12/11/2004 12:00AM

Travelator gets there by a head

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Travelator (outside) wins the Garland of Roses over Sensibly Chic (middle) and Forest Music (rail.)

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - For Gary Gullo, training horses is easier the second time around.

Gullo, who recently returned to training after spending about 18 months as a jockey's agent, saddled his first stakes winner in five years Saturday when Travelator took advantage of a wicked pace to get up in the final strides and win the $80,900 by a head over Sensibly Chic at Aqueduct.

It was a neck back to Forest Music, who held third after running an opening quarter in 21.74 seconds and a half-mile in 44.45 over the muddy track. Mariakel, Distinctive Kitten and Cologny, the 6-5 favorite, completed the order of finish. Trainer Bill Mott scratched morning-line favorite Ebony Breeze because of the wet track.

Norberto Arroyo Jr. rode Travelator, his fourth winner on the card.

Travelator was one of about a dozen horses that trainer Stanley Hough left behind this winter to be trained by Gullo, who quit training in April 2003 to book mounts for Jorge Chavez. Gullo went back to training last month and is now 2-2-1 from six starts.

Before the race, Gullo was concerned about how well speed was holding on the wet track. But when Forest Music exploded out of the gate and Cologny was forced to chase, Gullo thought his filly had a chance.

"It was a question of when they were going to stop," said Gullo, whose last stakes victory came in 1999 with T.N.T Red at Delaware Park. "Speed was holding up, but they were going way too fast. My filly really dug in."

Travelator, a 4-year-old New York-bred daughter of A.P. Jet owned by Our Sugar Bear Stable, covered the six furlongs in 1:10.64 and returned $19.60 to win.

* Our Rite of Spring ($4.10) overcame a stumbling start under Arroyo to circle the field and win the $60,750 Exogenous Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 1 1/2 lengths over Strategy. Our Rite of Spring, a daughter of Stravinsky trained by Jimmy Jerkens for owners John Confort and Albert Weiss, ran a mile and 70 yards in 1:43.75.