06/20/2003 12:00AM

Beyond the Waves vulnerable


If morning-line favorite Beyond the Waves loses the $100,000 New Castle Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on the turf Sunday at Delaware Park, it likely will happen because this 6-year-old mare has forgotten how to win.

Class is no problem for Beyond the Waves. She has run first or second in 10 of 20 starts and earned $144,794 on the turf. Condition is no problem, either. She ran second last out, behind Lilac Queen in the Grade 3 Bewitch Handicap at Keeneland.

Beyond the Waves also has strong connections, trained by Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard and owned by George Strawbridge Jr., whose family raced the champion mare Waya.

But Beyond the Waves hasn't won since a race at Chantilly, France in September 2000. She has lost 14 starts since, including four in the U.S., reason enough to play against her on Sunday.

Two upset candidates loom large in New Castle's field of 11 3-year-old fillies and mares. One is New Economy, who also ran in the Bewitch, finishing fifth, only a half-length behind Beyond the Waves.

New Economy's turf record is as good as Beyond the Waves's - four wins and three seconds in 14 starts. Her earnings of $317,688 are tops in the New Castle field and her win in the Grade 2 LaPrevoyante at Calder in December is the highest-graded stakes win of any horse in the field.

New Economy was a shorter price on the board than Beyond the Waves in the Bewitch, but she's longer on the morning line in the New Castle - another plus for value-seekers. She also gets the services of leading rider Ramon Dominguez.

Another live longshot is Katzen, a lightly raced 4-year-old who has climbed fast through her conditions, winning four of five starts on grass and five of six starts overall.

Trained by Steve Klesaris, who has won with 50 percent of his stakes starters and 35 percent of his turf starters the past 18 months, Katzen ran her best race last out, winning the $101,000 Christiana Stakes at Delaware in September. Katzen hasn't raced since, but she worked four furlongs in a bullet 48.80 seconds on Monday, indicating she's fit.

Another outsider with a shot is Lady of the Future, who ran second in the Grade 3 Gallorette at Pimlico in May and is 3 for 4 on the Delaware turf.

If the New Castle comes off the grass, Alternate, 10-1 on the morning line, benefits most, based on her main-track record of four wins and four seconds in nine starts. Alternate was also entered in the Obeah on Saturday.