It took less than a month to see the first dead heat of the season at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. Cult Icon and Shelly Rockwell could not be separated at the wire in a division of the $14,000 Mike Weller Memorial Saturday, April 16 for the equal performance in 1:51.1.
Cult Icon and Trace Tetrick used their inside post to their advantage and jumped out to the lead early, leading the way by open lengths at the quarter in :27.3. They were relentless in their pursuit of the lead at the half in :55.3, making it difficult for anyone to get out and make up any ground the first half. Shelly Rockwell and Brandon Bates were flushed to the outside around the final turn and began to make up a little ground but still had their work cut out for them heading down the stretch.
Cult Icon clung gamely to the lead as Shelly Rockwell began to chip away at the lead. It took a final quarter of :26.4 for Shelly Rockwell to get there but she was on even terms with Cult Icon at the finish line. The duo finished two and one-half lengths ahead of third place finisher Heidis Image and Joey Putnam.
Cult Icon paid $4.00 for her part of the win while Shelly Rockwell, the favorite of the race, paid $2.10. Cult Icon is an eight-year-old daughter of Bettor’s Delight. She is owned by Trent Stohler Stable and Tim Graber. She is a product of Fair Winds Farm of New Jersey. Stohler trains the mare, who earned her second win of the season.
Cult Icon has been with the Stohler team since the beginning of her career, and started out at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. She competed in numerous Grand Circuit stakes as a two and three-year-old, including a second place finish in the Courageous Lady at Northfield Park and has continued to keep her talents top notch over the years in higher end fillies and mares events. Overall, she has 38 wins and more than $400,000 in earnings. Her career best time of 1:50.4 was taken at Dayton Raceway as a four-year-old.
Shelly Rockwell is a five-year-old daughter of Time to Roll and is a homebred product by co-owner Marlin Fry along with Glen Hershberger. Fry shares ownership with Jeff Baker. It was the fourth win of 2023 for Shelly Rockwell, who equaled her best time ever in the race. She now has 14 wins in 63 starts and is closing in on $200,000 in earnings. After limited starts as a two-year-old, Shelly Rockwell really blossomed during her sophomore campaign, competing in the Indiana Sires Stakes. Walter Haynes Jr. has trained her for the past year.
Shelly Rockwell is the last foal from the mare, Norma Rockwell. She is knocking on the door of equaling her half sister’s tally of $259,000 in earnings. Genie Rockwell, a daughter of Always a Virgin, has a mark of 1:49.0. The family also includes Nora Rockwell, who earned a mark of 1:51.0 and more than $330,000 during her career. She is now a brood mare and has produced two winners in two foals with Rockable Image and Joker Rockwell, both Indiana sired horses, taking marks last year. She has a two-year-old filly by Rock N Roll Heaven named Angelina Rockwell that will be on the track soon for Fry.
Rock N Roll Heaven, former Horse of the Year, World Champion, and Hall of Fame inductee, stood seven seasons in New York. He will have his first foals in Indiana on the track this season. He has a dozen registered with his first crop.