WELLINGTON, FL-Jan. 8, 2014––Grand Champions Polo Club-based pro teams Audi and Flight Options will open the 20-goal polo season this week in the Joe Barry Memorial Cup.
The three-week tournament features fourteen teams. Audi and Flight Options are among the favorites.
In last year’s final, Audi lost a hardfought 11-9 decision to Crab Orchard. Audi’s Nic Roldan was the tournament’s leading scorer with 32 goals in five games.
Flight Options, led by team captain Melissa Ganzi, is making its debut this season. Flight Options will open the season on Thursday at 3 p.m. against Las Monjitas.
“I am excited about the season,” said Melissa Ganzi, who will be joined by teammates Miguel Astrada, Freddie Mannix and Juan Bollini.
Mannix is a newcomer to the team this season but has played several times with and against his teammates.
Mannix is the first Canadian in 76 years to compete for the coveted Triple Crown and only the second in 120 years to compete in the Argentine Open making it all the way to the championship final with his Alegria team, Canada’s only international high goal polo franchise. Mannix is rated 9-goals in Argentina and 6-goals in North America.
Flight Options is among this season’s new polo team sponsors. Flight Options is the world’s second largest private aviation fleet that flies throughout the United States, Canada, northern Mexico, Cabo San Lucas and the Bahamas.
Las Monjitas lineup is Camilo Bautista, Geronimo Obregon, Eduardo Astrada and Alejandro Astrada.
The game will pit Miguel Astrada against two of his five polo-playing brothers.
“We grew up playing together and know each other so well it is always fun to play with and against my brothers, but I like playing with them more,” 9-goaler Miguel Astrada said.
Audi, coming off an outstanding fall season at Grand Champions, opens the season on Saturday at 3 p.m. against Faraway.
Audi is led by team captain Marc Ganzi, one of the world’s top-ranked amateur players. He will be joined by longtime teammates Carlitos Gracida, the son of Hall of Famer and former 10-goaler Carlos Gracida; Nico Pieres and Nic Roldan, both 8-goal rated players.
Ganzi, Gracida and Roldan are coming off back-to-back fall tournament wins in the USPA North American Cup and National 20-Goal Championship. Ganzi and Roldan also competed in the Piaget World Snow Polo Championships in December in Aspen, Colo., hosted by Grand Champions sister club Aspen Valley Polo Club.
Audi has a rich, winning tradition in polo which includes the 2009 U.S. Open title.
Faraway’s lineup is Hutton Goodman, Martin Pepa, Santiago Chavanne and Mariano Gonzales.
Other teams entered in the Joe Barry Memorial Cup are Coca-Cola, CT Energia, El Cabure, Los Machitos Heathcote, Orchard Hill, Palm Beach Illustrated, Tonkawa, Valiente, Villa del Lago/Casablanca and Lechuza Caracas, coming off Monday’s season-opening Herbie Pennell Cup victory.
The tournament is named after Joe Barry, a big-hitting 9-goal ranked American player, born and raised in Truscott, Tex., and one of the most well-liked in the game. He dominated polo in the 1960s and 1970s. The six-time U.S. Open winner was inducted into the Polo Hall of Fame in 1999. He also won three Gold Cups, three Silver Cups as well as Coronation and Camacho Cup trophies. Barry died on May 18, 2002 at age 58.
For game recaps, news, features and photos of Grand Champions Polo Club-related events, go towww.grandchampionspoloclub.org.
2014 HIGH GOAL SEASON
JANUARY 9-26: Joe Barry Memorial Cup
JANUARY 29-FEBRUARY 3: Ylvisaker Cup
FEBRUARY 22-MARCH 8: Iglehart Cup
FEBRUARY 14: National Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
FEBRUARY 16-MARCH 2: C.V. Whitney Cup
MARCH 5-23: USPA Piaget Gold Cup
MARCH 26-APRIL 20: 110th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championships
GRAND CHAMPIONS @ PALM BEACH POLO 2014 TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
JANUARY: Metropolitan Cup (5 goals); Aspen Valley Cup (8 goals); The Limited Edition 12-Goal Series.
FEBRUARY: Halo Polo Trophy (5 goals); USPA Cyril R. Harrison Trophy; USPA Sieber Memorial Trophy.
MARCH: Madelon Bourdieu Memorial (5 goals); The Limited Edition 8-Goal Series; USPA Regional President’s Cup (8 goals); $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament; The Top Pony 12-Goal Series; Santa Rita Abierto (16 goals).
APRIL: Las Acacias (5 goals); USPA Association Cup (8 goals); Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame Challenge Cup (12-goals); John T. Oxley Memorial Trophy (16 goals).
POLO CLUB SCHEDULE
JANUARY 20: Joanna Monaco Memorial Tournament
MARCH 17: Buzz Welker Memorial Tournament
APRIL 3-5: Fifth annual Gay Polo League International Tournament
APRIL: Women’s Championship Tournament
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 561-644-5050.
INFORMATION: There are great field side views for tournament action at the home base of pro teams Audi and Flight Options. Everyone is welcome to watch high and medium goal polo in a relaxed atmosphere during the spring and fall tournament season and other special events including the International Cup in November, Buzz Welker Memorial Junior Tournament in March, ProKidz Tournaments in the spring and fall, Women’s Championship Tournament and Gay Polo League International Tournament, both in April.