'Nola' Ready To Rock One More Time

Rockin Nola winning at Hoosier Park
Published: October 12, 2023 04:36 pm EDT

When her current campaign comes to an end, so will Rockin Nola’s career. But there is still an opportunity for the seven-year-old female pacer to deliver one more magical moment before leaving behind her days on the racetrack.

On Friday night at Harrah’s Hoosier Park, Rockin Nola will try for a sixth consecutive Indiana Sire Stakes (INSS) championship. The Joe Putnam-trained mare won her first at age two in 2018 and has added a title every year since.

Rockin Nola, who has captured 42 of 108 career races and earned a paycheque 100 times, also could reach $1 million in lifetime earnings on Friday. She will enter the $70,000 Indiana Sire Stakes final for pacing mares needing $14,853 to get to seven figures.

“We’re going into [Friday] with the hopes of seeing her do her thing one more time,” said Rockin Nola’s regular driver, Joey Putnam. “She owes us nothing, but, man, if she can get it done, I won’t have words. I’d love to see her do it. She’s been awesome.”

Rockin Nola, a daughter of Rockin Image-Gottogetoutmore, was purchased for $15,000 under the name Go More Rosey at the 2017 Hoosier Classic Yearling Sale. She has spent the majority of her career competing at Hoosier Park, where she has won 40 times.

This year, Rockin Nola has hit the board in 10 of 16 races, winning four, despite being hampered by foot issues. She heads to the Indiana Sire Stakes final off a second-place finish at Lexington’s Red Mile on Sept. 29.

She will start Friday from post two and is the 9-2 third choice on the morning line. Kobes Gigi, who will leave from post nine with Dexter Dunn driving for trainer Missy Essig, is the 8-5 favourite.

“We didn’t race her last week by choice,” said Putnam. “We trained her up pretty good. She’s had a great week. There are some really good mares in there, no slouches, but I’m going in thinking my mare is the best.”

Rockin Nola is owned by J P Racing and Suttons Bay Racing. The 25-year-old Putnam has been driving the mare since the third start of her three-year-old season in 2019.

“She’s been a blessing for me and the family,” said Putnam. “She’s created so many opportunities for me. She was the queen of the Midwest for a long time. She’s done very, very well for me at a lot of times when there were a lot of eyes watching. She’s taught me a lot, too; just helped me a ton. She definitely put me on the map.”

Hoosier Park hosts 10 Indiana Sire Stakes championships on Friday. Racing begins at 6:15 p.m. (EDT).

In addition to Rockin Nola, Putnam’s drives Friday include Lyin Eyes in the $250,000 INSS final for two-year-old female pacers. Lyin Eyes also is trained by Putnam’s father. The daughter of Odds On Equuleus-Miswave Hanover is owned by Putnam, J P Racing and Crazy Parrot Farm. She has hit the board in six of seven races, winning three.

Lyin Eyes will start from post five and is the 5-2 second choice behind 2-1 favourite Teelatini, who will leave from post four with Peter Wrenn in the sulky for trainer Roger Welch. Teelatini had a six-race win streak snapped by Lyin Eyes in an INSS division last week.

“We kept her out of the sire stakes early because everybody races hard,” said Putnam. “We didn’t feel she was ready to go big miles, although we knew she could. She has just kept improving. She is coming into the final with a good post against a very competitive group. We’re going to need a lot of luck, but she has a chance. It’s exciting.”

With Rockin Nola’s retirement approaching, Lyin Eyes could be a horse to help fill the void in the future. At least to an extent.

“There will never be another Rockin Nola,” said Putnam. “If we can have some horses step up and be half as good as her, that would be nice.”

Other favoirites in Friday’s Indiana Sire Stakes championships are two-year-old male pacer Noblesville, three-year-old male pacer Why Not Now, three-year-old female pacer Rollin Rosie, three-year-old male trotter Talent Scout, three-year-old female trotter Naturdays, older male pacer Ponda Warrior, older male trotter Adamsville Road, and older female trotter Jusmakinyalook. Adamsville Road and Ponda Warrior are returning champs.

For a free Harrah’s Hoosier Park program for Friday's card, click here.


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