by Evan Pattak
When Hanover Shoe Farms bred Western Ideal to A And G’sconfusion, it named the ensuing foal Adriano Hanover to honor Adriano Sorella. And why not? Sorella is one of harness racing’s most prominent owners with such stars as millionaire pacer Jimmy Freight in his portfolio.

Yet when Adriano Hanover walked through the sales ring at Harrisburg, Sorella passed up the opportunity to purchase him. Instead, that honor went to trainer Jim King, Jr. representing owners Jo Ann Looney-King and Joseph Palermo, who gave $60,000 for the youngster.

Now, Sorella must watch from the sidelines as his namesake tries to extend his career unbeaten streak to four in Saturday’s Tyler B, a $182,052 Pennsylvania Sires Stake for freshman colt and gelding pacers, at The Meadows. Adriano Hanover competes in race 8, first of three Tyler B divisions, leaving from post 6 for regular pilot Tim Tetrick. First post is 1:05 PM.

Here’s how Adriano (the horse) slipped by Adriano (the horseman). By the time the Harrisburg sale rolled around, Sorella already had purchased just about all the yearlings he wanted to buy.

“They told me they named him for me,” recalls Sorella, who is based in Guelph, Ontario. “I looked him over and even took a picture with him. But I was planning to buy only two Ontario-breds at Harrisburg. I wanted to get something ready for Andrew Harris to prepare and Richard Moreau to train, so I bought two for $100,000 each. Right now, Adriano is better than the ones I bought.”

Indeed, he’s marched through PASS and Arden Downs splits, both at The Meadows, and Jim King indicates his colt has improved with experience.

“He has kind of a bouncy gait, so we’ve been working on that,” King says. “I think he’s one of the better ones.  He’s eligible mostly in Pennsylvania this year, but he has a lot next year.”

The saga took an ironic twist when, in that PASS event, Adriano Hanover faced a colt named Aethon, who’s co-owned by none other than Sorella. Did that set up something of a conflict for Sorella? Root for the horse you own? Root for your namesake?

“I gotta cheer for the horse that I pay the bills on,” Sorella says. “But if I could ever get a piece of the horse that’s named for me . . .”

King responded in a similar light-hearted vein:

“If he says he’d trade me straight up for Jimmy Freight, I’m not up for it.”

At least we think they were joking.

Saturday’s card also features a $60,000 PA Stallion Series event for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers. On the wagering front, the program offers a carryover of $4,545.21 in the Pick 5 (races 2-6) and a $190.24 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5.