Exterminator
Extraordinary Photo File

 

g. 1915 __ McGee - Fair Empress, by Jim Gore

April 21, 1923: 
Eight-year-old Exterminator won his 34th stakes victory, the
Philadelphia Handicap at Havre de Grace, setting an American record.

Perhaps the greatest equine Cinderella story 
in American history. 
The 1918 Kentucky Derby was the ungainly gelding's three-year-old debut, and in fifteen starts that year he was out of the money only once. Racing on through the age of nine,
 he became a great popular favorite despite his appearance ie 
called high in bone and low in flesh.

 

 

 
 

Extraordinary Picture 
From the personal collection of Bill Miller

The huge (16.3) angular running machine,
 affectionately dubbed Old Bones by the public,
started exactly 100 times. He won 50 races, was second in 17, third in 17, and unplaced in only 16 for earnings of $252,996.

Nothing bothered him
except possibly the absence of his mascot,
a pony named Peanuts.

He won at 16 different race tracks in three different countries at distances ranging from 5 1/2 furlongs to 2 1/4 miles under weights up to 138 pounds.

He was especially formidable over long routes.
 He won the 1 3/4- mile Saratoga Cup four times in succession, setting a record of 2:58 which he lowered himself to 2:56 2/5, after which he was conceded a walkover the following season.
He won the 2 1/4-mile Pimlico Cup three times in a row and set a record of 3:53 in that one.
He won the  2-mile Autumn Gold Cup at Belmont Park twice and his time of 3:21 4/5 for that distance was and American record.

Exterminator was leading money winner
of the handicap division --in which a horse is penalized for winning by being assigned higher weights in subsequent races --
four straight seasons. This an attainment that defies the imagination, even with the records staring one in the face today. During his long career, Bones was trained by nine different men and won for all of them.

In the book, Boots and Saddles, J. K. M. Ross,
whose father's stable raced against Exterminator frequently, made the observation: "I cannot believe that Exterminator's prowess and consistency in distance racing
(ie., over 1 1/2-miles) will ever be surpassed."

The late Grantland Rice
did not qualify his admiration for the great gelding: he considered him a better all-around performer than Man o' War.

My sincere thanks to
The History of Thoroughbred Racing in America
for permission to excerpt this story that those new to the sport of racing may also re-live the moment.

Editor's Note:
Exterminator and I would like to share a delightful letter with you.
Click here . . .