With Calvin Borel riding for owner and breeder Clovertowne Farm and trainer Tim Glyshaw, Taptowne survived an inquiry to defeat four other foes in the 1 1/16-mile event. It was his second victory of the year from seven starts, including a second in the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) behind Cyber Secret.
A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Tapit out of the Valid Wager mare Holly’s Wager, Taptowne showed his customary speed and sat second behind front-running Whatthecatdrugin through fractions of :23.67 for the first quarter-mile, :46.74 for the half-mile, and 1:10.48 for six furlongs.
Taptowne engaged Whatthecatdrugin nearing the stretch and, in the process of moving toward the rail, crowded him briefly. Taptowne then drew away to win by two lengths, though Whatthecatdrugin regrouped to narrow the margin late under Alan Garcia.
The final time was 1:44.90 after a mile in 1:37.44 on a fast track.
Taptowne paid $4.40 to win as the 6-5 favorite and topped a $37.40 exacta. Mordi's Miracle rallied mildly for third.
"Timing-wise this race seemed like a good fit," Glyshaw said. "We looked at this race and the Evangeline Mile, but it's hot down there and he'd have to ship further.
"It looked like this race would set up differently. He's actually a closer but he has been on or near the lead because in a lot of his races, there hasn't been much speed," he added.
"He tries every time, and even in the races he has lost, he had good (speed figures). He's probably a cut below the top handicapping runners, but these races are his gig."
Bob and Rita Santanello, partners in Taptowne, were on hand at Mountaineer. Bob Santanello said they sold their farm in Illinois and moved operations to Kentucky.
"He's graded-placed, and we couldn't be happier with him or Tim," Santanello said.
Taptowne now has six wins, five seconds, and three thirds in 26 starts. The $126,000 first-place check in the Governor's Stakes pushed his career earnings to $511,183.
Whatthecatdrugin, a 6-year-old Cat Thief gelding, has proved a sharp claim for trainer Tevis McCauley, who owns him with Unlimited Equine and JBL Thoroughbreds. Whatthecatdrugin was claimed for $40,000 at Keeneland in April and since then has three wins and three seconds in six starts; the Governor’s Cup was his first in stakes company.