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HORSE RACING

Be A Bono Picked as Champion

January 20, 2005|Bill Christine | Times Staff Writer

Be A Bono, second in the Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos, was first in close voting for quarter horse racing's world champion, giving his 93-year-old owner, Spencer Childers, the sport's highest honor.

Be A Bono, a 3-year-old gelding who was also bred by Childers, outpointed Ocean Runaway, a 2-year-old colt, and the mare Mongoose Jet Eye in a vote that was announced Wednesday night in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Cash For Kas, a 21-1 shot who beat Be A Bono by a nose in the Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos on Dec. 11, won the trophy for best 3-year-old filly in 2004.

Be A Bono, trained by Dan Francisco, won four of six starts and earned $490,000. G.R. Carter Jr., who rode Be A Bono in all of his races last year, was voted champion jockey for the fourth time and the second straight year. Carter's mounts earned $3.49 million and he won 19 stakes, 10 of them Grade I races.

"I feel so fortunate," said Childers, a retired manufacturer of vending machines from Fresno who has been racing quarter horses for more than 50 years. Be A Bono made his debut in April 2003 at Los Alamitos.

Be A Bono's career has been interrupted by surgery for a knee chip in 2003 and a throat operation last year.

Be A Bono won two other titles -- best 3-year-old gelding and best 3-year-old. Ocean Runaway was voted best 2-year-old colt and best 2-year-old. Mongoose Jet Eye finished first in the aged-horse and aged-mare divisions.

Owner-breeder Bobby Cox had a big night. His Brimmerton was voted best 3-year-old colt, Run And Pray won the distance-horse title and Cox, who was named top owner, also won the broodmare award with Fitting Celebration, who produced Brimmerton.

Paul Jones, whose horses earned $5.3 million as the barn won a record 283 races, was voted top trainer for the third straight year. Dan Lucas, who bred Cash For Kas and Ocean Runaway, was voted best breeder.

Other champions were Catchmeinyourdreams, aged gelding; Hardly Hateful, 2-year-old filly; DM Shicago, 2-year-old gelding; Buccaneer Beach, aged stallion; and A Special Martini, Canadian horse.

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