Pete Branch, Tara Gaines lead first night of World Finals

Ms Peppy Cat, the 2008 NCHA Open World Champion ridden by Pete Branch for Lonnie and Barbara Allsup, marked 229 Friday night to extend her lead in the 2010 standings at the Mercuria Energy NCHA World Finals in the Watt Arena. The High Brow Cat mare has $85,841 for the year, more than $44,000 ahead of her nearest rival.

Tara Gaines and Patrick La Dual marked 227 to move ahead of seven-time World Champion Mary Jo Milner in the Non-Pro standings. Patrick La Dual is a 9-year-old son of CD Olena.

The Mercuria NCHA World Finals continue Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. in the Watt Arena in Fort Worth, bringing the top 15 Open horses and Non-Pro riders together in a crowd-pleasing format. Admission is free.