American Pharoah Takes First Triple Crown Since 1978

Victor Espinoza aboard American Pharoah (5) wins the 2015 Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown at Belmont Park on June 6, 2015. Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Updated | With Jockey Victor Espinoza aboard, American Pharoah on Saturday won the 147th running of the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York, becoming horse racing's first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

After leading the entire race, and with the crowd cheering from start to finish, American Pharoah won by 5 1/2 lengths, the Associated Press reported. The horse became the 12th to capture the Triple Crown by virtue of winning the Belmont after victories at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.

It was the longest stretch in history without a Triple Crown winner, the AP reported.

Frosted finished second on Saturday and Keen Ice third.

American Pharoah won in a time of 2:26, the same as recorded for Affirmed. After the race, a sign with the horse's name was placed next to Affirmed's in a list of Triple Crown winners at the park.

Espanoza did a victory lap of sorts and just about everyone in the huge crowd stayed to watch. Afterward, the crowd situation involving the Long Island Rail Road appeared to have been handled much more smoothly than following last year's race.

The commemorative Belmont Stakes glasses that were being sold at the park ran out on Saturday, and some of the people waiting for the train home were overheard saying they'd be talking about the race for the rest of their lives.