06/15/2001 12:00AM

'Castle' has sights on Liberation


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Undefeated Castle Mountain will be gunning for her fourth straight win as the tries 1 1/16 miles for the first time in Sunday's $35,000 Liberation Stakes at Hastings Park. She will be facing five other 3-year-old fillies, and Catahoula Rose looks like the one she will have to beat.

Castle Mountain has gone to the head of the 3-year-old filly class with two overwhelming performances this year. In both races she used a powerful move around the stretch turn to take command at the top of the stretch and then just cruised home from there. She

won a $50,000 optional race by

7 1/4 lengths April 21 and then earned scored a 4 3/4-length victory over Queen of my Nights in the Supernaturel Stakes May 20. The only question she hasn't answered is the one regarding her ability to handle 1 1/16 miles.

"She's out of a Cure the Blues mare, and I don't think she'll have any trouble handling the distance at all," trainer David Forster said. "Besides, if you can teach them to rate they'll outrun their breeding, and she rates pretty nicely."

Catahoula Rose looks like the most serious threat to stop Castle Mountain's streak. She's won her last two starts, and both races were at 1 1/16 miles. She won

a $50,000 optional race by

2 3/4 lengths May 21 and then totally dominated an allowance field with an 11-length route June 3. "She's never beaten either Castle Mountain or Queen Of My Nights, but this should be her best chance because she's already had a couple of races at the distance," trainer Jim Brown said. "Kathy Bremner's filly [Inish Glora] could also be tough. We only beat her by a couple of lengths [May 21], and she had a lot of trouble."