Ahmed Zayat, owner of Zayat Stables which campaigns Kentucky Derby and Preakness Sportsbook American Pharoah, is being sued in United States District Court in New Jersey by former associate Howard Rubinsky, who claims Zayat racked up gambling losses at an offshore sportsbook totaling between $1.6 and $2 million.
American Pharoah is the current even money betting favorite at Sportsbook for the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 6.
Rubinsky is a convicted felon who pleaded guilty in an illegal bookmaking operation in 2008. He claims he set up Zayat with a $3 million line of credit at Tradewinds Sportsbook according to an article in the New York Times.
Also involved in the illegal bookmaking operation were two brothers, Michael and Jeffrey Jelinsky, whom Zayat says are friends.
It is being reported that Zayat lost over $2 million wagering on sports and horses between 2003 and 2005. He allegedly paid back $350,000 and was set up on a payment plan, but stopped making payments.
Zayat maintains he owes nothing to Rubinsky. "The rhetoric accusing me of owing monies over gambling debts is a pathetic attempt to extort me and we are expecting this meritless lawsuit from a convicted felon to be dismissed," Zayat said in a statement sent to Blood-Horse.
Zayat does acknowledge that he wagered on horses through the Rubinsky brothers. In the New York Times story, it is reported that federal agents played tapes of the brothers explaining how they scammed him out of money by giving him horses to bet that were not going to win.
“So I would lose because they were giving me the wrong horses,” Zayat admitted in the Nov. 11 deposition according to the New York Times article.
The website ahmedzayat.com appeared online on Friday morning with stories of Zayat’s gambling activities including the New York Times article.
It is unclear who started the website, although the name Angus Hamilton was added. According to the website, Hamilton is an international freelance journalist, sports gambling consultant and co-founder of Sporting Index in the UK, and specializes in international sport and horse racing.
A poll on the website asks, “Integrity is everything when it comes to the sport of horse racing. Should Ahmed Zayat be allowed to enter a horse in the Belmont Stakes and compete for the Triple Crown?” As of 11am ET on Friday morning, there were 11 votes, with 73% answering no.