Big Win for Zayat Ahead of Push for Triple Crown

     (CN) – As Ahmed Zayat watches his famously misspelled champion horse American Pharoah run for the Triple Crown on Saturday, he’ll do so with one less legal headache.
     Though a Friday motion for reconsideration is pending, U.S. District Judge William Martini in Newark, N.J., sided Thursday with the dual U.S.-Egypt citizen in a case accusing him of running out on a $1.65 million gambling debt.
     Florida resident Howard Rubinsky brought the complaint last year, telling the court he worked as a professional matchmaker for gamblers and gambling sites like Tradewinds, a Costa Rican-based site where bets are placed via the web and phone.
     In exchange for a commission of up to 40 percent on losses, Rubinsky says he provided to Tradewinds free of cost his “player list” of sports betters from all over the world.
     Rubinsky allegedly arranged for New Jersey-based Zayat to use his personal line of credit at Tradewinds in 2003, and claims that Zayat then lost more than $2 million on Rubinsky’s line of credit.
     Though Rubinsky admits that Zayat never asked him for the line of credit, he claims that Zayat paid back part of the loss and then waltzed on the remainder.
     Tradewinds in turn allegedly withheld the remaining $1.65 million owed from Rubinsky’s commissions.
     In granting Zayat summary judgment Thursday, Judge Martini concluded that Rubinsky waited too long to sue.
     Since Zayat had allegedly stopped making payments to Tradewinds by 2005, and Rubinsky had by then “paid for at least a portion of defendant’s debt through his commissions,” that is the year when Rubinsky’s claims accrued, according to the ruling.
     “Moreover, plaintiff has not presented any evidence that would toll or restart the statute of limitations,” the ruling states. “The record contains no indication that defendant actively misled plaintiff regarding plaintiff’s claims or otherwise reasonably prevented plaintiff from filing a timely complaint.”
     Rubinski failed to show that text messages he allegedly received from Zayat on April 6, 2008, restarted the statute of limitations, the court found.
     “Defendant explicitly stated in his text messages that he does not owe plaintiff – or anyone – any money, but that he would be willing to help plaintiff (stating ‘I am not obliged to pay anything’ and ‘don’t own a soul anythings [sic]’) ,” Martini wrote. “Accordingly, no reasonable jury could conclude that defendant made an unconditional promise to pay the alleged debt.”
     
     In addition to his motion for reconsideration of the dismissal, Rubinsky also on Friday filed four requests for judicial notice.
     Zayat’s attorney, Joseph Vann, passed along a statement from a spokesman for the Zayat family, expressing gratitude that the court’s decision “reinforces everything they have been saying.”
     “They were always confident that the truth would prevail, and are very happy to have this behind them so that all racing and sports fans can focus on the exciting upcoming weekend at Belmont,” the statement from spokesman Matthew Hiltzik states.
     After his wins last month at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, American Pharoah has 3-5 odds to win Saturday at the third leg of the Triple Crown, a feat that has not been accomplished since Affirmed in 1978.
     Rubinsky’s attorney, J. Joseph Bainton, sued Zayat for libel on June 1 in relation to statements that the horse’s owner made to the press last month when confronted about Rubinsky’s allegations.

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