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Be A Bono  |  Quarter Horse Gelding

Be a Bono made his mark on racing with tenacious consistency, a flair for the dramatic, and a legendary breeder/owner.

A true homebred, Be A Bono was the result of a decades-long breeding program undertaken by Spencer Childers, a breeder and owner of Quarter Horses for more than 50 years.

All 9 of his Stakes wins came against top-notch competition in Grade 1 races.

Be a Bono won the first seven races of his career, including a record-breaking win in the Golden State Futurity.

He was never the quickest horse out of the gate, but once he got going, he was relentless and nearly impossible to pass. Because he rarely won by a margin greater than a head, those who bet him to win called Bono “a heart attack waiting to happen.”

“Be A Bono prefers to make things interesting and exciting.
I guess he'd rather win by a nose or a head. We'll take it either way”.
Trainer, Dan Francisco 

Spencer Childers was thrilled when his homebred won a race named in his honor. He was humbled when Be a Bono did it again the next year, and the next-- winning the Spencer Childs California Breeder’s Championship three years in a row.

At the end of his three-year-old season, Bono finished second in the Champion of Champions. He repeated that performance in 2006. Both losses were by a tiny margin­­--less than a nose.

As a 3-year-old, Be a Bono was named World Champion Racing American Quarter Horse.

Be a Bono made an impact off the track, as well. He became the first racehorse to receive stem cell therapy to treat a joint problem. That experimental treatment, (placing stem cells in his knee to repair damage caused by bone chips) was a success.

He returned to racing in 2006 and won the Vessels Maturity for the second time, as well as the Go Man Go Handicap.

Post-surgery, his final 220-yard times were among the fastest ever recorded at Los Alamitos Race Track.

Be a Bono was retired from racing in 2007 and joined the Hall of Champions in 2009.


  • Be a Bono was the first World Champion for his 96-year-old owner/breeder Spencer Childs.
  • His Hall of Fame jockey, G.R. Carter, was famous for his acrobatic dismount. You can see him perform that maneuver 
  • Racing American Quarter Horses are a far cry from the Quarter Horses you may remember from TV westerns and movies. Many have a significant amount of Thoroughbred influence in their pedigrees.

Notable Wins

2003: Golden State Futurity (G1)
2004: Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1)
2004, 2005, 2006: Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship (RG1)
2005, 2006: Vessels Maturity (G1) 
2006: Go Man Go Handicap (G1)

Be a Bono Facts

PEDIGREE / Bono Jazz – Be Peacefull

FOALED: 2001 | RETIRED: 2007 

DIED: April 2021 at the Kentucky Horse Park



ATTRIBUTES / Sorrel Gelding

2004 World Champion
AQHA Register of Merit

EARNINGS / $1.3 million (19th richest)

RECORD / 26 starts, 14-4-1

HEIGHT / 16.2 hands

TRAINER / Dan Francisco

BREEDER / Spencer Childers

JOCKEY / G.R. Carter