November 3, 2009 — American Quarter Horse Racing World Champion Be A Bono has moved to the Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions.
Be A Bono earned American Quarter Horse racing’s top honor when he was named the World Champion of 2004. He also earned champion 3-year-old and champion 3-year-old gelding honors for 2004.
Owned and bred by the late Spencer Childers of Fresno, Calif., the sorrel gelding was trained by Dan Francisco. Be A Bono was foaled February 22, 2001, and retired from racing as a 7-year-old. A true homebred, Be A Bono was the result of Childers’ breeding program that has spanned more than six decades. The gelding was sired by Childers’ homebred Bono Jazz and out of his homebred Be Peacefull, a Raise A Secret mare who has produced two stakes winners and a stakes-placed runner.
“AQHA is proud to have a true World Champion join the Kentucky Horse Park Hall of Champions,” said AQHA Executive Vice President Don Treadway Jr. “As American Quarter Horses compete at the 2010 World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park, Be A Bono will be a great ambassador for the breed. I’d like to thank Vince Genco for making Be A Bono’s transfer to Kentucky possible.”
Be A Bono is the first world champion sired by Bono Jazz. The blaze-faced gelding finished his career with 14 wins in 26 starts and earned more than $1.3 million. In his final start, Be A Bono finished in a deadheat for the win in an allowance race December 22, 2007, and left the sport as the 19th-richest American Quarter Horse of all time.
Be A Bono is the only horse to finish second twice in the Champion of Champions–losing both races by a nose. Childers’ homebred won the first seven races of his career. His big victories included consecutive renewals of the Vessels Maturity (G1), the Golden State Futurity (G1), the Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1), the Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1) and three consecutive wins in the race named after his owner-breeder–the Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship Handicap (RG1).
Childers, who owned American Quarter Horses before AQHA was founded in 1940 and has bred American Quarter Horses every year since 1949, died July 9, 2009, at age 97.
A longtime resident of Fresno, Calif., where he and his late wife, Florence, maintained their breeding farm, Childers was the fifth-all-time leading breeder of racing American Quarter Horses at the time of his death. Childers began breeding racehorses with his purchase in 1957 of champion Black Easter Bunny. In his own name, Childers bred 901 American Quarter Horses, including 657 starters, of which 462 are winners. Among them are 46 stakes winners, 37 stakes placers and the earners to date of $12,077,087. In addition to Be A Bono, Childers bred and raced champions Black Sable, Blobby Charger, Bunny’s Bar Maid, Jet View and Uncas. He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2002.
Be A Bono will become part of an elite group of champion horses that reside at the park’s Hall of Champions. Be A Bono joins Thoroughbred legends Cigar, Funny Cide and Da Hoss; champion American Saddlebred CH Gypsy Supreme; and Standardbred Pacers Western Dreamer and Staying Together.