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Saratoga tips hat to Irishman who started it all

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) -- Saratoga Race Course is tipping its top hat to John Morrissey, the Irish-born fighter-gambler-politician who punched his way to national fame before the Civil War and launched what's now the nation's oldest and most successful racetrack.

The Irish American Heritage Museum in Albany is using the track's Irish-American Day Wednesday to highlight Morrissey's role in establishing Saratoga's first racing meet in 1863 and his opening of the race course at its current location a year later.

The museum will have several panels from its recent Morrissey exhibit on display at the track, which is also featuring Irish music, dance, food and beverages along with a visit by Noel Kilkenny, the ambassador consul general of Ireland.

Morrissey died in 1878 in Saratoga Springs and is buried in Troy, where he was raised.
 
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