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Palm Beach Polo Wins PoloGear® Challenge Cup; Kris Kampsen Named Most Valuable Player

June 04, 2014 By: janwest Category: General

 Polo Gear co-founders and awards presenters Gary Fellers and Jeanette Sassoon with Palm Beach Polo's winning team of Kris Kampsen, Carlos Gracida Jr., Brandon Phillips and Glenn Straub.  Photo by Scott Fisher


Polo Gear co-founders and awards presenters Gary Fellers and Jeanette Sassoon with Palm Beach Polo’s winning team of Kris Kampsen, Carlos Gracida Jr., Brandon Phillips and Glenn Straub.
Photo by Scott Fisher

Wellington, FL – May 19, 2014 – Palm Beach Polo came from behind to capture the coveted PoloGear® Challenge Cup with a thrilling 11-10 victory over Pony Express on a sun-drenched Sunday afternoon at windswept Grand Champions Polo Club.

In a hard-fought physical battle, Palm Beach Polo (Glenn Straub, Brandon Phillips, Kris Kampsen, Carlos Gracida Jr.) erased a four-goal opening chukker deficit and three-goal third and fourth chukker deficits against Pony Express (Justin Daniels, Pancho Eddy, Tomas Goti, Bob Daniels).

Six-goaler Kris Kampsen was named Most Valuable Player after his Herculean effort playing twelve chukkers over four hours.

Most Valuable Player Kris Kampsen of Palm Beach Polo. Photo by Scott Fisher

Most Valuable Player Kris Kampsen of Palm Beach Polo. Photo by Scott Fisher

Kampsen played for his regular team Casablanca (Gene Goldstein, Grant Ganzi, Roberto Gonzales, Kris Kampsen) in the subsidiary round robin against PoloGear® (Melissa Ganzi, Guille Aguero, Alejandro Gonzales, Joey Casey) and Audi (Matias Gonzalez, Marc Ganzi, Jeff Hall, Lucas Lalor) and then filled in for Palm Beach Polo’s big-hitting star Tommy Biddle, who was hospitalized on Saturday with a medical emergency.

 In the subsidiary round robin, Casablanca's Kris Kampsen warms up for the final against Polo Gear's Joey Casey and Alejandro Gonzales. Photo by Scott Fisher


In the subsidiary round robin, Casablanca’s Kris Kampsen warms up for the final against Polo Gear’s Joey Casey and Alejandro Gonzales. Photo by Scott Fisher

Kampsen, rated at six goals, was a dominant force scoring six goals for Casablanca and four goals for Palm Beach Polo.

Against Pony Express, Kampsen played well defensively, turning back two Pony Express scoring attempts late in the game.

 Kris Kampsen of Palm Beach Polo tries to avoid the hook of Pancho Eddy of Pony Express. Photo by Scott Fisher


Kris Kampsen of Palm Beach Polo tries to avoid the hook of Pancho Eddy of Pony Express. Photo by Scott Fisher

“I got a phone call this morning at 7 to fill in for Tommy,” Kampsen said. “He was in a lot of pain so I told him I would absolutely play.

“Not knowing the horses you don’t know what you are able to do and not able to do,” Kampsen said. “Pony Express has been playing together the whole season and this team has been playing one way with Tommy. It helps that Brandon and I have played a lot together and that with Carlos we grew up playing Gracida polo.

“It took us a couple of chukkers to get incorporated with the four of us, but once we did it felt really good,” Kampsen said. “The fifth and sixth chukkers I felt really good. It’s great to win. Any time you can win it’s great, it’s a great feeling. No one wants to come to lose.”

 Brandon Phillips of Palm Beach Polo double teamed by father and son Bob and Justin Daniels. Photo by Scott Fisher


Brandon Phillips of Palm Beach Polo double teamed by father and son Bob and Justin Daniels. Photo by Scott Fisher

Teammate Brandon Phillips also scored four goals in the final and scored what turned out to be the tying and winning goals. Gracida added two goals and Straub scored one.

“Kris did a nice job filling in for Tommy after already playing six chukkers this morning,” said Straub, wearing a Miami Heat cap. “We started playing like a team and not individually.

“I am starting to learn a little bit more about this game,” Straub said. “It took me 17 years to learn to hit a straight ball. This sport is beyond a doubt one of the most complicated sports to learn. You’re lucky if you can learn one thing each season.”

Palm Beach Polo's Glenn Straub retains possession of the ball despite defense from Justin Daniels of Pony Express. Photo by Scott Fisher

Palm Beach Polo’s Glenn Straub retains possession of the ball despite defense from Justin Daniels of Pony Express. Photo by Scott Fisher

Pony Express, a 10-goal rated team, was the underdog going in against 14-goal rated Palm Beach Polo, but ended up playing tough.

Pony Express started off with its handicapped 4-0 lead which Palm Beach Polo erased by the start of the second chukker with Phillips’ tying goal at the 6:06 mark.

Pony Express regained the lead (5-4) with its first goal from the field by Goti with 6:19 left in the third chukker. Pony Express pulled away for a three goal lead (7-4) with goals from Bob Daniels and Goti’s penalty-three shot.

