10/17/2002 12:00AM

'Snowbound' favored


PHOENIX - The only time the 2-year-old filly First Snowbound ran in an Arizona Thoroughbred Breeders Association Sales stakes it was against males, and she lost. That was the only misstep of her career, as First Snowbound has crossed the finish line first in her four other starts, all against males.

On Saturday, First Snowbound will be favored in the fillies division of the $25,000 ATBA Sales Stakes. In the male division of the stakes, Johnny Is Bad faces up-and-comer Icy Tobin.

Both stakes will be run at six furlongs, with the girls competing in the seventh race, and the boys in the ninth.

While 11 fillies were entered in the fillies division, there's little doubt the race goes through First Snowbound. Trained by George Wern, she debuted in an allowance race and won, only to be disqualified. She then came back and lost the aforementioned ATBA Sales Stakes here in May, but since then has won the Yavapai County Futurity by seven lengths, an allowance race by 13-plus, and the Yavapai Downs Futurity at 1-5 in her last start Sept. 3.

This is the first time First Snowbound has faced only fillies. She's worked in sterling fashion for her return and looms a very short number under Vince Guerra.

Her main threat may come from Kiana's Star, a Clay Brinson trainee who recently graduated in her first local start while making her first start in 2 1/2 months.

Things are much less clear in the colts and geldings division.

While Johnny Is Bad looms the favorite off a romping 6 3/4-length allowance win here, he's by no means a standout.

Trained by Kent Jensen, Johnny Is Bad finished fourth in the Beau Brummel at Fairplex, surely a tougher spot than this race, but in the spring was beaten by Snowbound Bob, a horse he has to deal with again here.

Johnny Is Bad's last race, in which he earned an 81 Beyer Speed Figure, indicates he may well have turned the corner. Seth Martinez rides.

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