Jockey Eddie Delahoussaye found daylight between horses late in the stretch and guided Sylvan Express through the opening and to a head victory over Carload in the $81,850 El Conejo Handicap in front of a crowd of 33,057 at Santa Anita.
High Brite finished another neck behind in a tightly packed group at the finish.
Sylvan Express, a 5-year-old Irish-bred runner who was a stakes winner in Europe last year, carried 119 pounds and covered the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03 4/5.
Owned by Mrs. R.A. Johnson, Sylvan Express paid $9.20, $3.60 and $2.80 as he won for the ninth time in 30 starts.
Carload, ridden by Chris McCarron and carrying 117, paid $3.20 and $2.40. High Brite, carrying 120 and ridden by Gary Stevens, paid $3.20 to show.
Faro set the early pace but faded to finish fourth. The win was one of three on the day for Delahoussaye, who also was aboard Definite Signs ($12.60) in the third, and Y'Amor ($33) in the fourth.