10/30/2017 1:16PM

McCowan begins with a bang

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There’s a truism in mythical contest play: A price early is worth more than a price late. This is closely related to the importance of moving up the leaderboard alone. When it’s late in a contest, players low down on the leaderboard are forced to play horses not because they like them, but simply because they’re the price they need to reach contention. If you’re playing a longshot in the first contest race, you must actually like the animal’s chances, at least relative to the price on the board.

That was the case for Kenneth McCowan on Saturday. McCowan kicked off the Grade 1 qualifier for the World Championship of Handicapping with a play on Andina Del Sur, a well-bred 2-year-old filly routing on the turf for Tom Albertrani. She won easily under Joel Rosario, returning $49 to win and $17.60 to place. That win total was limited to 20-1 for contest purposes under the odds cap, but the $59.60 McCowan received kick-started his day on DRF Tournaments. In Keeneland’s sixth he delivered the knockout blow with another $30.80 win-place combined courtesy of Blue Collar. All in all, he had six collections and a total of $114, much the best in a field of 18. McCowan now takes his $5,000 spot in the finals of the World Championship of Handicapping, the $1 million, no-takeout, online tournament.

This week will offer players several more opportunities to start the qualifying process for the WCH. There will be $95 Round 1 feeders every day which will advance one in seven entries to Saturday’s Grade 1 qualifier. Players also have the option of buying in directly to the Grade 1, which costs $580 and will allow one in 10 entries to win their $5,000 buy-ins to the WCH finals.

Contest action this week will hit a crescendo with the Breeders’ Cup on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s contests will include last chance feeders to all three of Saturday’s featured games: the next Grade 1 for the WCH, the last chance qualifier for the Del Mar Fall Challenge, and the qualifier for the upcoming Aqueduct Challenge.

For more information, go to tournaments.drf.com.