08/05/2008 12:00AM

Derek's Star comes off big figure


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Derek's Star took a big leap forward in his third race, rolling to a pacesetting maiden victory with a vastly improved Beyer Speed Figure.

A 3-year-old colt trained by Ben Perkins Jr., Derek's Star takes the next step Thursday at Monmouth Park in the $50,000 first-level allowance feature for New Jersey-breds at six furlongs.

"He's coming out of a strong race," Perkins said of the 2 1/2-length win that saw his Beyers zoom from a 38 to an 85. "He's a really handsome horse, and the first couple of races he looked like he really needed them for a little experience. In the last race, he showed the talent level we hoped he had."

Derek's Star debuted in early June, running third. He got bumped around in his second start, finishing fourth before being elevated to third on a rival's disqualification.

"He got stuck in a bad spot," Perkins said. "He was in behind horses and never really had a free run."

In the most recent effort, Elvis Trujillo sent Derek's Star to the front, and the colt responded with the dominant win.

Now comes post 11 in the 12-horse field for the first effort against winners.

"The 11 is pretty far out there," Perkins said. "You don't see too many win from there, but hopefully, with his speed, he'll get out and get over."

Trujillo has the return assignment.

Lucky James, another up-and-coming 3-year-old in the field, makes his third start. Owned, bred and trained by Eddie Broome, Lucky James won first time out and followed with a third-place finish in a first-level allowance.

Carlos Marquez Jr., the only rider Lucky James has known, has the return call.

There are a pair of entries in the race. Owner-trainer Jeanne Vuyosevich sends out Dreamy Moment and Serious Business. Dreamy Moment has the rail following four straight races on the turf, including a maiden victory at Atlantic City.

Serious Business, 1 for 23 in his career, is back with the New Jersey-breds after contesting a pair of open claiming races.

Trainer Buddy Carlesimo co-owns the entry of My Charming Phil and Danzig's Jade. My Charming Phil got his maiden win here in late May. Danzig's Jade was third against statebred claimers in his last two starts.