Commentary

Now what?

Updated: December 27, 2012, 10:36 AM ET
By Paul Moran | Special to ESPN.com

The Mayans were wrong. Now, the real danger looms.

At the end of the road known as 2012 in racing and many other facets of American life, there is a sharp blind curve, a threshold beyond which there is much uncertainty and many potholes.

How does racing fare in the uncertainty of a new economy based upon largesse and redistribution of wealth rather than labor and achievement?

In many respects those involved in the racing game await the same answers as do those in every aspect of life and business outlined by the sobering fact that the individual share of the national debt now exceeds the annual expense of keeping a thoroughbred in training in New York.

How does racing fare in the uncertainty of a new economy based upon largesse and redistribution of wealth rather than labor and achievement?

Will a rewrite of the tax code preserve advantageous deductions that make horse ownership less daunting for the 90-plus percent who lose money in this business? Will they force the bettors who participate on a high level to seek other avenues of investment?

Will anticipated, excessive increases in taxes on capital gains and dividends cause investors in racing to reconsider their positions?

Will new regulations on small business -- ownership of racehorses and operation of most training enterprises -- result in a contraction of private participation? Will the partnerships that have gained traction during the past two decades become unmanageable?

What will happen to a thriving sport in Canada, where the government has turned its back on racing with the removal of casino revenue from the economic equation?

Will a thoughtful approach to alternative game revive a moribund industry in Kentucky?

Or, will a thoughtful approach to maximizing the economic benefit of a wildly successful casino in the nation's largest city catapult racing in New York to undeniable industry leadership?

If racing survives the fiscal cliff, will it finally take a deep breath and address its own shared problems? Medication? Standard rules and penalties? Universal licensing?

Will the Lasix issue finally be put to rest in a way that upholds consensus?

Will unrest within the industry's ranks result in challenges to shallowly entrenched institutions, notably the Breeders' Cup?

Will the next Breeders' Cup actually be run Lasix-free?

If so, will another entity (casino-rich New York is the only possibility) stage an alternative day of racing to compete directly with the Breeders' Cup that will be run under more accommodating American medication rules?

Will Horse of the Year voters somehow overlook Royal Delta, the inevitable champion older female and best horse of 2012?

Will anyone be appointed to lead the New York Racing Association with the standing to champion and execute a move so bold?

Will Wise Dan, the high-class turf miler, really be voted Horse of the Year without winning a divisional championship?

Will Horse of the Year voters somehow overlook Royal Delta, the inevitable champion older female and best horse of 2012?

After a year in which the presumptive champion 3-year-old was retired before the Belmont Stakes and moved to Japan before the Breeders' Cup, will 2013 produce a year more compelling than the last?

Is it really possible that the last year was so uneventful that some voters have expressed support for Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another, narrow winner of those races over a horse that has not since won a race?

Has it really gotten that bad?

And, really, did you see a 2-year-old during 2012 that made you think -- that's the one?

Didn't think so.

The Mayans were wrong.

At the moment, we're one for one.

Paul Moran is a two-time winner of the Media Eclipse Award and has received various honors from the National Association of Newspaper Editors, Society of Silurians, Long Island Press Club and Long Island Veterinary Medical Association. He also has been given the Red Smith Award for his coverage of the Kentucky Derby. Paul can be contacted at pmoran1686@aol.com.

• Paul Moran is a two-time winner of the Media Eclipse Award among several other industry honors. He also has been given the Red Smith Award for his coverage of the Kentucky Derby.
• You can email him at pmoran1686@aol.com

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