For those who have become overwhelmed by the political and cultural upheaval of 2018, I have a soothing remedy. Take a look at 1968 &ndash; and count your blessings.If there was a more traumatic year in the past half&#45;century, no one noticed. But don&rsquo;t take my word for it. The Smithsonian has referred to it as, &ldquo;The year that shattered America.&rdquo; The grim highlights from just the first half of 1968 included: Jan. 30 &ndash; North Vietnam launches its Tet offensive against key targets in South Vietnam, triggering the deadliest year of the war for the United States, with 16,592 killed in action.Feb. 8 &ndash; Three students are killed by police and another 27 are wounded at South Carolina State during a protest over a segregated bowling alley. March 31 &ndash; President Lyndon Johnson, reeling from Vietnam war failures and widespread protests, announces he will not run for re&#45;election.April 4 &ndash; Martin Luther King, Jr. is murdered in Memphis, Tenn., where he was lending support to a strike of sanitation workers. Civil unrest ensues in cities across the land, resulting directly in 39 deaths and 21,000 arrestsJune 5 &ndash; Robert F. Kennedy is murdered in the kitchen of a Los Angeles hotel after winning a California Democratic primary that all but assured his party&rsquo;s nomination for president. The shooter, Sirhan Sirhan, once held a California Horse Racing Board license as an exercise rider.Any one of those events would have provided a year&rsquo;s worth of nourishment for the modern media beast. The fact that they occurred in relentless waves served to numb a citizenry already traumatized during the preceding five years by the escalating Vietnam War and the murders of President John F. Kennedy, civil rights activist Medgar Evers, religious leader Malcolm X, and entertainer Sam Cooke. At such times a weary population is allowed its palliative distractions. The 1968 TV season included &ldquo;Laugh&#45;In&rdquo; and a splashy Elvis Presley special. The trippy &ldquo;2001: A Space Odyssey&rdquo; was turned loose in theatres, along with &ldquo;Night of the Living Dead,&rdquo; while the sports world countered with its own wild mood swings, such as:◗ UCLA&rsquo;s 47&#45;game winning streak was snapped by Houston in a nationally televised prime&#45;time game at the Astrodome.◗ Amateur Arthur Ashe became the first African American to win a grand slam tennis tournament when he captured the U.S. Open at Forest Hills.◗ At the Mexico City Summer Olympics, 200&#45;meter medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised black&#45;gloved fists during the podium ceremony to protest the treatment of fellow African&#45;Americans living in poverty and violence back home.Not to be outdone, horse racing stepped up to rattle the nation&rsquo;s fragile sensibilities when, two days after the May 4 race, the victorious Dancer&rsquo;s Image became the first winner of the Kentucky Derby to be disqualified, after a post&#45;race urine sample identified as his turned up positive for the analgesic phenylbutazone, street name Bute. Peter Fuller, the owner of Dancer&rsquo;s Image, immediately launched an appeal that took an agonizing four years to resolve, with the disqualification finally upheld by the Kentucky State Court of Appeals and runner&#45;up Forward Pass officially declared the 1968 Derby winner. The race and its convoluted aftermath have been tirelessly chronicled by historians like Milton Toby in &ldquo;Dancer&rsquo;s Image: The Forgotten Story of the 1968 Kentucky Derby&rdquo; and John McEvoy in &ldquo;Great Horse Racing Mysteries: True Tales from the Track.&rdquo; Every racing writer of the era took a crack at the case as well, but none more doggedly than Billy Reed of the Louisville Courier&#45;Journal and later with Sports Illustrated.Reed will be attending his 50th Derby this year. He celebrated with a recent reminiscence for Louisville&rsquo;s WAVE3 News website, in which he singled out Fuller as his &ldquo;favorite Derby owner&rdquo; after half a century of reporting.&ldquo;[Fuller] watched his Dancer&rsquo;s Image win the 1968 Derby, only to have it taken from him three days later when a then&#45;illegal medication was reportedly detected in the colt&rsquo;s urine sample,&rdquo; Reed wrote. &ldquo;All these years later, we still don&rsquo;t know for sure whodunit, but I promise that Fuller, one of the most honest people I&rsquo;ve ever known, was the victim.&rdquo;This spring, Churchill Downs seems to be going out of its way to sidestep any particular acknowledgment the 50th anniversary of its 1968 Derby. There has been ample attention given to the 40th anniversary of Affirmed defeating Alydar in 1978, the 30th anniversary of history&#45;making Winning Colors in 1988, and the 25th anniversary of Sea Hero&rsquo;s win for Mack Miller and Paul Mellon in 1993. But the golden 50th? Not so much.In February of 1969, Reed concluded a Sports Illustrated report on a laughably convivial Kentucky racing commission hearing into an aspect of the Dancer&rsquo;s Image case with an admonition to &ldquo;heed the words of Arthur Grafton,&rdquo; one of Fuller&rsquo;s attorneys. &ldquo;Is it bad for racing for a horse to win the Derby under a cloud?&rdquo; Reed wrote, quoting Grafton. &ldquo;Of course it is. Is it bad for the winner of the Derby to be deprived of that great victory on evidence that is questionable or uncertain? Of course it is. The public should feel when this case is over that neither one of these results has been reached .... Only then will racing be able to hold up its head again in Kentucky.&rdquo;Happy anniversary.