 Pony Express teammates Tomas Goti and Pancho Eddy try to mount an offensive attack with Carlos Gracida Jr. of Palm Beach Polo defending. Photo by Scott Fisher


Pony Express teammates Tomas Goti and Pancho Eddy try to mount an offensive attack with Carlos Gracida Jr. of Palm Beach Polo defending. Photo by Scott Fisher

Kampsen and Phillips played well off each other in the fourth chukker. Kampsen sent a pass to Phillips who scored on a well-placed cut shot to trail by 7-5. After Gracida’s goal attempt hit the goal post, Eddy came back with a well-placed pass of his own to Goti for a goal and 8-5 advantage. Straub scored in the final seconds to again cut Pony Express’ lead to two (8-6).

The fast and furious pace continued in an exciting fifth chukker where goals from Phillips and Gracida tied the game at 8-8. At the 3:54 mark, Goti scored to give Pony Express a 9-8 advantage but Palm Beach Polo roared back behind Kampsen.

Kampsen blocked Goti’s goal attempt and then turned around to make his way through a crowd of defenders with a great effort to score the tying goal (9-9) with 2:54 left.

Palm Beach Polo went ahead for good on Gracida’s goal with 6:47. After two missed Pony Express goal attempts, Phillips converted a penalty-two shot for an 11-9 lead. Goti scored the final goal with 10 seconds left in the game.

Carlos Gracida Jr. of Palm Beach Polo races towards goal with Justin Daniels of Pony Express defending. Photo by Scott Fisher

Carlos Gracida Jr. of Palm Beach Polo races towards goal with Justin Daniels of Pony Express defending. Photo by Scott Fisher

“We were very happy with our team,” Goti said. “It is very hard for a 10-goal team to play against a 14-goal team. We were right there, we had our chances. I missed shots. Our team is like a family. We were here to have fun and improve.”

Goti led Pony Express with five goals and deft mallet play throughout the contest. Bob Daniels added one goal and four goals were picked up on handicap.

Playing well defensively was Pancho Eddy and Justin Daniels, a freshman at St. Andrew’s School and at 15 one of the youngest players in the tournament.

“We did well in the first half,” Bob Daniels said. “Then all of a sudden we gave up the lead. We had some problems with shooting fouls today. We missed about fifty goals, I don’t know how. It’s just the way it is. We played well against a stronger team.”

Goti’s horse, 8-year-old mare Choppa Floppy earned Best Playing Pony honors.

Joey Casey of Polo Gear drives downfield between Audi defenders Lucas Lalor and Matias Gonzalez. Photo by Scott Fisher

Joey Casey of Polo Gear drives downfield between Audi defenders Lucas Lalor and Matias Gonzalez. Photo by Scott Fisher

PoloGear® won the subsidiary round robin tournament and Audi was runner-up.

PoloGear® had an impressive 7-6 win over Casablanca in which Melissa Ganzi scored a game-high four goals. Ganzi also had two goals in a 4-3.5 loss to Audi including a perfectly-timed 60-yard angle shot within nine inches of the goal post. PoloGear® was eliminated by Palm Beach Polo by one goal in Friday’s opening game.

“We were better today,” Aguero said. “Today we were a different team. Melissa was on fire scoring all the goals.”

Guille Aguero of Polo Gear all alone with the ball downfield. Photo by Scott Fisher

Guille Aguero of Polo Gear all alone with the ball downfield. Photo by Scott Fisher

The tournament featured polo families Marc, Melissa and Grant Ganzi; Roberto and Alejandro Gonzales and Bob and Justin Daniels.

“I like playing with or against him, it doesn’t matter, but I love playing with him,” the 19-year-old Alejandro Gonzales said of his father and mentor. It was the first time Gonzales has competed alongside his PoloGear®teammates.

Matias Gonzalez of Audi tries to bump Alejandro Gonzales of Polo Gear out of the play. Photo by Scott Fisher

Matias Gonzalez of Audi tries to bump Alejandro Gonzales of Polo Gear out of the play. Photo by Scott Fisher

“It was a pleasure playing with them,” Gonzales said. “These tournaments are great for someone my age and level. I am trying to improve every day. You improve your game by playing and that’s the opportunity I have. We played much better today than Friday where it was a little confusing. Today we were more of a team.”

Polo Gear co-founder Gary Fellers, who played polo for nearly forty years from zero to 26-goal, was pleased with the success of the two-day tournament. Fellers and PoloGear® co-founder Jeanette Sassoon presented the post-tournament awards.

“This was incredible, it is so exciting to come and see such a good game…up and down the field, passing the ball, running hard…it was very, very enjoyable,” Fellers said. “For this level of polo to see it so fast and everybody having fun is wonderful.

The coveted Polo Gear Challenge Cup on the Grand Champions Polo Club trophy table surrounded by Polo Gear swag. Photo by Scott Fisher

The coveted Polo Gear Challenge Cup on the Grand Champions Polo Club trophy table surrounded by Polo Gear swag. Photo by Scott Fisher

“We have had the PoloGear® Challenge Cup since the beginning,” Feller said. “We have been involved with Grand Champions for a long time. We will continue this and be involved with them at Polo West and Aspen. We are old friends with Marc and Melissa Ganzi and love what they are doing for polo. We are honored and proud to be part of it in any way we can.”

The five-team PoloGear® Challenge Cup was the fifth of six medium-goal tournaments of the spring season. The May 22-26 Memorial is the final spring tournament at Grand Champions.

