04/25/2002 11:00PM

Hough refills his empty barn

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JAMAICA, N.Y. - Stanley Hough, after taking a break from training for much of 2001, is back in full force with a 25-horse stable at Belmont Park, plus an additional 10 horses stabled at Saratoga.

Hough has been firing strong at Aqueduct's spring meet, where through Friday he owned a record of 3-1-1 from eight starters.

Hough, 54, has suffered through professional and personal upheaval during the past few years. Hough trained exclusively for Robert and Bea Roberts for about four years before the Robertses were forced to sell off their stock, which numbered in the hundreds, because of financial concerns in 1999 and 2000.

In his personal life, Hough was going through a more serious battle. His wife, Cinda, had breast cancer, which required surgery and subsequent treatments.

Without the Roberts' horses to train, Hough was able to devote himself fulltime to Cinda for the better part of 2001. He didn't return to training until late in July at the Saratoga meet when his wife began to respond to her cancer treatments, which are still ongoing.

When Hough returned, he was forced to build his stable from scratch and he only managed two winners from 19 starters last year. Those numbers are a huge contrast to 1999 when Hough won 80 races from 471 starters and had purse earnings in excess of $3.3 million, which placed him 20th in the country.

Just recently, Hough's stable received a big boost when Einar Robsham, whom Hough trained for before he took the job with the Robertses, came on board.

Robsham, who decided to consolidate the stock he had with other trainers, including Carlos Martin and Nick Zito, owns the majority of the horses in Hough's stable. The other runners in the barn are the result of a partnership among Hough, John Pastorek, and Team Canonie.

Hough, who is noted for his expertise with 2-year-olds, including graded stakes winners Caller I. D. and All Chatter, said it feels good to be back in the game at full speed.

"You miss training; it's in your blood," Hough said Friday morning at his barn. "You can't get too far from it. It feels fine to be back."

Carrero needs more time off

Apprentice Victor Carrero is out of action until at least Wednesday. Carrero, who returned to riding earlier this month after several months on the sidelines with a broken ankle, took off his mounts on April 19 and hasn't ridden since.

The rider's agent, Jose Morales, said Carrero was experiencing pain and swelling in his ankle and went for X-rays, which proved to be negative.

"The doctor said he needed to take a couple of days off and said [Carrero] probably did a little too much too soon," Morales said.

Since returning to Aqueduct on April 10, Carrero compiled a record of 4-4-5 from 40 mounts.

* Windsor Castle, the runner-up in the Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap on April 6, worked five furlongs in 1:00.02, handily, over Belmont Park's main track on Friday. A 4-year-old trained by Frank Alexander, Windsor Castle is being pointed to the $100,000-added Westchester Handicap, the opening-day feature at Belmont Park on May 8.