Caleb Anderson
Caleb Anderson with Leave N Las Vegas.
So far this week, it has been the best of both worlds for Caleb Anderson.

The 17-year-old high school junior from Fort Worth is one of the Top 15 contenders in the NCHA Non-Pro World Finals, on Thursday and Saturday.

He also leads all NCHA Futurity Non-Pros in the first go-round with 221 points. The score is the highest so far from all Open and Non-Pro go-rounds, tying that of Wiley Cat and Dirk Blakesley in Open competition.

“I knew I was on a good horse and I just wanted to get him shown and through the run as clean as I could,” said Anderson of Leave N Las Vegas, a full brother, by Smart Mate, to his World Finals mount, CA Las Vegas Lights.

“It’s fun to get to ride the ‘old man’ and the young one. This one (Leave N Las Vegas) doesn’t get himself into as much trouble as the other one. The other one is harder to ride at times. You have to manage him, but he has a little more cow.”

Leave N Las Vegas, by Smart Mate, was bred by Caleb’s father, Steve Anderson, who has consigned his dam, Real Plain Jane, by Real Doc, to the NCHA Futurity Preferred Breeders Sale on December 9.

Oh Miss Peacock

Family also factors into Patrick Collins’  success on Oh Miss Peacock, with 219 points, the leading contender going into the Non-Pro Limited Semi-Finals, and a full sister to 2006 NCHA Futurity Open and Amateur champion Oh Cay Felix.

“This is her fourth go here,” noted Collins, after he scored 218.5 points yesterday, in the Non-Pro first go-round, on the High Brow Cat daughter out of Oh Cay Shorty.  

Craig Thompson, who showed Oh Cay Felix to his NCHA Futurity win, also trained Oh Miss Peacock and rode her in the Open, only to be taken out of competition by a runaway cow in the last seconds of the second go-round run.

“She’s more sweepy and smooth than Felix, but not quiet as intent,” said Collins. “But she’s real level and low maintenance, You just sit for that stop and then ask her to head the cow.

“Felix had a big motor and you had to ride him down. She’s the female version of Felix — smart on a cow, but easier to ride.”

Miller tops on two

Megan Miller, new mother of Emery, born in September, was back in form this week with two high-scoring mounts: Jesse Woodson James, with 217.5 points, and Moonstruck Player, with 216.5.

“It’s been fun getting back in the saddle,” said Miller, who showed 2009 NCHA Non-Pro Horse of the Year Itawathenapuddycat, by Athena Puddy Cat.

Megan’s husband, trainer Matt Miller, re-named Jesse Woodson James, after the Miller’s purchased him as a yearling from Lannie Mecom.

“His nickname in the pasture was Outlaw, so we changed his registered name,” said Megan, who showed the Hickorys Indian Pep gelding’s dam, Colonels Smart Gal, to win the 2002 NCHA Classic Challenge Amateur champions and capture reserve in the 2002 NCHA Super Stakes Classic Amateur.

“Lannie bought that mare from my mom (Robin Merrill),” said Miller. “We bought him because I loved his mom — I feel I have a connection with him because of her.”

Moonstruck Player, by Lizzys Gotta Player, also hits a strong chord with Miller, who showed his dam, Carolena Moon, by Peptoboonsmal, as 2003 NCHA Super Stakes Non-Pro Limited reserve champion.