PoloGear®, one of the top sponsors and supporters of polo established in 1993 and incorporated in Florida, manufactures, distributes and sells polo products to players, teams and polo events worldwide.

For more information on Polo Gear and to order products, visit www.pologearusa.com.

Photographs may only be used in relation to this Phelps Media Group press release.

Buzz Welker Memorial Polo Tournament Helps Sport’s Growth At Grand Champions Polo Club

March 28, 2014 By: janwest Category: General

Hope Arellano of Polographics outraces defender downfield on her Best Playing Pony. Photo by Scott Fisher

WELLINGTON, FL-March 17, 2014-—The Buzz Welker Memorial Tournament offered junior polo players of all ages and ability levels a chance to improve their skills and have fun at the same time Monday at Grand Champions Polo Club.

With more than 80 players, polo’s grass roots level never looked better during the Polo Training Foundation event.

More than twenty teams and 80 kids competed in the PTF Florida Junior polo tournament. Player skill level ranged from advanced to intermediate, lower levels and lead-line for young children.

“We are very happy with the progress,” said PTF tournament director Jennifer McLeavy. “We have had close to 250 kids play last year and probably more this year. We are growing every year.

Leon Donoso, 4, concentrates on hitting the ball during the lead line. 
Photo by Scott Fisher

“We are trying to focus on encouraging more lead line and getting the older kids to cheer on the lead line,” McLeavy said. “We had kids come over from the horse show for the walk-trot. They had never been introduced to polo before. This was their second tournament and they had a blast.”

Several pro and amateur polo players watched proudly from the sidelines as their children competed including Adolfo Cambiaso, Juan Bollini, Mariano Aguerre, Sebastian Merlos, Matias Magrini, Marc and Melissa Ganzi, Horton Schwartz, Leo Mandelbaum and Bob Daniels.

Lion Mandelbaum, 5, riding Christmas Tree, is looking at his saddle while waiting for his turn in lead line. Photo by Scott Fisher

“Coming to watch them play is one thing, you expect that of the parents,” McLeavy said. “What’s nice is to see them changing a kid’s stirrups, fixing their mallet, coaching them from the sidelines. A lot of these guys don’t change their own stirrups or tack their own horses up, but there they are for their little kids.”

Ten-year-old Landen Daniels is one of six boys who play polo in his family. He has been playing four years.

“I am happy playing today,” said Daniels, who scored four goals for his winning team Polographics. “Polo is fun and competitive. It’s hard when you first start out and a challenge.”

Jack McLean of Tato’s Mallets leans out of his saddle for the ball in front of Casablanca players Matias Gonzalez, Matt Cohen and Benji Daniels. Photo by Scott Fisher

His father, Bob Daniels, who started playing at age 40, couldn’t be happier with his sons playing in junior tournaments.

“It’s great fun,” Daniels said. “It helps me inside. There is nothing like your kid playing well in a tournament or winning a tournament for your inner feelings. It’s very gratifying.”

Older sons Justin and Benji have been playing alongside their dad during the Grand Champions at PB Polo season at various levels and also competed in Monday’s tournament.

Polographics player Hope Arellano, pretty in pink helmet, mallet and horse wraps, played tough defense during her team’s winning four-chukker game. 
Photo by Scott Fisher

“It’s great because they enjoy it,” Daniels said. “They have a lot of friends and meet very interesting people. You never know where it’s going to lead.”

Said Justin Daniels, 14, a freshman at St. Andrew’s: “This kind of polo tournament is a lot of fun. It’s not as competitive. We still want to win but if we lose we are cool about it. When I play with pros they are always giving me advice and telling me what to do. In kids polo, we have to make our own decisions and learn more.”

Casablanca players try to rally against Tato’s Mallets in the featured game final. Photo by Scott Fisher

Santos Bollini has grown up around polo. His father Juan is a former 8-goaler and older brother Juancito plays pro tournaments.

“Playing these kind of junior tournaments you feel like you have more responsibility and should do more for your team,” Bollini said. “I have played this tournament my whole life. It’s much more fun because you are playing with and against your friends.”

In the featured game, Tato’s Mallets (Jack McLean, Liam Lott, Lucas Arellano, Segundo Merlos) held off a late rally by Casablanca (Benjamin Daniels, Matias Gonzalez, Matt Cohen, Ian MacTaggart) to win, 4-3.

Casablanca’s Matias Gonzalez (2) battles for the ball. Photo by Scott Fisher

Tato’s Mallets jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the opening chukker behind McLean’s two goals and Arellano’s penalty shot. Gonzalez rallied his team with three goals but time ran out.

In the consolation game, Grand Champions defeated Red Barn, 2-1, behind Grant Ganzi’s winning goal.

Segundo Merlos was named Most Valuable Player and Mia Astrada was given the Sportsmanship Award. Grant Ganzi’s horse X-Box was named Best Playing Pony.

In the four chukker game, Polographics (Landen Daniels, Mia Cambiaso, Hope Arellano, Matias MacDonough Jr.) defeated Alex Photo (Poroto Cambiaso, Timmy Dutta, Kristos Magrini, Santos Merlos), 8-1.

Mia Cambiaso of Polographics shows her Most Valuable Player swing. 
Photo by Scott Fisher

Mia Cambiaso, daughter of 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso, was named Most Valuable Player. Santos Merlos earned the Sportsmanship Award.

Landen Daniels led Polographics with four goals and assisted on two others.

