OCEANPORT, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP)American Pharoah has won his first race since winning the Triple Crown in June.

Thousands of fans gathered for the Haskell Invitational, cheering for their beloved horse as he took the lead, WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola reported.

American Pharoah, who is owned by Teaneck resident Ahmed Zayat, did what many Triple Crown champions have done throughout history — win the first race after victories in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

With a large crowd cheering him on at Monmouth Park, American Pharoah came around the final turn and then took off from the field and cruised to a 2 1/4-length victory under jockey Victor Espinoza without any urging.

“He did it again!” Jack Dolan exclaimed after traveling form Philadelphia to see the race.

Janice McDonald of Middletown, N.J. says it was worth every minute of a long day at the racetrack.

“I’ve been a racing fan forever — this was the greatest day day of my life,” McDonald said. “He runs like a charm, he has my heart. I could be brought to tears I’m so happy.”

American Pharoah swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes to become the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years. After a 57-day break, the 3-year-old colt looked better than ever in winning his eighth consecutive race.

Sent off at odds of 1-10, American Pharoah became the shortest price in the 48th running of the Haskell, returning $2.20 for a $2 win bet.

Of the 11 other Triple Crown winners, 10 returned to racing and seven of them won.

Count Fleet did not run again after winning the Belmont in 1943 because of a leg injury. The losers? Seattle Slew finished fourth behind J.O. Tobin in the 1977 Swaps Stakes, Omaha ran third to Discovery in the 1935 Brooklyn Handicap, and Sir Barton was second to Purchase in the 1919 Dwyer.

The purse for this year’s Haskell Invitation is the largest in its history — $1.7 million. American Pharoah’s trainer, Bob Baffert, has won the Haskell seven times, more than any other trainer.

Thousands are excited about seeing the prized horse race again. But even though Pat from Sayreville like American Pharoah, he’s not betting on him because the odds are so much in the horse’s favor.

“Yeah I  mean I like him, he’s a great horse, and if he wins he wins — good for him,” Pat said. “But I might try and make a little money on my own and go against the flow.”

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