Fifty years ago President
John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX. That November day in 1963 fell
on a Friday, a typical school day for American children, until 1:30pm ET when
we were told that we were all being sent home early because the President had
I am not one of those
people who remember his childhood in great detail. I recollect the things I
used to enjoy doing, but not with a lot of specifics. However Friday, November 22, 1963, I remember
vividly. The strangeness of being put on the school bus to go home in the
middle of the day combined with the idea that the President had been shot made
the day remarkable.
President John F. Kennedy
was assassinated as his motorcade passed the Texas School Book Depository
Building. Collectively the nation sat in front of their black and white
televisions to watch history unfold over the next several days.
Over that weekend in 1963 I
watched as Vice President Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as the 36th
President. Then there would be two television images that would stay with me
forever. I watched Lee Harvey Oswald get shot by Jack Ruby during a live
television broadcast from the basement of the Dallas Police Station and the
image of John Kennedy Jr. saluting his father during the funeral.
Seeing the murder of
Oswald on live television was such a powerful sight compared to the
fictionalized shootings of the westerns and war movies of that era. John Jr.’s
salute showed how hard it was for all of the school children and the entire
nation to grasp what had happened in those few days.
Yet at the same time, life
in the USA went on and so did the world of sports. After the assassination NFL
Commissioner Pete Roselle decided that there would be a full slate of pro
football games on Sunday, the day before the funeral.
Fifty years ago, also
during that same November week, Northern Dancer came down from Canada and made his first two starts in the United
States. After seven starts at three different tracks north of the border, the
son of Neartic had come to run at Aqueduct.
On Monday, November 18, 1963, Northern Dancer ran in a $10,000
allowance race going one mile. Northern Dancer, who was not the favorite in the
race having been sent off at odds of 2.6-1, won by eight lengths in 1:36 and
the Racing Form running line
described him as, “Easily the best” with jockey Manuel Ycaza in the saddle.
Horse racing would also
resume and on Wednesday, November 27, 1963, two days after the JFK funeral,
Northern Dancer would make his second American start in the Remsen Stakes.
Just nine days after his
allowance win, Northern Dancer defeated five others in front running style to
take the $28,000 Remsen, this time as a .25-1 betting favorite. This would be
his last start of 1963 as he took three months off before trainer Horatio Luro brought him back at
Hialeah Park to begin his three year-old campaign.
Fifty years later, Barack
Obama is the 44th President of the United States, a country that has
changed in so many ways. The Remsen Stakes will have its 99th
running on November 30th, as part of a sport that is also very
different then it was during that month of November in 1963.