11/08/2003 1:00AM

Coconut Mango acts up, wins


Coconut Mango was the fairest of them all in the $50,000 Cal Cup Starter Sprint Handicap, but he did not like the mirror on the wall. Just as he approached the finish of the six-furlong race, the outcome no longer in doubt, Coconut Mango leaped awkwardly over a reflection from the photo finish mirror, but jockey Julie Krone never came out of her irons.

Coconut Mango ($12.80) got a perfect stalking trip. He settled just off of the fleet pacesetter, Love That Lion, took over a furlong out, then drew away to win by three lengths in 1:09.34 for six furlongs. Raise Expectations got up for second, with Love That Lion fading to third. Forward March, the 7-5 favorite, was fifth in the field of seven.

Mike Marlow trains Coconut Mango for a partnership that claimed the 4-year-old colt for $32,000 in August at Del Mar.

* The well-traveled Fade to Blue, sent by owner Richard Englander to Delta Downs, Delaware, Pimlico, Belmont Park, and Saratoga after leaving California earlier this year, made a triumphant return to Santa Anita by rallying to capture the $50,000 Cal Cup Starter Handicap at 1 1/2 miles on turf.

Fade to Blue was making only his second start for trainer Jeff Mullins. He was winless in 10 starts this year.

Fade to Blue ($8.80) beat Mr. Steve by one length, with Unamedthegame third. First Insight, the 8-5 favorite, finished last in the field of eight. Fade to Blue, ridden by Victor Espinoza, was timed in 2:26.46 on a firm course.