Grand Champions Polo Club owners Melissa and Marc Ganzi provided three polo fields, horses, umpires, food and refreshments from two food trucks, Miami-based Che Grill and Wellington-based Sweet Cravings, face painting for kids and entertaining announcer Dale Schwetz who helped spectators follow the various games, walk-trot and lead line.

Face painting was a big hit during the afternoon tournament for kids including 7-year-old Elsa Braden. Photo by Scott Fisher

Melissa Ganzi is secretary-treasurer of the Polo Training Foundation and big supporter of junior polo and attracting more kids to the sport at the grass roots level.

The tournament was named in honor of Buzz Welker, a former polo player who shared his love for the game with everyone. Before his life ended, Welker played in 16 countries and played with several celebrities including Prince Charles, the Sultan of Brunei and actor Tommy Lee Jones.

Welker died in 2006 at age 69. He was the founder and leader of the Franklin Polo Association and headed major polo clubs in Texas, Florida and Dominican Republic.

More than 70 junior polo players of various ages and skill level competed in the Buzz Welker Memorial Tournament. Photo by Scott Fisher

For full results of the Buzz Welker Memorial Tournament and more information on juniors polo visit the Polo Training Foundation website.

For game recaps, news, features and photos of Grand Champions Polo Club-related events, go towww.grandchampionspoloclub.org.

Game video and live webcasts can also be seen at PoloNow Network at http://www.polonow.tv/.

Players, lined up at Che Grill, worked up an appetite competing in the Buzz Welker Memorial Tournament. Photo by Scott Fisher

2014 HIGH GOAL SEASON

MARCH 7-23: USPA Piaget Gold Cup: WEDNESDAY, Valiente vs. Audi, 1 p.m.; Lechuza Caracas vs. Alegria, 3 p.m.; THURSDAY,   Butler Handicap Semifinals, Crab Orchard vs. Orchard Hill, 1 p.m.; Flight Options vs. Coca-Cola, 3 p.m.; MARCH 23, Butler Handicap Final, noon; USPA Piaget Gold Cup Final, 3 p.m.

MARCH 26-APRIL 20: 110th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championships

GRAND CHAMPIONS AT PALM BEACH POLO 2014 TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (HOTLINE 561-373-0073)

MARCH: Madelon Bourdieu Memorial (5-goal); The Limited Edition 8-Goal Series; The Top Pony 12-Goal Series; March 18-30, Santa Rita Abierto (16 goals); March 23-31, March 23-31, $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament.

THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE

TUESDAY: 12-goal, Hawk Hill vs. Casablanca, 3 p.m.; WEDNESDAY: 12-goal, Pony Express vs. Palm Beach Equine, 4 p.m.; THURSDAY: 8-goal, Equuleus vs. Tonchala, 4 p.m.; FRIDAY: 8-goal, Far Niente vs. Tonchala, 4 p.m.; 5-goal, Grand Champions vs. Elegante Polo, 4 p.m.; SATURDAY: 12-goal, Bracket Handcap Final, 1 p.m.; Bracket Final, 3 p.m.; SUNDAY: 8-goal, Hawk Hill vs. TLC Development, 10 a.m.; 5-goal, SLS Jets vs. Patagones Azul, 10 a.m. and Pony Express vs. Grand Champions, noon.

SANTA RITA ABIERTO 16-GOAL TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

TUESDAY: Equuleus vs. Goose Creek; March 21: KIG vs. Casablanca; March 23: KIG vs. Equuleus; March 25: KIG vs. Goose Creek and Casablanca vs. Equuleus; March 28: Goose Creek vs. Casablanca; March 30: Championship final.

APRIL: Las Acacias (5-goal); USPA Association Cup (8- goal); Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame Challenge Cup (12-goal); John T. Oxley Memorial Trophy (16-goal).

GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB SCHEDULE (561-644-5050)

APRIL 4-5: Fifth annual Gay Polo League International Tournament

APRIL 8-12: Women’s Championship Tournament

GRAND CHAMPIONS AT PALM BEACH POLO 2014 SPRING SCHEDULE (561-644-5050)

APRIL 17-19: Grand Champions Cup

APRIL 24-27: The USPA Spring Challenge

MAY 1-4: The USPA Sun Cup

MAY 8-11: The USPA Eastern Challenge

MAY 15-18: The Polo Gear Challenge Cup

MAY 22-26: The Memorial

GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB

WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.

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, medium and low goal polo in a relaxed atmosphere during the winter, spring and fall tournament season and other special events including 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.

USG FlexiVest

March 19, 2014 By: janwest Category: General

KL Select’s mandate is to feature ‘only the best’, and in line with that philosophy, they now offer the Flexi Protective Vest, nicknamed the “bodyguard”, one of the newest developments from USG (United Sportsproducts Germany). Dorothea Carters, Managing Partner at KL Select, remarked that when researching body protectors, “We were appalled that many of the safety vests on the market today are not ASTM approved or tested, and to avoid that costly testing are marketed as ‘vests’ – which is misleading to the American rider”. As trend setters, we here at KL Select recognize that it is only a matter of time before ASTM-approved Body Protectors are mandatory in certain competitions.

