Baltimore native Larry Collmus feels less nervous this year, his second as the voice of the Triple Crown.

Even though he knows, going into Saturday's fairly open Kentucky Derby, he probably shouldn't be.

"Last year, the way it set up, it actually turned out 100 times better than I thought it would," the Mount St. Joseph graduate said. "By the time they turned for home, I could keep my eyes on the horses in front. This year, with the speed, I may have a lot of closers to watch."

That Animal Kingdom, a horse with strong Maryland ties, won his Triple Crown debut was gratifying for Collmus. He grew up hanging around the state's track, calling races into a tape recorder and made his debut in 1985 at Bowie.

"[Trainer] Graham Motion is one of the classiest people you can meet," he said. "It's always good to see Maryland, which has a lot of pride, do well."

Though he won't make a prediction about Saturday's race, he's impressed with Union Rags. Collmus is the announcer at Gulfstream Park, where the Michael Matz colt had his ill-fated ride in the Florida Derby.

"He's an aboslutely gorgeous horse," he said, "who simply had a brutal trip. I certainly think he's capable."

Pimlico bound

The only scratch for the Kentucky Derby, My Adonis, will race at Pimlico Saturday in the Canonero II Stakes. My Adonis was the first horse ever put on the also-eligible list for the Derby, but no spot opened.

My Adonis is the even-money morning line favorite at the featured Cananero II, which often sends horses to the Preakness and/or Belmont.