02/03/2007 1:00AM

Snowbound Halo rebounds

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PHOENIX - Snowbound Halo suffered his first career defeat when fifth in the Swift Stakes here last month but got back on the beam and stamped himself one of the top sprinters in the region as he impressively took Saturday's $45,000 G Malleah Handicap at Turf Paradise.

Owned by Gail Pickard and trained by Jimmie Pickard, Snowbound Halo sizzled from the gate, as usual, in the six-furlong event, which is named for the world-record holder at the distance. He dueled early with even-money favorite Diligent Prospect as the pair turned the race into a two-horse duell, finally got the better of that rival, and edged away late to win by 2 1/2 lengths.

He covered the distance in 1:08.06 under Jocelyne Kenny, and paid $9.20 to win. The winner's share of $27,000 pushes his career earnings to $57,600 from four wins in five starts.

Diligent Prospect battled gamely but couldn't match strides in the final furlong and had to settle for second. He was still three lengths clear of third-place finisher Prorunner. Family Guy and Bay Town Boy, the one-three finishers of the Jan. 6 Swift, both scratched, leaving a field of six.