ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — As the 150th anniversary of the first thoroughbred races held in Saratoga Springs is being celebrated in the Spa City, a new exhibit in Albany focuses on the Irishman who's credited with starting it all.

The exhibit, titled "The Irish and Horse Racing: John Morrissey," recently opened at the Irish American Heritage Museum in downtown Albany.

It tells the story of the Irish-born Morrissey, who was raised in Troy and went on to become a Tammany Hall enforcer, prizefighter, gambling hall owner and politician. He opened a casino in Saratoga, then launched the resort spa's first racing season on Aug. 3, 1863.

Under his guidance, Saratoga grew into the nation's top racing venue after the Civil War.

The 150th anniversary of that inaugural season is being celebrated Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.