08/04/2012 5:48PM

Mountaineer: Tapizar all the way in West Virginia Governor's

Coady Photography @ Mountaineer
Tapizar, with Corey Nakatani riding, wraps up victory in the West Virginia Governor's.

CHESTER, W.Va. - Tapizar finished full of run Saturday after leading throughout and turning back a brief upper-stretch bid from Seruni to capture the $200,000 West Virginia Governor's Stakes, the richest supporting race on the West Virginia Derby program at Mountaineer Park.

Ridden by Corey Nakatani, Tapizar returned $3.40 as the heavy favorite in a field of six older horses in the Governor's. A 4-year-old colt by Tapit, he was making his first start in nearly five months. He finished the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:42.57 over a fast track.

"Tapizar is a special animal," said Nakatani. "He's a big strong horse. We ended up getting a little pressure from [Seruni], but when I called on him in the stretch he really laid it out and ran a big race."

Headache rallied from far back to finish second, 4 1/2 lengths behind the winner and another half-length before Seruni. Then came Colizeo, Parody, and Populist Politics. Chilled and Ponzi Scheme were early scratches.

Steve Asmussen, who trains Tapizar for the Winchell Thoroughbreds, said before the Governor's that he had no particular next race in mind for Tapizar, but given the way the colt dominated, it would not be surprising to see him surface in a graded race in the older-horse division. Tapizar was fifth last fall in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile before easily winning the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes at Santa Anita in his first start at 4. He was prepping for the Oaklawn Handicap in early April when he suffered a minor injury that led to a layoff that ended Saturday with his decisive score.

In earlier Saturday races at Mountaineer:

** $100,000 W.Va. Senate President's Cup Handicap: Frontside ($6.40) immediately went to the front under Leandro Goncalves in a dominating 3 1/4-length triumph, finishing the mile and 70-yard distance in a stakes- and course-record 1:37.29 over a firm turf. Eduardo Caramori trains Frontside, a 4-year-old War Front filly, at the Thoroughbred training center in Lexington, Ky., for owner Town and Country Farms. Counterparty was second in a field of 11 fillies and mares.

** $100,000 Sen. Robert C. Byrd Memorial Handicap: Guam Typhoon ($4.80), ridden by Daniel Centeno, held off 13-1 shot St. Maximus Gato to notch his seventh straight victory in this  six-furlong race. After racing Delaunay into defeat, Guam Typhoon lasted by a neck in the field of eight older horses, finishing in a swift 1:08.59. The 6-year-old gelding won twice for former connections before being claimed by trainer Jamie Ness on behalf of Midwest Thoroughbreds, the leading owner in North America since 2010, and has won five in a row since.