Ahmed Zayat, the owner of Triple Crown contender American Pharoah, was hit with a $10 million libel lawsuit Monday that alleges he made "blatant" and "malicious" lies to the media in the wake of a separate lawsuit in which he is accused of owing millions in unpaid gambling debts, according to the Paulick Report.
Florida resident Howard Rubinsky, who according to a separate Paulick Report story worked as a recruiter for Costa Rican sports book Tradewinds, sued Zayat for breach of contract last month. In that lawsuit, Rubinsky argued he provided an avenue for Zayat to make gambling wagers, and that Zayat breached a "personal services" contract between the two when he failed to pay gambling debts.
Both Zayat and Rubinsky had agreed to keep the breach of contract proceedings against Zayat under wraps as the legal process sorted itself out. But on May 21, Zayat publicized the breach of contract lawsuit in the New York Daily News, calling it a "scam and extortion" based on "absolute fiction."
"It’s laughable," Zayat said. "When we asked for any documentation, they have nothing. No documents, no proof, no receipts. Not a single word of truth. It’s insanity.”
According to Monday's libel lawsuit, which was brought by Rubinsky's attorney, J. Joseph Bainton, Zayat's comments intimate that Bainton had knowingly been involved in fraudulent proceedings and insinuate that Bainton and Rubinsky were only pursuing legal action against Zayat because of his financial success with American Pharoah during the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
American Pharoah will run in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday in an attempt to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
- Will Green