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2016 adirondack stakes preview entries and odds

A series of severe summer thunderstorms, complete with heavy rain and lightning, forced the cancellation of racing at Saratoga Race Course after the fifth race on Saturday, August 13.

Six races were cancelled, including the Grade 1, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap and the Grade 2, $200,000 Adirondack for 2-year-old fillies.

The Fourstardave will be rescheduled for Saturday, August 20, while the Adirondack will be rescheduled for Friday, August 19.

The Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes comes our way this Friday, August 19 (after being rescheduled) from Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York. A purse of $200,000 will be on the line for two year old fillies willing to go 6 1/2 furlongs on Saratoga's dirt track.

A field of six juvenile females will give it a go in the Adirondack Stakes. Here is a peek into the past performances of all six combatants for this Grade 2 stakes - none of which have posted a career win on this track.

2016 Adirondack Stakes Race Preview at Saratoga Race Course

Libby's Tail 2-1 - will hit the track for just the second time for trainer Rudy Rodriguez off a good win at first asking at Belmont Park July 2 - a race she earned a 77 Beyer Speed Figure. Libby's Tail was impressive in her only start so far and will be looking to remain undefeated from post 5 Saturday. Irad Ortiz rides this highly regarded morning line favorite.

Ever So Clear 5-2 - has one career start for trainer Steve Asmussen and it was a good one - a maiden score with a field-best 93 Beyer Speed Figure at Churchill Downs July 1. Ever So Clear was good in her only career start and hopes to be so again from the outside gate 6 Saturday. John Velazquez has the mount on the morning line second choice.

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Silvertoni 3-1 - Wesley Ward trained filly won her first two career starts in front running style including the minor Kentucky Juvenile Stakes against males at Churchill Downs May 5. She took her show to England where she finished a somewhat disappointing ninth in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at a very soggy Ascot June 14. She is the only stakes winner in the field and hopes to bounce back off a uncharacteristic effort - from post 3 with Joel Rosario guiding the third betting choice.

Nonna Mela 6-1 - has two career starts for trainer Todd Pletcher with a win and a second place finish - both at Monmouth Park. She broke maiden last time out July 2 by an impressive 7 1/4 lengths after a third in her debut June 3. Nonna Mela has been good so far and hopes to keep her upward trend going from gate 2 Saturday. Javier Castellano rides.

Olive Branch 6-1 - has two career starts for trainer Richard Violette with one win which came at first asking at Belmont Park May 18. Last time out was a somewhat disappointing fifth in her stakes debut - the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes on this track July 22. Olive Branch looks for her first stakes win Saturday with Jose Ortiz in the saddle from gate 4.

Dial Me 12-1 - D. Wayne Lukas trained filly will race for the third time on Saturday having posted one win so far - that coming last time out at Ellis Park July 23. Her debut was a fifth at Churchill Downs June 25. She looks for a breakthrough performance Saturday when she leaves from the rail with Luis Saez aboard.

Australian open serena v venus is fierce rivalry rooted in talent and love

Serena and Venus Williams played against each other at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in 1998. And guess where the match took place? At the Australian Open where they meet in the final on Saturday, with Serena the firm favourite at [1.24] and Venus [5.0].

Back in '98, elder sister Venus won in straight sets but, since then, Serena has come out on top more often than not. The younger Williams has won 16 of the sisters' 27 competitive matches. She was victorious the last time they met at a Grand Slam, winning in three sets in the quarter-final of the US Open in 2015. When it comes to career titles, Serena has 71 compared to Venus's 49.

Saturday's match will be the ninth time they have met in a Grand Slam final. Again, the younger Williams boasts by far the better record, winning six of their previous encounters.

The first all-Williams final

This was at the US Open in 2001. Twenty-one-year-old Venus came into the tournament as defending champion and swept aside opponents, including Kim Clijsters and Jennifer Capriati, without dropping a set en route to the final. Serena had a tougher time and was almost beaten by Lindsay Davenport in a gurelling three-setter. In the final, Venus retained her title in straight sets. Sixteen years on, you can get [10.0] on Venus 2-0 in Saturday's Aussie Open final.

The Serena Slam

Serena got her revenge when the sisters met in the final of the French Open the following year, winning 2-0. A month later, she pulled off the same feat against Venus at Wimbledon. Then, in September, Serena continued her sensational run by winning her first US Open, again in straight sets over her sister. This was the year that Serena announced herself as an extraordinary talent and she has had the edge over her big sister ever since.

There was no let-up in January when the sisters met in the Australian Open final 2003. Not that Serena had it all her own way in Melbourne. She was nearly defeated by Clijsters in the semi-final, with the Belgian 5-1 up in the third set and having two match points. In the final too, Serena had to show character, as Venus won the second set, before the younger Williams eventually prevailed 7-6/3-6/6-4 to complete the Serena Slam. You can get [3.1] on Saturday's final going to three sets.

A credit to sport

Following that three-setter in Melbourne, it was only six months until the next all-Williams final. They met at Wimbledon for the second year-running in 2003 and again Serena was victorious in three sets.

We had to wait another five years before they played each other again in a Grand Slam final, as the family rivalry was interrupted by, among others, Maria Sharapova. On this occasion, the All England club witnessed an upset, with Venus triumphing in straight sets. The following year, Serena got her revenge at the same venue, winning 7-6, 6-2, and that's the last time they met in a Grand Slam final.

Over the years, the Williams sisters' rivalry has been ferocious but always friendly. Both Serena and Venus will go all out to win in Melbourne on Saturday but there will be plenty of smiles and an affectionate embrace across the net at the end whoever is victorious. The Williams sisters are a credit to sport.


Tennis columnist Dan Weston's betting preview is here