Maximum Security trainer is reminder how deep conspiracies can run

This is all too weird. Tuesday, the sports column I planned to write for today seemed to hold some significance. Wednesday, the World Health Organization announced the coronavirus has become pandemic.

And yesterday, what I expected to write for today, couldn’t possibly contain a flake of significance.

Still, I suppose, that while the Luftwaffe bombed London, a fellow on the radio was reporting cricket scores. He was fulfilling his assignment, his terms of engagement.

I feel foolish, small, in my assignment, yet it’s my assignment. So on we go:

Apparently, few in the thoroughbred racing business were surprised to learn Jersey-based Jason Servis, trainer of cash-cow Maximum Security was among the 27 indicted for a widespread conspiracy to dope horses then, in too many cases, leave their dropped-dead carcasses to rot.

Servis’ sudden, stunning successes against the most accomplished stables and trainers in the game have for several years invited suspicions that he was playing with a marked deck.

Last month Maximum Security won the world’s richest race, the $20 million Saudi Cup, in Saudi Arabia. Prosecutors now claim Servis administered PEDs “to virtually all racehorses in his control.”

As for others, the prosecution revealed a text message from trainer Nicholas Surick’s cellphone about co-defendant Jorge Navarro, a well-known trainer who has done business with Servis:

“You know how many [expletive] horses he [expletive] killed and broke down and that I made disappear? … You know how much trouble he could get in if they found out … the six horses we killed?”

And as we’ve seen with most bilk-the-system conspiracies, once two people, then three, then four, then 27 are in the know the conspiracy’s lid is pried looser until it hits the conspirators right between the eyes.

Van Gundy’s intense situation

Don’t know if Jeff Van Gundy, Sunday on ABC/ESPN, was experiencing a selective memory, if he doesn’t embarrass easily or if he was in the mood for mindless pandering.

But, without knowing what went on, he got all over a ref for doing his job and clearly doing it well.

Early against the Clippers, the Lakers’ Avery Bradley followed an inside shot by getting right into defender Patrick Beverley’s face, taunting and hollering. If he was looking to start trouble, referee Tre Maddox wouldn’t play along.

Maddox, unlike Van Gundy, was right there to hear it and see it, thus hit Bradley with a T.

Van Gundy jumped in with protests, stating Bradley did nothing wrong, claiming, “we need more like that because that was about intensity.” Mark Jackson agreed.

We hear similar too often during MLB telecasts, when the announcers trash an ump for ejecting a player or manager without knowing what happened and/or what was said.

And perhaps Van Gundy, as the 5-foot-9 coach of the 1998 Knicks, forgot where such intensity placed him in a playoff game against the Heat:

Sprawled on the court and clutching Alonzo Mourning’s leg to prevent being trampled in a brawl caused by such “intensity.”

New York radio icon Ingles was one of the greats

The passing of Ed Ingles, last week at 87, brought a sweet stream of memories and gratitude for a man, first as the sports director at WCBS-AM then as the chief mentor-in-residence at Hofstra’s radio station, WRHU, where he was always generous with his time and wisdom.

Ingles was the greatest common denominator in launching dozens of internships and careers in media.

Common sense and college basketball telecasts remain strangers.

During Saturday’s Kansas-Texas Tech, CBS sideline reporter Kris Buddin, accompanied by a graphic that read “All Roads Lead To Lubbock,” was delighted to state that five of TT’s players are from far-flung places: Cameroon, Italy, Russia, the Congo and France.

She then cheerfully added that in the locker room, “four different languages are spoken.”

OK, but give us more.

Having been recruited to play basketball in Northwest Texas, how many of the five speak enough English to take classes, succeed in them and then matriculate? Don’t leave us to guess.

Earlier Saturday, during Kentucky-Florida, CBS’s Ian Eagle said that UF’s 6-10 Kerry Blackshear “is a graduate transfer from Va. Tech.” He left it at that.

But that means that Blackshear is enrolled at UF as a grad student, ostensibly in pursuit of his Masters degree. Why not tell us in what?

Or is it that he, and so many other “grad transfers” have basketball or football eligibility to exhaust, and the academic angle is just another loophole, another con?

Greed Kills, Case, 2,940: As did many last week, reader Rich Leary received a missive from the Jets carrying their latest special “Limited Time” tickets offer:

A $100 gift card with the purchase of season tickets.

Leary’s reply: “Really? And you once tried to charge me $50 annually for the privilege of being on your tickets waiting list. My, how the tables have turned.

“I’m sorry but a $100 gift card is not going to cover your PSLs, ticket prices, outrageous parking fees, overpriced concessions and must-buy preseason game tickets. You’re done gouging this sucker.

“Take a hike!”

The Jets no doubt placed his response in the “undecided” bin.

But here’s hoping Leary cc’d Roger “PSLs Are Good Investments” Goodell.

As Creighton beat Seton Hall to a loose ball on the floor Saturday, Fox analyst Donny Marshall gave solid advice in three words: “Low man wins.”

Seems the coronavirus pulled the plug on this time of season, normally when NBA players let everyone know how unhappy they are playing for their team.

Sick world in so many ways. My email inbox has been pervaded by come-ons pitching immunologists and other medical experts seeking to exploit the coronavirus for some shameless ink, some publicity.

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