07/31/2014 12:43PM

Moonshine Mullin brings five-race win streak into West Virginia Governor's Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Moonshine Mullin (right), the winner of the Alysheba Stakes, is riding high on a five-race winning streak heading into Saturday's West Virginia Governor's Stakes at Mountaineer on the West Virginia Derby undercard.

The top supporting stakes on the West Virginia Derby undercard is the $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race that has drawn Moonshine Mullin, who at age 6 has forced his way into the upper echelon of older runners with back-to-back wins in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes and the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs.

The Governor’s is the first leg of a pick three that continues with the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby and the $100,000 West Viriginia House of Delegates Speaker’s Cup, a turf race for fillies and mares.

Key contenders

Moonshine Mullin (Last 3 Beyers: 101-100-108)

** A $40,000 claim by trainer Randy Morse last fall at Remington Park, Moonshine Mullin brings a five-race win streak into the Governor’s, capped by his 10-1 upset win in the Foster seven weeks ago.

** Moonshine Mullin improved dramatically when Morse instructed jockey Cliff Berry to stop rating him at Oaklawn Park.

“I told Cliff to just let him run. Don’t try to take him back,” Morse said. “He can run all day. He’s just kind of a grinder. He’s got a high cruising speed.”

Moonshine Mullin hasn't lost since.

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** The Foster is a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In, and Moonshine Mullin now has a fees-paid berth into the BC Classic. With a fall campaign in mind, Morse has freshened Moonshine Mullin since the Foster and decided to send him to the Governor’s rather than a more ambitious spot such as Saturday’s Whitney at Saratoga.

** Calvin Borel, who has been aboard for Moonshine Mullin’s last three wins, will be in to ride.

Carve (Last 3 Beyers: 95-95-73)

** Has won 3 of 5 starts since being transferred to trainer Brad Cox after his 3-year-old season.

** Two starts back, Carve drew off to win a third-level optional-claiming race at Churchill. In his most recent start, June 28, he overcame a very sloppy track at Prairie Meadows to win the Grade 3 Cornhusker Handicap.

** Carve does his best running from just off the pace, and jockey Jesus Castanon must make sure not to let Moonshine Mullin get too far away early.

Mylute (Last 3 Beyers: 90-94-90)

** Has been beaten by Moonshine Mullin in two of his last three starts. Trainer Tom Amoss sent him to Belmont Park for the Grade 2 Suburban last time out, where he finished sixth of 11.

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** A late runner, Mylute has a lot of back class. He finished third in the Preakness last year and missed by only a neck to Revolutionary in the Louisiana Derby.

Falling Sky (Last 3 Beyers: 95-72-75)

** Falling Sky is cross-entered in the Grade 1 Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga on Saturday and is expected to run there for trainer George Weaver. If Falling Sky opts for the Governor’s, he is a top contender based on his win June 21 in the seven-furlong LeVine Memorial at Parx.