The clich is that the wheels of justice grind slowly. Not so in the states case against two NYRA clerks of the scales, one of whom just happened to ride a Kentucky Derby winner and was inducted into Racing's Hall of Fame 31 years ago.

In their case, those wheels crept and crawled and lurched and went nowhere.

It was as if as long as Braulio Baeza and Mario Sclafani were out there as examples, somehow corruption was being rooted out. The state ordered monitor raided Aqueduct while conducting an investigation of alleged wrongdoing at the New York Racing Association. While high level executives left town aboard parachutes made of gold, investigators had their sacrificial lambs.

NYRA was found guilty of knowingly allowing two handsful of mutuel clerks to use horseplayer's betting money for their personal needs. Subsequently, the clerks were found guilty of tax evasion and money laundering. Prosecution of NYRA in this case was deferred.

But not in the case of Baeza and Sclafani, who lost their jobs three years ago, not long after they were charged on 291 felony counts of allowing jockeys to ride from seven to 15 pounds overweight, by definition, tampering with a sporting event.

Yesterday those charges were dropped for lack of evidence. A representative of the Toledo Scale Co. testified that scales were calibrated only up to 115 pounds, with a margin of error of one pound. Consequently, Saratoga County Court Judge Jerry Scarano agreed that the state failed to prove its case.

Sclafani has been working part time since the charges were first made. Baeza has been unemployed, although his son, Braulio Jr., who works for the NYRA, was promoted from an internal departmental job to the steward's stand. Many found this to be not coincidental.

These men now can get on with their lives. But the last three years are gone to them forever. So, what happened to the man in the state attorney generals office who originally leveled those charges? In case you havent been following this story, that man became governor of New York State.