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Summer reading: 'Here Comes Exterminator!'

Summer reading: 'Here Comes Exterminator!'
New book, "Here Comes Exterminator!"

OK, it's not high school sports, which I usually cover, but it's summer time and I had a chance to do some reading, and one book I'd recommend if you like horse racing and American history is entitled, "Here Comes Exterminator!"

Written by Eliza McGraw, it's a fascinating look at a gelding who stood more than 16 hands tall and won the 1918 Kentucky Derby at odds of 30-1. Exterminator became one of America's best distance horses during the era of World War I.

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It was a time horses were used by the thousands in the military and were beloved. In the same way that the great race horse Seabiscut inspired fans, Exterminator gained his own strong following.

He ran 99 times and won 20 races when he carried weight of 130 or more pounds, unheard of in today's thoroughbred racing.

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Exterminator ran at a time when Man o' War and Sir Barton were also running, though he never faced Man o' War.

McGraw provides an intriguing look and history lesson at what was happening in America and in Europe after World War I, with thorougbred racing and horse breeding in America starting to pick up respect. Names are mentioned that help explain how race tracks became known at Santa Anita and Belmont Park.

It's a great read if you like horse racing and want to learn what life was like in the early 1900s, when newspapers were king, people named Vanderbilt, Hancock and Belmont were famous owners and horses were big news.

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