Updated on 09/17/2011 2:18PM

Speightstown ties 32-year-old record

Speightstown wins the $200,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga on Saturday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Speightstown made his bid for title of best sprinter on the East Coast - if not in the country - with a scintillating victory in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 at Saratoga.

After dueling through four furlongs in 44.40 seconds inside of Mike's Classic, Speightstown, under John Velazquez, began to pull away in upper stretch and had more than enough to fend off a late run from Clock Stopper to win the Vanderbilt by 1 1/2 lengths. Clock Stopper outkicked Gators N Bears by 1 1/2 lengths to get second. Mike's Classic finished fourth, followed by Gold Dollar and My Cousin Matt.

Speightstown, a 6-year-old son of Gone West, covered the six furlongs in 1:08.04 over a fast track, setting a stakes record and equaling the track record set by Spanish Riddle set in 1972. Speightstown, owned by Eugene and Laura Melnyk and trained by Todd Pletcher, is now 4 for 4 this year, including a win in the True North Handicap in the exact same time of 1:08.04.

"This horse has been perfect this year," Pletcher said. "You can see him when he turns for home he's wanting it, and that's after flying early. When you start talking about equaling or breaking track records here it's pretty serious stuff. He's so good right now, it's scary."

Speightstown got off a little slowly, and brushed the side of the gate. But he was soon on equal footing with Mike's Classic before putting that one away at the three-sixteenths pole. Speightstown returned $3.80 as the 9-10 favorite.

"He looked like he was in hand but you know they were rolling right along," Pletcher said. "Forty-four- and-two is pretty fast enough; I felt comfortable he was doing it the right way. When he asked him turning for home, he had another gear."

Pletcher is pointing Strong Hope to the Grade 1 Forego Handicap here on Sept. 4. Since Strong Hope is also owned by the Melnyks, Speightstown will not run in the Forego. Pletcher said he would point Speightstown to either the Grade 1 Vosburgh at Belmont on Oct. 2 or simply train him up to the Breeders' Cup Sprint on Oct. 30 at Lone Star Park.