American Pharoah owner named defendant in libel suit

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) The owner of Triple Crown contender American Pharoah is facing more legal troubles.

Ahmed Zayat has been sued for libel based on comments he made recently regarding another lawsuit over gambling debts.

Attorney J. Joseph Bainton filed the lawsuit in Newark Monday.

Bainton represents a Florida man who sued Zayat over more than $1 million he says he advanced Zayat for bets at offshore casinos.

Among Zayat's comments Bainton says are libelous are that the gambling debt lawsuit was an attempt to ''extort'' him and that it was ''blackmail by a criminal.''

Zayat's attorney said Tuesday the lawsuit ''has no legal merit'' and predicts it will be thrown out.

American Pharoah tries to become the first horse in 37 years to win the Triple Crown Saturday at the Belmont Stakes.

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