02/09/2006 12:00AM

Mahmoud Fustok, 70, killed in accident

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Mahmoud Fustok was the owner of BC Sprint winner Silver Train.

Mahmoud Fustok, the owner of Buckram Oak Farm and such runners as 2005 Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Silver Train, died Wednesday in Florida after being struck by a vehicle in Pompano Beach. He was 70.

Fustok's racing manager, former trainer Mohammed Moubarak, confirmed the death Thursday and said that the family was suspending all Buckram Oak operations.

Fustok was killed Wednesday afternoon, when a Toyota RAV4 struck him and a friend as they crossed Florida's A1A highway at about 12:45 p.m, according to Pompano Beach Fire-Rescue spokeswoman Sandra King. According to an eyewitness account shown on the local NBC affiliate television station, both Fustok and his unidentified companion were injured in the accident. Witness Michael Skwark said one was thrown into a nearby brick wall, and the other struck the ground. The SUV driver, 55-year-old Albert Henry Brooks, was believed by paramedics to have suffered a medical emergency, possibly diabetic shock, according to King. After striking Fustok and his companion, Brooks continued, finally crashing into a fire station a block farther on. Fustok, his friend, and Brooks were taken to North Broward Medical Center, where Fustok died.

Fustok was born in Lebanon in 1936 but eventually moved to Saudi Arabia, where his businesses included an auto dealership and interests in real estate, construction, and oil-related industries. He came to the United States in the 1950's and graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in petro-chemical engineering, according to biographical information provide by Breeders' Cup. It was during his time in the States that he developed a passion for Thoroughbred racing, and in the late 1970's he launched a successful racing stable in Europe and Great Britain.

In addition to Silver Train, Fustok raced such runners as Green Forest, France's champion juvenile in 1981 and champion miler in 1982; French 2000 Guineas winners In Fijar and Siberian Express; Grade 1 or Group 1 winners Silver Wagon, Noble Fighter, Crystal Glitters, Anifa, and Siberian Summer; and graded winners Eurosilver, Star Gallant, Najran, and Mint.

He also campaigned Silver Hawk, third in the 1982 Epsom Derby and later a successful sire.

Fustok purchased the land for his 465-acre Buckram Oak Farm north of Lexington, Ky., in 1978. He sold that property in 2005 to California-based vintner Jess Jackson but remained highly active in the business from his racing headquarters in Florida. Buckram Oak has an office in Fort Lauderdale and also recently established a training center in Citra, Fla., on about 130 acres Fustok bought from the late Elmer Heubeck's Quail Roost Farm in 2005. The training center has about 40 horses on its grounds, an employee there said Thursday.

Fustok has about 55 horses in training, as well as approximately 30 broodmares on farms in Kentucky and Florida. His trainers have included Vladimir Cerin, Carl Nafzger, George Mikhaladies, Ralph Ziadie, Nick Zito, and, most recently, Richard Dutrow Jr.

Dutrow, who saddled Silver Train for Fustok, said: "I think it's a big blow for everyone that knew the guy. He had so many people depending on him, and he was a great, great guy. I wish there were a million of him out there."

Both Silver Train and Silver Wagon had been expected to start within the next several weeks. But Moubarak said Thursday that the family had yet to arrange plans for either the racing string or the Buckram Oak bloodstock holdings.

Fustok's brother Moustapha, Buckram Oak's president, said Thursday that the family had arranged to fly Fustok's body to Saudi Arabia by private plane for burial.

"We are completely devastated," he said. "This is a big loss to the whole family and to the racing family. He loved racing and everybody in racing."

Moustapha Fustok said that he had spoken to his brother less than an hour before the accident about plans for the Buckram Oak training center.

"He was looking forward to this year," he said.

- additional reporting by David Grening and Mike Welsch