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Judge dismisses $1.65-million lawsuit against Ahmed Zayat

Owner Ahmed Zayat, right, and trainer Bob Baffert

Owner Ahmed Zayat, right, and trainer Bob Baffert celebrate in the winner's circle after their horse, American Pharoah, won the 140th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 16, 2015 in Baltimore. Credit: Getty Images / Rob Carr

Ahmed Zayat may be going after the biggest prize in horse racing on Saturday, but the owner of Triple Crown hopeful American Pharoah managed to score a big victory off the racetrack on Thursday when the $1.65-million lawsuit against him was thrown out by a New Jersey federal judge.

Newark Judge William J. Martini ruled that the lawsuit, a breach of contract that stemmed from an alleged 2003 gambling debt, surpassed the six-year statute of limitations in the state of New Jersey and that there was nothing stopping the plaintiff from filing earlier.

"There is a God. The God of justice & Truth. We have won the case," Zayat tweeted Thursday morning. He added, "I TOLD YOU THE TRUTH WILL BE TOLD . . . Victory is sweet."

The original suit, filed in March 2014, stated that plaintiff Howard Rubinsky forwarded Zayat a $2-million credit at Tradewinds, a Costa Rican-based sports betting site, and that Zayat had paid back only a small portion of the amount.

As a result, the suit said, Rubinsky lost out on $1.65 million in commission that he would have received from Tradewinds. According to the dismissal ruling, both parties agreed that Zayat never asked for the credit line. Additionally, text messages between Zayat and Rubinsky in 2008 showed Zayat denying there is any debt at all. Rubinsky previously argued that the texts, in which he tries to retrieve the debt, should have been grounds to restart the statute of limitations.

It is uncertain if this ruling will have any effect on another lawsuit stemming from this case -- a $10-million libel suit filed by Rubinsky's attorney, J. Joseph Bainton. That suit, filed on Monday, stated that Zayat made false and defamatory claims against Bainton while defending himself to media outlets after news of the original lawsuit became public.

"The Zayats are very grateful for the court's decision, which vindicates them and reinforces everything they have been saying," a family spokesman said. "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."

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