Rockin Nola, Indiana’s reigning pacing queen, has stepped onto the racetrack for the last time. The seven-year-old daughter of Rockin Image has retired just shy of $1 million over her illustrious career that included five straight Indiana Sires Stakes Championships.
Owned by J P Racing, which consists of Mike Johnson and Joe Putnam, and Linda Cox’s Suttons Bay Racing, Rockin Nola made her last start Nov. 11 at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. Her last win was in May of this year, also at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. It was her 42nd trip to the winner’s circle over six years of action that included 112 starts, a best mark of 1:48.4, and more than $988,000 in career earnings.
“She’s had some little things bothering her, but it wasn’t anything big,” said Joe Putnam, who has trained her from day one. “We would have liked to have gotten a million on her card, but we just didn’t want to push her over $11,000. It’s time for her to retire. She’s older and the younger mares are getting faster. She is already at Anvil and Lace in Kentucky and we have her booked to Sweet Lou, so we are looking forward to a colt or a filly from her in the near future.”
Rockin Nola’s biggest year was her five-year-old season when she won 12 of 24 races and earned her career best time of 1:48.4, which at the time was a track record for the fastest mare ever at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. The record was broken a few weeks later, but in that year alone, she paced nine miles under the 1:50 time barrier. Overall, she won in under 1:50 five years in a row, including a 1:49.0 win at Harrah’s Hoosier Park in May of this year.
Rockin Nola is the daughter of Gottogetoutmore, who took a mark of 1:52.2 and made more than $200,000. She had six foals, including a full brother, Jeopardy, who won in 1:51.2 and made $113,000 during his career. She was bred by Mahlon Lambright and was a $15,000 yearling purchase from the Hoosier Classic Yearling Sale.
Rockin Nola retires as the third richest foal ever from a long list of impressive performers by Rockin Image and the richest mare by the sire. The two horses listed above her on the most successful foal list includes the great Freaky Feet Pete and Little Rocket Man.
Rockin Nola teamed up with Joey Putnam as her driver when she was three and the two went on to earn many wins. They made appearances in the Breeders Crown together, and what made “Nola” such a fierce competitor was her ability to race on the front or come from off the pace, which she did many times on Hoosier Park’s long stretch to score wins.
Cheryl O’Mara, who has been with the Putnam Stable for more than five years, was the regular groom for Rockin Nola, also joining her during her three-year-old season.
Indiana racing fans will miss seeing the blue hood blazing down the stretch. Everyone will await the next generation of competitors from the tough racing mare. Thanks for the memories, Rockin Nola.