08/01/2014 7:21PM

Scratch makes Carve favorite in Governor's

Barbara D. Livingston
Carve may turn out to be the controlling speed in the Governor's.

The complexion of the $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s Stakes changed drastically Friday evening when it was learned that heavy favorite Moonshine Mullin would have to scratch from the race with "a bit of an issue," according to his trainer, Randy Morse.

Moonshine Mullin was expected to be on the lead in the Governor's. That task will now fall to Carve, who also becomes the likely favorite in the 1 1/16-mile Governor's, and Outbacker, who won a second-level optional claimer at Mountaineer in his last start.

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

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. Carve is coming off a win in the Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows in his last start. That race was contested over a sloppy track.

:: West Virginia Derby: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live

** Two starts back, Carve drew off to win a third-level optional-claiming race at Churchill. In the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap in April, he finished third, beaten only 1 1/2 lengths by Will Take Charge.

** Jockey Jesus Castanon will have to decide whether to put Carve on the lead or track Outbacker early.

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

** 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. Oddly, he is yet to win a stakes despite having earned more than $667,000.

** Trainer Tom Amoss sent him to Belmont Park for the Grade 2 Suburban last time out, where he finished sixth of 11. He faces easier company here but the lack of speed in this race may work against him.

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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.