OCEANPORT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The first Triple Crown winner in 37 years was back in the Tri-State Area on Thursday.

He is preparing for his first race since the big win at Belmont Park in June, but as CBS2’s Scott Rapoport reported, the real challenge will be handling the influx of American Pharoah fans.

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The small shore town of Oceanport, New Jersey — population 5,832 — was about to undergo an invasion Thursday.

“I think we’re going to shut the whole area down,” Earl Preston said.

More than 60,000 people, 10 times the population, are expected to come flooding into the area over the weekend to see the most famous three-year-old in the world.

“Crazy, but it’s going to be a good crazy,” Tricia Vincelli said.

American Pharoah arrived in New Jersey on Wednesday, and was warming up on the track at Monmouth Park early Thursday morning to prepare for his Sunday race in the Haskell Invitational.

Folks in town have been bracing and planning for everything that will entail.

“It’s gonna be crazy, I’m getting out-of-town,” Darren Spadavecchia said.

Traffic on the town’s road, and on Route 36, the road leading in and out of Oceanport and Monmouth Park is expected to be considerable, or as Louie Perricelli called it, “a madhouse.”

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To help control Pharoah Fever and ease the expected gridlock, the town is urging race fans to use public transportation.

NJ Transit said it’s providing extra train service to Monmouth Park before and after the race.

“This plan is enhanced. It’s basically a plan with muscles that we utilized in the past for Haskell, and just added more power,” Lt. Michael Kelly, Oceanport Police Department said.

The Oceanport Police Department, along with the New Jersey Department of Transportation, will be strategically opening and closing roads in town to keep things moving.

American Pharoah’s owner, New Jersey native Justin Zayat, can’t wait.

“It’s gonna be the biggest day in NJ racing. And for the Triple Crown winner to come back and race, it’s gonna be ginormous,” Zayat said.

Ready or not the biggest name in the sport is coming to small town USA.

 

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