08/05/2009 12:24PM

Day 7: 8/5/09



1:24 pm: The problem with democracy is that sometimes you have to abide by the boneheaded will of the voters. This lesson was relearned at the Steely Dan concert Tuesday night at the Beacon.

This was an "Internet Request Night," meaning that you got one vote for each seat you bought (kind of like Congress) to pick 20 songs from a list of 50 they were willing to play. It's a nice idea in theory, and you would think that an electorate of people paying $168 for each orchestra seat would overwhelmingly choose such automatic no-brainer top-10-of-all-time nominees as "Deacon Blues" or "Glamour Profession." Instead the vox populi went for all the top-40 successes. It's not that "Peg" and "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" and "Reeling in the Years" aren't good and catchy songs, but the band looked and sounded bored performing them instead of some of their better and more interesting material.

Anyway, here was the 19-song setlist. Songs I voted for -- only 9 of my 20 made it -- are in bold:

Black Friday; Aja, Hey Nineteen, Peg, Dirty Work, FM, Rikki Don't Lose That Number, Home at Last, Doctor Wu, Any Major Dude, Do It Again, Babylon Sisters, Daddy Don't Live in That New York City, Black Cow, Josie, Don't Take Me Alive, Kid Charlemagne, Reeling in the Years (Encore #1), My Old School.(Encore #2).

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So I can't give the show more than a solid B and wish I'd gone on a different night, like the ones where they're performing individual albums like "Aja" and "Gaucho" in their entirety, but I'm still glad I went.

We came away with some decent merch: Steely Dan hoodie, Steely Dan coffee mug, Steely Dan keychain and glow-in-the-dark Steely Dan Martian antennae that look pretty cool on Dondo.

2:10 pm: Nice little $765 early double if you liked 25-1 Disco Diva in the opener and 17-1 Essex Ferry in the second. I still can't make a case for the former, and I used the latter in a hasty $120 caveman/action $1 early pick-4 play (1,4,5,7/1,2/2,5,7,9,10/2,3,4).

Lerman has a history of popping with high-odds maidens at Saratoga, though he hadn't done it until today since Dreamstuff paid $32.40 on 8/27/06.

Speaking of "Talking Horses," I'm spending an extra day downstate and thus won't be doing the show tomorrow as originally scheduled. David Grening has kindly agreed to trade a Sunday for a Thursday so it's him tomorrow and Friday and me on Saturday and Sunday this week.

3:00 pm: Alive to Submerge ($1704 for $1), Seek On ($7622) and Rosie's Promises ($1729) after squeaking through a couple of close finishes: 5-1 Paracaidas over 3-5 Film Charm, and a staggering Dean's Kitten over a tons-the-best Paddy O'Prado I didn't use. Don't deserve to have gotten this far but I won't give back the money if I get there. 

NYRA announced this morning that the fractional and final times for Monday's Amsterdam have been changed as follows:

Old:  22.45, 44.95  1:06.85   1:13.45

New: 22.45, 44.55, 1:07.22, 1:13.74

So Travers-bound Quality Road still gets the track record (beating Topsider's 1:14 2/5.)  Update: His winning Beyer Speed Figure has been changed to a 110.

3:20 pm: Argggh. Rosie's Promises broke like a rocket, had a two-length lead at the furlong pole, but ran out of gas in the final 50 yards to get swallowed by both Eager Emma and Chernobyl Princess. Maybe I couldawouldashoulda gotten there with a more thoughtful ABC play, maybe not. In any case:

I will not make hasty caveman pick-4 plays. I will not make hasty caveman pick-4 plays. I will not make hasty caveman pick-4 plays. I will not make hasty caveman pick-4 plays... 

3:28 pm: And to prove it, I'm passing on the late pick-4 starting in 21 minutes that I've only looked at once.

5:20 pm: Cocoa Beach was back in the winner's circle today after the $70k De La Rose S. but is she really back?

Cocoa Beach concluded her 2008 racing season with a multi-surface trifecta of truly oustanding performances: a victory on dirt in the G1 Beldame, a second to Zenyatta in the BC Distaff on synth and a particularly impressive triumph over Precious Kitten in the G1 Matriarch on grass. She looked ready to challenge for leadership of the nation's older fillies on any surface this year.

Maybe you could give her a mulligan for her 2009 comeback, a last-of-four finish at 3-to-20 in an overnight stakes at Belmont June 21, since the track was so sloppy, but she didn't look like the Cocoa Beach of old in victory today. She got a clear trip from good position behind a quick pace, swung wide for the stretch turn and figured to mow 'em down and draw off easily, but she lugged in and then was hard-pressed to hold off 16-1 shot My Baby Baby through a long stretch drive. She survived two claims of foul for her lug-in, which was probably the right call since she bothered horses who were backing up, but those who took 3-5 on her were a bit fortunate to be paid.

If she returns in a Grade 1 race next time, what to do? Is a championship-caliber filly just taking her time rounding back into form, or is she simply not the same racehorse she was last year? 

Seven of the 10 in the finale are covered in the pick-6, and the pick-4's to those seven are all paying $463 for $2 or less. Carryover and four-digit pick-4 payoffs only with the 1,2 and 8.

5:35 pm: The #1, Lemon Shore, was just scratched at the gate. Down to two shots for a carryover.

5:45 pm: 5-1 Sammarco led the nighcap from flagfall to that's-all in a quick 21.13, 43.84 and 1:01.82, completing a $147-for-$2 pick-4, and a $2,367 pick-6. One of the carryover horses, 36-1 Acclaimed, bolted on the far turn and took Dr. Smarty Jack with him to the outside fence.