday EXTERMINATOR

  1. Living on Mill street as a youngster, I hiked that area and visited that gravesite many times. I find this story and explanation fascinating and useful. A piece of history. Thank you.


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