07/30/2015 10:26AM

Page McKenney brings consistency to West Virginia Governor's

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Page McKenney wins the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes in March at Laurel Park.

Mountaineer should provide perfect neutral ground when older horses from Kentucky ship in Saturday to face counterparts from the Eastern seaboard in the $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s Stakes.

Commanding Curve, Carve, and Majestic Harbor are the Kentucky representatives among a field of 12 entered for the 1 1/16-mile Governor’s, while Page McKenney (Maryland), Edge of Reality (Maryland), Albano (Delaware), and Grasshoppin (Pennsylvania) will carry the banner from the Mid-Atlantic.

Commanding Curve is perhaps the most notable name in the field because of his runner-up finish behind California Chrome in the 2014 Kentucky Derby. But Page McKenney, second to Commissioner in the Pimlico Special in May, is the apparent horse to beat as the 3-1 morning-line favorite in what shapes up as a very deep lineup.

Based at Pimlico with Mary Eppler, Page McKenney is fast approaching the $750,000 earnings mark after having been claimed for a mere $16,000 in July 2013. The 5-year-old gelding has been ultra-consistent with his stalking style, having finished third or better in each of his last 16 starts, the last 11 coming in stakes.

The Governor’s directly precedes the West Virginia Derby as the seventh of nine Saturday races, with post time set for 4:30 p.m. Eastern.

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KEY CONTENDERS

Page McKenney (Last 3 Beyers: 96-98-98)

◗ This spectacular claim has become a remarkably steady player in stakes at a wide variety of venues, having earned Beyer Speed Figures between 93 and 98 in his last nine starts.

◗ He gets regular rider Horacio Karamanos back aboard in trying to summon up yet another big one.

Commanding Curve (Last 3 Beyers: 81-86-86)

◗ This late-running ridgling didn’t beat much when dipping into the allowance ranks at his Churchill Downs base in late May, but that was just the confidence-booster his connections were seeking; he shows excellent works in the interim.

Carve (Last 3 Beyers: 87-94-103)

◗ This extremely useful gelding comes well drawn in post 2 with veteran Jon Court and is likely to lurk as a factor from the opening bell; he has racked up more than $700,000 in earnings since January 2014, a telltale statistic as to his class.

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Edge of Reality (Last 3 Beyers: 99-72-81)

◗ This Pennsylvania-bred homebred broke loose with a career-high Beyer (99) in winning an overnight stakes at Parx in his latest appearance for the ever-dangerous Graham Motion; matches up on his best.

Albano (Last 3 Beyers: 70-89-98)

◗ This graded stakes winner and earner of nearly $700,000 has been sparingly raced in recent months but shows a terrific work tab at Delaware Park for Larry Jones; can expect him among the forward flight.

Majestic Harbor (Last 3 Beyers: 89-71-91)

◗ The lone Grade 1 winner (2014 Gold Cup at Santa Anita) in the lineup draws favorably on the rail while uniting once again with Corey Lanerie, who guided him to back-to-back victories in April on their home circuit.

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