1
The Flexi vest offers the latest innovations in safety, comfort and fashion for riders. The vest meets the highest European safety standard – Level 3 EN 13158- 2009 and for US ASTM F1937-04, SEI approved. The ASTM Certification is a special production and only available in the USA. It has been proven and tested that wearing a body protector that is made of flexible parts, instead of one rigid form, gives the rider a wide range of motion and agility. The Flexi vest fits the rider like a second skin and does not hinder the rider or their performance in any way. The “USG Flexi” is ergonomically cut, fits every body shape and is very light. The cover material is stain–resistant and to clean the vest, simply wipe with a damp clean cloth. The hook and loop fasteners at the waist and shoulder allow for a perfect fit every time. A fashionable and functional cover with bow is included. “USG Flexi” is available in black for kids M – XL and adults in sizes S – XL. It is light and comfortable to wear providing much needed protection.”

MSRP is $238 (Adult) & ($219) Children
Contact KL Select info@klselect.com or 860 437 7232 (9 to 5 EST)

USA ends England’s unbeaten run at Hickstead

March 07, 2014 By: janwest Category: General

Team USA were the dominant force in the annual International Arena Polo Test Match at Hickstead on Saturday (1 March), beating England by 21 goals to 17.

 

England had not lost in the International Test Match since 2008, but their unbeaten run was ended when faced with the might of 10-goaler Tommy Biddle and team mates Patrick Uretz (5) and Will Tankard (4).

 

Within the first few minutes of the game, the USA had scored three two-pointer goals, taking the score to 6-0 – and the visiting team made sure they maintained the lead throughout. It was Tommy Biddle, who holds arena polo’s highest handicap rating, who got the scoreboard off the mark – and the goals just get coming for the American player.

 

By half time, the score was 13-6 to the Americans, but any hope England had of catching up in the third chukka was quickly curtailed by another impressive goal by Biddle, and the Americans went on to finish the penultimate chukka on a score of 18-9.

 

But England was able to close the gap in the final chukka, with England captain and Britain’s highest rated arena polo player Chris Hyde (9) and his team repeatedly scoring to close the game at 21-17.

 

American team captain Tommy Biddle paid tribute to his team mates after the match. “Our team played phenomenal,” he said. “I was a bit worried going in as I was playing with two younger guys who hadn’t played a lot at this level before but they were great. The other team

was tough – Chris Hyde is an amazing player but my boys were after him the whole time. We knew Chris was a great stickman so we wanted to open the game up and make him have to chase us down. My team mates did a lot of work – I just happened to score a lot of goals.”

 

It was the first time that the USA has been victorious in the Test Match at the All England Polo Club. “It’s fantastic to be able to captain the US team and represent our country, and we’re the first US team to win the Bryan Morrison trophy,” added Biddle. “This is the best surface I have ever played on. Hickstead has the best arena in the world!”

 

As the visiting team, the USA players rode polo ponies supplied by various players, included AEPC Chairman John Bunn.

 

“We knew we were going to be up against it as we mounted the Americans very well,” said England captain Chris Hyde. “For them to score three two-pointers within the first few minutes turned the game on its head and meant we were playing catch up.”

Images of Polo 2014 test match 3 (1)

photo by Imagesofpolo.com

The game was particularly special for Hickstead Test Match regular Hyde, as it saw the England debut of his teenage son Jack. “Jack is only 16 years old and it was a pleasure and privilege for me to play alongside my son, which I don’t think has happened before,” added Chris.

Alongside Jack and Chris Hyde, the England squad was completed by Pete Webb, who plays off a handicap of 7-goals.

AEPC Chairman John Bunn commented after the match: “The Americans came out all guns blazing, and they played fantastically. We’re really pleased with the turnout and were blessed with great weather.”

The opening match, the Hickstead 10 Goal Challenge, saw the Clogau Wales Polo Team (Ricky Cooper, Roddy Matthews and Richard Blake-Thomas) beat Team Hedonism Wines (Evgeny Chichvarkin, Royston Prisk and Eden Ormerod) by 12 goals to 9, making it a win for Wales on St David’s Day.

Audi Defeats Coca-Cola In Emotional Game; Plays Flight Options For Les Armour Cup On Sunday

March 04, 2014 By: janwest Category: General

Audi’s Gonzalo del Tour (2) stretches for the ball against defender Facundo Obregon (4) of Coca-Cola. Photo by Scott Fisher

WELLINGTON, FL-Feb. 28, 2014-—In an emotionally-charged game, Audi defeated Coca-Cola, 12-9, Thursday to advance into the championship final of the Les Armour Cup.

The noon game on Sunday will pit Grand Champions Polo Club-based pro teams Audi and Flight Options on Field 2 at International Polo Club.

Flight Options advanced with a thrilling 8-7 overtime victory over Lechuza Caracas on Alejandro Astrada’s 60-yard goal from the field with less than four minutes left in overtime.

Audi (Marc Ganzi, Gonzalo del Tour, Gonzalito Pieres, Rodrigo Andrade) and Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Sebastian Merlos, Julio Arellano, Facundo Obregon) players wore black arm bands in honor of polo great Carlos Gracida.

Gracida, 53, a player and coach for Audi, died earlier in the week from head injuries sustained in an accident during a game at Everglades Polo Club. Flags in the stadium flew at half-staff.

Audi team captain Marc Ganzi (1) defends Julio Arellano (3) of Coca-Cola. 
Photo by Scott Fisher

“Carlos was my teammate and my coach,” Audi captain Marc Ganzi said. “I hope today was a demonstration of our gratitude for him as a player and friend.

