03/31/2011 3:52PM

2011 Kentucky Derby: Who's hot, who's not for March 31

Lou Hodges Jr.
Pants On Fire, with Anna Napravnik up, wins the Louisiana Derby.

Who's Hot

There were wholesale changes made to the top 20 list of Derby Watch this week, largely owing to the position of horses on the graded stakes earnings list, which will become of paramount importance as May 7 nears. There are five newcomers to this week’s list, headed by Pants On Fire, who won the Louisiana Derby last weekend, a victory worth $600,000. He is 25-1 on the future line set by Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form’s national handicapper. Also new to the list this week are Animal Kingdom (30-1), the winner of the Spiral Stakes, as well as Sunland Derby winner Twice the Appeal (50-1), Spiral runner-up Decisive Moment (60-1), and Tampa Bay Derby winner Watch Me Go (60-1). There might be better-regarded Derby prospects out there, but until they make more money, they are on the outside looking in.

Who's Not

To make room for that quintet, five were dropped, including Comma to the Top, whose trainer, Peter Miller, said this week that the Derby was not being pursued. Brethren, Machen, and Positive Response were all deleted because of disappointing recent performances. Flashpoint, who was on last week’s list and is entered in the Florida Derby on Sunday, also was dropped, because he has insufficient cash, and does not yet have proven form around two turns. Of course, that could change by Sunday night, but, for now, he’s the odd horse out.

On the Bubble

Nehro, the Louisiana Derby runner-up, just missed the cut this week. Also under consideration was Master of Hounds, who has the cash to get in if his connections firmly commit to the Derby.

DERBY WATCH: Florida Derby adds Flashpoint to the mix | Top 20 chart and video >>