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Crowd Erupts In Cheers After American Pharoah Makes History With Triple Crown Win

ELMONT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The crowd erupted in cheers as American Pharoah made history by winning the Triple Crown on Saturday.

Not since Affirmed in 1978 has a horse swept the Triple Crown, one of the sporting world's rarest feats.

Crowd Erupts In Cheers After American Pharoah Makes History With Triple Crown Win

PHOTOS: 147th Belmont StakesAmerican Pharoah's Final Gallop

As CBS2's Ilana Gold reported, most horses that get this far don't make it. A Triple Crown winner hasn't been seen in 37 years, but the crowd arriving early Saturday is hopeful.

"It's such a rare occasion; it's so difficult that's exciting to see. We'll be a part of history if we get to see it," said Gerard Mach, of Garden City.

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"It's this aura that nobody can get it," said Dan Schmidt, of Garden City. "Everybody is so close. Last year California Chrome got close; this year American Pharoah. Everybody's saying this is the horse that can pull it off."

When asked how special the day's events were, Belmont Park spokesman John Durso told Gold "The eyes of the world are going to be focused on that finish line right behind us."

Durso said American Pharoah was resting Saturday morning ahead of the big race.

"I've got to tell you, the horse, he's ready. He's relaxed, he's rearing to go," Durso said, adding that the rainy weather this morning shouldn't have any impact on the race.

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Down at the track, Sam the bugler is prepared and planning to serenade American Pharoah as the new king of horse racing.

"We are toying with the idea of the Egyptian national anthem if the horse wins the Triple Crown," he said.

And work started overnight on the 500-carnation winner's circle blanket. If it's American Pharoah wearing those carnations, he'll join the ranks of only 11 other horses.

His jockey, Victor Espinosa, has been in this position twice before, but never took the Triple Crown.

"Feeling lucky this year. Third time's a charm," he said.

Crowds Arrive Early At Belmont Stakes For American Pharoah's Triple Crown Attempt

American Pharoah's owner is savoring this chance at Belmont with his horse of a lifetime.

"Coming in feeling that we really have a good shot, and the horse is doing as well as you could have dreamt," said owner Ahmed Zayat.

The colt's trainer Bob Baffert said he feels American Pharoah is special, WCBS 880's Peter Haskell reported.

"He just floats over the ground. He's got a beautiful way of moving," he said.

If you're headed to the race, expect some changes from last year. This year is a sold-out event, limited to 90,000 people.

The capacity cap was put in place after issues last year with congestion, especially while exiting the park. Thousands waited for hours for LIRR trains.

This year, LIRR and Belmont officials promise a smoother ride thanks to a renovated train station with $5 million worth of upgrades.

Thousands of spectators exited crowded LIRR trains on Saturday afternoon, and highways and parking lots were filling up quickly.

"So far so good,'' LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski said as he stood watch at the newly renovated station. "The challenge will be 7 o'clock tonight,'' he added.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo canceled his appearance at Belmont after scheduling a news conference for later in the day at an upstate New York prison where two convicted murderers are believed to have escaped.

Cuomo was scheduled to be in the winner's circle at Belmont Park to present the Belmont trophy. The trophy will instead be presented by Michael Del Giudice, the acting chairman of the New York Racing Association board of directors.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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