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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Sampson (Finally) Takes the Fall. And This One is BAD.

In announcing the arrest of the one-time Democratic Senate Majority Leader John Sampson, Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch called it “one of the most extreme examples of hubris and arrogance we have ever seen.”[NY Daily News]

Hmm, seems to me that's not the first statement with that kind of superlative we're heard around here.  Oh yeah; commenting on the allegations against Democratic Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called it “an especially breathtaking bit of corruption, even by Albany standards.”  That was just a few days after Bharara, commenting on the Malcolm Smith arrest, noted: "Not every state Legislature has this level of criminality exposed."

These allegations against Sampson are bad.  Really bad.  If you haven't read about them, you can do so here in the Post story, the headline of which says he's facing 120 years.  This old school pre-Power Point style chart presented at the press conference pretty much tells the story.

Basically, Sampson allegedly skimmed money from foreclosure escrow accounts for which he was court-appointed referee (to pay for an ultimately unsuccessful campaign for district attorney, imagine that, he could be arresting himself!), allegedly borrowed money to cover some of it, allegedly attempted to interfere in an investigation into the person who allegedly supplied the loan, allegedly threatened to "take out" witnesses, and, apparently, most definitely told FBI agents that (in a line destined to go down in the annals of Albany corruption history): “Not everything I told you was false.”  Seems like a good T-shirt slogan there.

Well, just how bad is it?  Instead of issuing the standard denial and 'my client will be exonerated' bravado, Sampson's lawyer was saying things like:
  “Senator Sampson has been fully cooperative with the government since we were contacted some months ago in connection with this investigation.” [NY Post]
  “The senator does not stand accused of any offenses of misuse of his office.....This is an ordinary case that has been given an official corruption coat of paint, and I think that’s unfair.” [NYDN
Wo.  I mean, if the attorney is not loudly proclaiming innocence, now that's bad.  Makes one think that his client is perhaps considering the plea bargain that could put him behind bars for a maximum of about four years.

This case has nothing to do with the AEG scandal.  But seeing these charges against Sampson and the ones against Smith in his alleged wacky mayoral scheme certainly puts the audacity of the effort to fix the highly scrutinized racino process into context.

 - Saw on Twitter this note from one Steve Haskin.

Ah, Haskin.  I didn't follow him at all this year, and don't on Twitter, but caught this via a retweet. Went back to his final entry before the Derby, and once again, the man suffers a total meltdown, just utterly incapable of specifying a horse as the one he likes.  Steve....please, pull yourself together.  Just make a pick, I know it's hard, and that your eyes must glaze over after all those weeks and months of obsessing over a single horse race; but we all do it.  Nobody except me will think any less of you if you're wrong.  (And you don't get credit for picking the winner if one of the six horses you mentioned as candidates had won.  Which they didn't.)

Anyway, I watched the overhead shot, and I think that's just nonsense.  Will Take Charge was at least a couple of paths inside of Orb as they rounded the turn, providing the illusion that he was keeping stride while Orb was covering more ground.  As they turned for home, and just before Will Take Charge ran up into a tiring Verrazano, Orb seems poised to edge away, and I'd be quite confident betting that he was getting ready to leave his rival in the dust.  Of course, we'll never know for sure, but I'd be more than happy to see people jump on that bandwagon come Preakness time.

The more interesting thing about watching the overhead shot is to see how relatively clean the race was; at least through the opening and closing stages that we see in the video, the times when bad trouble would be most likely to occur.  Seems almost like a regular horse race, albeit with more horses. The field broke cleanly from the gate, settled into the various tiers quite readily, and I really don't see any obvious excuses other than horses wide; and Orb took about the worst of that anyway.


Figless said...

Sure you noticed that Trackus indicates Orb ran 80 feet more than the place and show horses, making his win all the more impressive, so yes he took the worst of it.

He is the real deal.

McCarron said...

For years, Haskin will speak of half the Derby field in completely glowing terms. Even the slow ones are generally regarded by him as "regally bred", "looking like a million bucks", or "training well" in his final analysis. It's really almost comical at this point.

Anonymous said...

Great post Alan

El Angelo said...

The best thing you can do with Haskin's comments are find the horses he says look bad and toss them immediately. His negative remarks are so few and far between that you know when they come the horse must look like a battered creature.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could bet a few horses that take " the worst of it " like Figless believes Orb did.

He got about as good an overall trip as a horse can get and was, at best, the equivalent of Normandy Invasion. I'm not knocking Orb, he's a really nice horse, and he very well may win the Preakness, but people do seem to lose perspective when it comes to Derby winners.

Being significantly better than Golden Soul is not exactly a Hall of Fame achievement.

ballyfager said...

So at least until next Saturday Orb will be seen as the second coming of Hindoo. If he wins the Preakness, some people will start to talk of the Belmont as if it's a walkover.

They're never as good as they look when they're winning, and never as bad as they look when they're losing.

I think the point about Will Take Charge has at least SOME validity. But it has already gained enough currency that it will be factored into the toteboard next time.

August Song said...

When you've spent 30+ years breeding for speed and precociousness, and the focus is on running a 9 second eighth at the OBS Sales, the game may have changed for American racing. Bigger, better, stronger? "Maybe not?" is my opinion.,0,2337623,full.story

Figless said...

80 feet is about six lengths of ground Orb lost as compared to the others, so yes, he took the worst of it from a trip perspective, compared to everyone not just Golden Soul.

Yes the pace set up his late charge nicely and he had no trouble line, but he ran further than the others to avoid the trouble, which more than offsets any perceived disadvantage NI incurred due to pace.

I have 45 years of Derby perspective, am skeptical by nature, especially of Derby winners, not some novice that thinks Triple Crown every time I see a horse wearing a garland of roses.

Orb is the real deal with a legit shot.

Anonymous said...

one of the most extreme examples of hubris and arrogance we have ever seen.”

Democrats,I love It!