Updated on 09/17/2011 10:23AM

Traveling Playmera needs trip


STICKNEY, Ill. - Playmera has racked up plenty of frequent-vanner miles during the last year, showing up at five different racetracks to make her last 10 starts. That's plenty of trips for a low-level allowance and starter allowance horse, but the trip Playmera really needs to avoid is a wide one on Monday at Hawthorne.

Playmera drew post 11 in the featured seventh race, which is for second-level filly and mare allowance sprinters. But if jockey Nick Meza can find a way to save ground, the prolific Playmera - with 13 career wins to her credit - can notch another victory.

The 6-year-old Playmera was one of several horses owner Lothenbach Stable plucked out of the Turf Paradise meet two winters ago, and she had a great 2002, winning nine times and earning upwards of $82,000. Trainer Pat Cuccurullo handles almost all the Lothenbach stock in Chicago, but regularly sends horses to other regional tracks, and rather than serve as an absentee horsemen, he puts them in the care of a different trainer. Thus, not only did Playmera race at several tracks last season, she ran for four different trainers.

But her win record says Playmera is all racehorse, and triers like her seem indifferent to who saddles them or what kind of racing surface their feet hit. Playmera won at four venues last year, including an overpowering first-level allowance win at Hawthorne, and can improve on her close fourth-place finish here April 8, her first start since December.

At most, there's a fine line between Playmera and the other contenders in Monday's feature, and the favorite - probably Sparky Diamond - could go off at something like 7-2 or 4-1. Sparky Diamond has finished second or third at low odds in her last four starts: that's a mark of consistency, but also a signal that Sparky Diamond could regress soon. Others to consider are Flatline, Native Trinket, and Glenbriar Girl.

Talknow euthanized

Talknow, who rose from bottom-level claimer to stakes horse, was euthanized after suffering catastrophic injuries when he broke down Friday at Hawthorne.

Racing for a $100,000 claiming tag, Talknow was pressing the pace on the far turn in Friday's eighth race when he was pulled up in distress. Talknow was found to have shattered the sesamoid bones in his left foreleg and was put down shortly thereafter.

Talknow, 6, was trained by Tom Tomillo and owned by Tomillo's son, Tom, and Emilio Geloso. Talknow started his career with promise, but an injury in 1999 took him out of action for nearly two years, and, apparently cheapened by his ailments, Talknow became a claiming horse.

When Talknow showed up in a $5,000 claiming race in October 2001, Tomillo won a "shake" between more than 30 horsemen who had filed claims, and Talknow went on a tear. In 18 races for Tomillo, Talknow won 11, counting nine in 2002 alone. He won starter allowances, handicaps, stakes, and a Claiming Crown race last year.

"That kind of horse comes around once in a lifetime," Tomillo said. "It's a real disappointment for the kids that owned him. He put them in the business, that horse."