Tucked away on Gardner Road in Binghamton, just south of the Ross Park Zoo, is Whispering Pines Pet Cemetary, the final resting place of a Hall of Fame Racehorse.

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Born on May 30, 1915, at Almahurst Farm near Lexington, Kentucky, a horse named 'Exterminator' would get his first taste of racing only two years after his birth when he was entered into a race at the Latonia Race Track and won.

By 1918, Exterminator had won the Saratoga Cup, the Pimlico Cup, and unbelievably, the Kentucky Derby. Willie Knapp, a Hall of Fame Jockey thought highly of Exterminator saying,  "When he was at his best, Exterminator could have beaten Man o' War or Citation or Kelso or any other horse that ever lived on any track doing anything."

During his career, Exterminator would go on to compete in 99 races, winning 50 of them, and taking either second or third place in 17 of the races. From 1920 to 1922, Exterminator was named US Champion Older Horse and in 1922, was crowned with the title of US Horse of the Year. In 1957, Exterminator was inducted into the US National Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Exterminator also carries the distinction of holding the 29th spot on the Top 100 US Racehorses of the 20th Century.

Exterminator retired from racing at the age of nine in 1924 and from that year until 1940, he lived in a private barn in Virginia. When his owner, Willis Sharpe Kilmer, a newspaperman, entrepreneur, and horse breeder passed away, Exterminator was moved to Binghamton where his owner once owned stables.

Bill Urbanski via Whispering Pines Facebook
Bill Urbanski via Whispering Pines Facebook

If the name Kilmer sounds familiar, it should because the Kilmer family has a long and prestigious place in the history of Binghamton. The Kilmer mansion on Riverside Drive still stands, and it was Willis Kilmer who constructed the twelve-story Press Building in downtown Binghamton.

Kilmer also owned a personal yacht, which he called 'Remlik' (which was simply his last name spelled backward). The Remlik was purchased by the United States Navy during World War I and converted into the USS Remlik. Today, Remlik's Grille and Oyster Bar is located in the old Kilmer building on Lewis Street in Binghamton.

After the death of Kilmer in 1940, Exterminator lived in Binghamton until his own death at the age of 30 on September 26, 1945. Today, Exterminator's gravestone is located in the old La France Pet Cemetery, now known as Whispering Pines.

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