Hightstown, NJ — After a season in which he was prone to missteps, No Lou Zing is finding his best stride this year. No Lou Zing’s display of winning talent is not a surprise to driver Josert Fonseca, who will join the horse in making the biggest start to date in both their careers in Saturday’s (Aug. 1) $375,000 Delvin Miller Adios final at The Meadows.
No Lou Zing, who went off stride in all three of his races last year and was shut down before summer’s end, has three wins and two second-place finishes this season. The gelding heads to the Adios off a third-placed-second effort in his elimination, which was won by Papi Rob Hanover in a world-record 1:47.1 last weekend.
Papi Rob Hanover was scratched from the final because of a season-ending injury, leaving Catch The Fire, also an elimination winner last week, the 3-1 morning-line favorite. No Lou Zing, trained by Nancy Takter, is 7-1 and will start from post five in the nine-horse field of 3-year-old pacers.
“I have a lot of confidence in him,” Fonseca said. “He doesn’t get tired at all. He’s got a great engine, he’s got great speed, and he’ll just go forever. I think it’s really an open race now that Papi Rob is not in there. They’re all even, good horses.
“You never know how a race is going to turn out, but if I can put him in the right spot, he’ll get down there just as good as last weekend.”
No Lou Zing is a son of Sweet Lou out of Terroronthebeach. He was purchased under the name Lou’s Beach for $145,000 at the 2018 Standardbred Horse Sale. He is owned by 3 Brothers Stables, Rojan Stables, and Caviart Farms.
“He was a very good-looking yearling,” Fonseca said. “He started training down and always looked the part, he looked beautiful, but he made unnecessary breaks and things like that. He could qualify OK just babying him around, but every time we put him in a race, he would make a mistake. He got a little tense, you could feel it right away behind the gate. He just needed more time.
“Training down this year in the winter, he grew so much more mentally and he got a lot braver and stronger. This horse is fast, he just had to learn and relax a little bit. We had to take our time. Before you knew it, he was getting better and better. We got a little more excited at the beginning of this year. We saw a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel.”
No Lou Zing started three times in conditioned races, finishing second to Splash Brother in his seasonal debut before winning back-to-back starts. He continued his winning ways in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes before his Adios elim.
“Nancy has done a really good job with him,” said Fonseca, a Takter assistant who has driven No Lou Zing in all but one of his eight lifetime starts. “I get along great with the horse. I think it’s very beneficial for him; I know his weaknesses and his strengths.
“He’s been in great spirits this week. I think everything is in order so far and we just have to execute.”
The 31-year-old Fonseca had no knowledge of harness racing when he began working as a groom for Takter’s father, Jimmy, eight years ago. Fonseca was born in Costa Rica, where he spent his early childhood before moving to New Jersey at the age of 8. He graduated from a high school located not far from Takter’s stable but spent several years working in a variety of jobs before a friend introduced him to the sport.
Fonseca began driving in 2018. He has won 27 of 158 starts, including four of 13 this year.
“Obviously, this is what you dream of,” Fonseca said. “Like I’ve said before, just to qualify a horse for anybody was a big deal and now I’ve been driving a little more. This is a great opportunity.”
The Adios is race 15, with an estimated post time of 4:02 p.m. (EDT). Here’s the field with post positions, trainers, drivers and morning line odds:
$375,000 Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids
1. Later Dudes-Brian Brown-David Miller-8-1
2. Capt Midnight-Tony Alagna-Andrew McCarthy-4-1
3. Catch The Fire-John Ackley-Mike Wilder-3-1
4. The Greek Freak-Ron Burke-Matt Kakaley-5-1
5. No Lou Zing-Nancy Takter-Josert Fonseca-7-1
6. Sweet Truth-Ron Burke-Yannick Gingras-12-1
7. Chief Mate-Tony Alagna-Scott Zeron-20-1
8. Captain Barbossa-Tony Alagna-Brian Sears-6-1
9. Elver Hanover-Ron Burke-Chris Page-10-1
Editor’s Note: Click here to watch a video interview with Mike Wilder, conducted by Wendy Ross, the USTA’s Social Media and Publicity Coordinator.