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25 hp Briggs with issues

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A man left a mower with a 445777 0134-e1 25 hp vertical Briggs engine with me late yesterday. It will start just fine with no sign of a problem until you give it more than half throttle. At that point you get a puff of blue smoke and one cylinder starts missing and the exhaust shows to be rich with fuel. If you increase the throttle slowly you can almost get around all the above but even then, when put under a good load like high grass etc one cylinder starts to break down. I have a few ideas about what may be the problem but thought I'd ask here before digging into it. Anyone have any ideas ? Thanks

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Thank you BLT for your input. This was something new for me. There was no stain from blow (in lifter channels etc) by that I could find but then the owner had just changed oil and added a little "Sea Foam" so that maybe adds up. But when I pulled the heads the gaskets were not damaged and this worried me until I checked the heads for warp. Both were. I have yet to understand how the gaskets had held up. But then it was only leaking under heavy load or at WOT and the owner had cut back to half throttle as soon as it started. Anyway, Thanks for your help. Please see the follow up question in Show and Tell.

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