Only The Best Romps in Sunny Slopes

Only The Best popped out of the gate and improved his position in Saturday's $96,600 Sunny Slope Stakes at Oak Tree at Santa Anita, rolling to a two-length victory under Patrick Valenzuela.

A California-bred gelded son of Smokester owned by Alvin E. Toffel and trained by Brian Lynch, Only The Best covered six furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.12 under 119 pounds and paid $10.20 to win as the third choice.

It was the first Oak Tree stakes win for the 38-year-old Lynch and the fourth of the meet for Valenzuela. He leads all riders in that category.

Only The Best broke like a rocket from his outside post position in the field of nine 2-year-olds, opened a 4 1/2-length lead after a half-mile, led by 3 1/2 lengths into the stretch, and held on though tiring slightly after setting fractions of :21.16, :43.84 and :56.21.

Domestic Dispute rallied for second but was no threat to the winner. Roll Hennessy Roll was third, a half-length behind Domestic Dispute.

Spensive, the 5-2 favorite, finished fourth, a half-length behind Roll Hennessy Roll. Hell Cat, Red Apache, Desert Boom, Taliano and Knightsbridge Road completed the order of finish.

"Our plan wasn't really to be on the lead, but he broke so good that I just took advantage of the situation," Valenzuela said. "He set some fast fractions, for sure, but he finished well, as well."

Only The Best earned $63,360 for his third victory from five starts.

Shezsofoxy's seventh-race win at 25-1 was the primary contributor to a healthy Pick Six carryover of $142,856.41 to Sunday's nine-race program at Oak Tree. The Pick Six has carried over six times in 15 days at the meeting.

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