“It was really satisfying to be able to win for him,” Ganzi said. “Hopefully, we honored his memory today.”

Ganzi said during the game he tried to think of the “little things” that Gracida would tell him.

“He always used to tell me breathe going to goal,” Ganzi said with a smile. “Stupid things that would make me laugh. Sometimes you remember those things.”

Audi team captain Marc Ganzi (1) reaches for the ball in the air and drives downfield for one of his four goals of the game. Photo by Scott Fisher

An inspired Ganzi turned in one of his finest all-around games, scoring four goals and playing well defensively. Pieres led the team with six goals. Andrade added two goals and was outstanding on defense.

“I am happy we won, but it is difficult to say happy,” said Pieres, one of the world’s six 10-goal rated players. “It’s been a sad two days and it’s going to be a sad season because one of the greatest players ever is gone.”

Obregon led scoring for Coca-Cola with six goals. Johnston, Arellano and Merlos each scored one goal.

Despite Coca-Cola defenders Sebastian Merlos (2) and Facundo Obregon (4), Audi’s Rodrigo Andrade (4) leans out of the saddle to maintain possession of the ball. Photo by Scott Fisher

Audi dominated most of the game. After a 1-1 opening chukker, Audi pulled away for a 5-2 lead in the second chukker behind balanced teamwork (Pieres two goals, Ganzi one goal, Andrade one goal).

Coca-Cola reeled Audi back in for a 5-5 tie late in the third chukker after taking advantage of two Audi missed goals and penalty. Del Tour connected with Ganzi on a well-placed pass downfield to enable Ganzi to score with a minute left for a 6-5 halftime lead.

Audi’s Rodrigo Andrade (4) avoids the hook of Coca-Cola’s Julio Arellano (3). Photo by Scott Fisher

“I am happy that we won and we played good,” said Pieres, whose father Gonzalo Pieres Sr., an Argentine polo great, watched from the sidelines. “I think Marc had a great game and some great goals.

“Today felt better,” Pieres said. “The last game was really tough against Valiente where we started bad, but finished good. Today we started good. Our team ran well, we had velocity. It was a good game for us.”

In the second half, it was all Audi keeping a two or three-goal cushion lead to finish out the game.

Rodrigo Andrade (4) of Audi races downfield for one of his two goals of the game with teammate Gonzalo del Tour helping on defense. Photo by Scott Fisher

“We played really clean, really open,” Ganzi said. “We made very few mistakes. This is what we envisioned for the season. If we can spread the field and open the game up like we did today, we are going to be very, very difficult to beat.

“Today was a lot of fun,” Ganzi said. “Carlos would have enjoyed today’s game, open fun polo with all four players hitting the ball. Carlos always preached that-you’re always stronger as four than three.”

On Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., Gracida will be remembered by family and friends during a celebration of Gracida’s life at IPC’s 7th Chukker Lounge patio.

The Les Armour Cup is the subsidiary tournament of the C.V. Whitney Cup which will feature Orchard Hill and Valiente in the Sunday final at 3.

For game recaps, news, features and photos of Grand Champions Polo Club-related events, go towww.grandchampionspoloclub.org. Game video can also be seen at PoloNow Network athttp://www.polonow.tv/.

Audi’s Rodrigo Andrade (4) shakes the hand of Coca-Cola’s Julio Arellano (3) after the well-played game. Photo by Scott Fisher

2014 HIGH GOAL SEASON

SUNDAY: Les Armour Cup, Audi vs. Flight Options, noon; C.V. Whitney Cup, Orchard Hill vs. Valiente, 3 p.m.

FEBRUARY 28-MARCH 8: Iglehart Cup-MARCH 5, Semifinals 1, 3 p.m.; MARCH 8, Final, 1 p.m.

MARCH 5-23: USPA Piaget Gold Cup-MARCH 7, Alegria vs. Flight Options, 3 p.m.; MARCH 8, Audi vs. Orchard Hill, 10 a.m.; MARCH 13, Audi vs. Flight Options, 3 p.m.; MARCH 16, Orchard Hill vs. Flight Options, noon; Audi vs. Alegria, 3 p.m.; MARCH 19, Semifinals, 1, 3 p.m.; MARCH 20, Butler Handicap Semifinals, 1, 3 p.m.; MARCH 23, Butler Handicap Final, noon; USPA Piaget Gold Cup Final, 3 p.m.

MARCH 26-APRIL 20: 110th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championships

GRAND CHAMPIONS @ PALM BEACH POLO 2014 TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (HOTLINE 561-373-0073)

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).

THIS WEEK’S GRAND CHAMPIONS AT PB POLO SCHEDULE

SATURDAY: 12-goal, USPA Sieber Memorial Trophy Final, Catamount vs. Palm Beach Equine, Field 8, 9:45 a.m.; 5-goal, Halo Polo Trophy Final, Series B, Alianos Realty vs. SLS Jets, Field 10, 11:30 a.m.; USPA Sieber Memorial Trophy Handicap Final, Pony Express vs. Goose Creek, Field 2, 4 p.m.

SUNDAY: 5-goal, Elegante/Tuffrider at Patagones, 10 a.m.; 8-goal, USPA Cyril Harrison Trophy Final, Cypress Field, 11 a.m.; 5-goal, Custer Capital/Ganaraska at Patagonez Azul, noon.

GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB SCHEDULE (561-644-5050)

MARCH 9: Great Futures Celebrity Polo Match, 10 a.m., benefitting the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club of Wellington.

MARCH 17: Buzz Welker Memorial Tournament

APRIL 4-5: Fifth annual Gay Polo League International Tournament

APRIL 8-12: Women’s Championship Tournament

GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB

WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.

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, medium and low goal polo in a relaxed atmosphere during the winter, spring and fall tournament season and other special events including 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.

Audi Wins George Haas Cup; Nic Roldan Named Most Valuable Player

February 27, 2014 By: janwest Category: General

George Haas Cup champions Fred Mannix, Nic Roldan, Lucas Lalor, Grant Ganzi of Audi. Photo by Scott Fisher

WELLINGTON, FL-Feb. 24, 2014—Audi won its first polo tournament of the 2014 high goal polo season on Sunday at International Polo Club.

Audi, one of the winningest teams steeped in tradition, captured the George Haas Cup with an 11-9 victory over Faraway.

Audi (Grant Ganzi, Lucas Lalor, Nic Roldan, Fred Mannix) dominated most of the game against Faraway (Hutton Goodman, Martin Pepa, Santiago Chavanne, Mariano Gonzalez).

Audi took the lead (5-3) in the second chukker and never relinquished it for the remainder of the game.

Roldan was named Most Valuable Player after scoring eight goals and playing well on both ends of the field. Lalor and Mannix each scored one goal and the team picked up another goal on handicap.

Most Valuable Player Nic Roldan of Audi. Photo by Scott Fisher

“We stuck to our same routine, hitting the ball and playing the simplest possible, wide-open polo using all four players and it worked,” Roldan said. “We were very solid on defense. We didn’t give them any goals. We made them work for their goals. We stuck to the plan and had a blast.

“For me, I thought Lucas deserved MVP, he played amazing,” Roldan said. “A lot of people out there really don’t realize it, but when you are on the field, defensively he played amazing. He is a great player.”

The game also marked the 20-goal IPC tournament debut of Ganzi, 15, a sophomore at St. Andrew’s in Boca Raton. It was a memorable game for Ganzi, one of the youngest player-patrons in the U.S. to win a 20-goal tournament.

Audi’s Grant Ganzi (1) defending Faraway’s Hutton Goodman (1).
Photo by Scott Fisher

“I woke up pretty early this morning,” said the third-generation polo player. “I was kind of nervous because this was my first 20-goal game at IPC. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know how fast everything was going to be because I’ve never played anything like this in my life.

“I’m very happy. The team played well, my first cup at IPC, I can’t complain. It was a good win.”

Ganzi’s father Marc helped Audi qualify with a semifinal victory over Tonkawa. He sat out the final to enable his son, who regularly competes for Casablanca, to play in preparation for Friday’s Iglehart Cup opener.

Team Audi with Marc and Melissa Ganzi, Fred Mannix Sr., Li-Anne Mannix, Fred Mannix and wife Kelsey and daughter Brooklyn. 
Photo courtesy of Melissa Ganzi.

“It’s a great advantage being this young playing at this level,” Ganzi said. “I am playing with all these good players and they are great role models and telling me what to do on the field. It’s going to take me to the next level.

“Not every kid has this opportunity and I am very thankful,” Ganzi said. “Faraway played well. I don’t think they saw me as a patron, they saw me as a young player and treated me with respect and I appreciate that.”

His parents, Marc and Melissa, both avid polo players and owners of Grand Champions Polo Club, watched their son from the sidelines. His mom called the game “nervewracking.”

“My dad gave me advice before the game,” Ganzi said. “He told me what to do on knock-ins and to stay on the man, always hit backhanders and hit the ball once instead of so many touches.”

Audi MVP Nic Roldan (3) drives downfield for one of this eight goals.
Photo by Scott Fisher

Veteran players Roldan and Mannix smiled at the thought of remembering when they were 15 and playing polo. Roldan was the youngest player to win the U.S. Open at 15.

“This is huge for Grant, he played great,” Roldan said. “He didn’t make any mistakes. He hit a couple of good balls and back shots. When you’re young you want to go out there and have fun and I think Grant did that.

“If you want to succeed in polo the only way is to start young and play good polo at the 16, 18, 20-goal level,” Roldan added. “The more polo these kids play the better they are going to improve.”

Audi’s Fred Mannix (4) battles for ball possession. Photo by Scott Fisher

Mannix was playing at El Dorado Polo Club when he was 15.

“They had an 18-goal tournament going on there and I was actually playing with Mariano Gonzalez, my good friend Daniel Roenisch and Graham Bray,” Mannix said. “I think I had three goals. We had an awesome team. I remember playing against some great players.

“Obviously, Grant is the new generation coming along,” Mannix said. “I thought he played awesome today. On the field he knows where to be, he’s got the good positioning. We are trying to help him more with the fundamentals of how to be more effective on the field, but he’s a natural. He picks it up with one suggestion, he knows what to do.”

Faraway staged a late rally in the fifth chukker but was turned away by Audi.

Audi’s Fred Mannix (4) works the ball out of the air with Faraway’s Santiago Chavanne defending. Photo by Scott Fisher

“This was fun,” Mannix said. “The team is good. We enjoy playing with one another. Nic is a great player, he is one of the best American players that we have seen in a long time. He plays with heart. He wants to win every game, he wants to win every practice and that’s contagious. Lucas played very well and Grant made a great debut here.”

For game recaps, news, features and photos of Grand Champions Polo Club-related events, go towww.grandchampionspoloclub.org.

Game video can also be seen at PoloNow Network at http://www.polonow.tv/.

2014 HIGH GOAL SEASON

FEBRUARY 21-MARCH 2: C.V. Whitney Cup- Wednesday, Semifinals, Orchard Hill vs. Crab Orchard 1 p.m., Valiente vs. Alegria, 3 p.m.; Thursday, Les Armour Cup, Semifinals, Audi vs. Coca-Cola, 10:30 a.m., Lechuza Caracas vs. Flight Options, 1 p.m.; MARCH 2, Les Armour Cup final, noon; Championship Final, 3 p.m.

FEBRUARY 28-MARCH 8: Iglehart Cup-Friday, CT Energia vs. Palm Beach Illustrated, 1 p.m.; Casablanca vs. Los Machitos/Heathcote, 3 p.m.; MARCH 5, Semifinals 1, 3 p.m.; MARCH 8, Final, 1 p.m.

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 (HOTLINE 561-373-0073)

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).

THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE

TUESDAY: 8-goal, Tuff Riders/Tulum vs. TLC Development, Field 9, 3 p.m.

WEDNESDAY: 12-goal, Catamount vs. KIG, Field 10, 10 a.m.; Palm Beach Equine vs. Far Niente, Field 8, 3 p.m.; Enigma vs. Casablanca, at La Herradura Ecuador, 4 p.m.

THURSDAY: 5-goal, Aliano Realty vs. Elegante Polo/Tuff Riders, Cypress Field, 10 a.m.; Pony Express at Santa Clara, 4 p.m.

FRIDAY: 8-goal, Tonchala vs. Hawk Hill, at Las Palmas, 3 p.m.; 5-goal, Top Gun at Pony Express, 4 p.m.

SATURDAY: 5-goal, Halo Polo Trophy Final, Series B, Field 10, 10 a.m.; Halo Polo Trophy Final, Series A, 11:30 a.m.; 12-goal, USPA Sieber Memorial Trophy Handicap Final, Field 8, 1:30 p.m.; USPA Sieber Memorial Trophy Final, Field 2, 3 p.m.

SUNDAY: 8-goal, USPA Cyril Harrison Trophy Final, Cypress Field, 11 a.m.

GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB SCHEDULE (561-644-5050)

MARCH 9: Great Futures Celebrity Polo Match, 10 a.m., benefitting the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club of Wellington.

MARCH 17: Buzz Welker Memorial Tournament

APRIL 4-5: Fifth annual Gay Polo League International Tournament

APRIL 8-12: Women’s Championship Tournament

GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB

WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.

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, medium and low goal polo in a relaxed atmosphere during the winter, spring and fall tournament season and other special events including 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.

Far Niente Wins The Limited Edition 12-Goal Series Grand Champions At PB Polo Featured Game; Dorignac Named MVP

January 31, 2014 By: janwest Category: General

Hawk Hill's Gringo Colombres (3) drives the ball downfield as Michel Dorignac (4) of Far Niente marks his man. Photo by Scott Fisher

Hawk Hill’s Gringo Colombres (3) drives the ball downfield as Michel Dorignac (4) of Far Niente marks his man. Photo by Scott Fisher

WELLINGTON, FL-Jan. 25, 2014––Far Niente won its first game of The Limited Edition 12-Goal Series with an impressive 12-8 victory over Hawk Hill Saturday in front of a packed house at Grand Champions Polo Club.

Far Niente (Gene Goldstein, Michael Bellissimo, Michel Dorignac, Tommy Collingwood) led from start-to-finish and quickly built a 6-1 lead after two chukkers.

 Winning Far Niente team Tommy Collingwood, Michel Dorignac, Gene Goldstein, Michael Bellissimo. Photo by Scott Fisher


Winning Far Niente team Tommy Collingwood, Michel Dorignac, Gene Goldstein, Michael Bellissimo. Photo by Scott Fisher

“I couldn’t be more happy,” Dorignac said. “We took it really serious and played well as a team. We were focused from the beginning. Everyone did a great job out there.”

Hawk Hill (Phillip MacTaggart, Gringo Colombres, Juan Monteverde, Agustin Arellano) rallied to come within two goals to finish the third chukker trailing by only two, 7-5, at the half.

“I figured that they were going to get their momentum which they did,” Dorignac said. “We just calmed down and never lost our patience. We played hard for the rest of the game. That was the key, we never gave up.”

 Most Valuable Player Michel Dorignac of Far Niente. Photo by Scott Fisher


Most Valuable Player Michel Dorignac of Far Niente. Photo by Scott Fisher

Dorignac was named Most Valuable Player after scoring a game-high seven goals, including five on penalty shots.

“This was great fun,” Dorignac said. “This was our first time with a full team. This is such a competitive league. It’s a combination of the players, horses and fields.

“I have to say thank you to Marc and Melissa Ganzi, thanks to them we wouldn’t be here, they have done a great job,” Dorignac said. “We all have to be very grateful.”

Bellissimo added two goals for Far Niente and Goldstein and Collingwood each had one goal.

 Far Niente's Michael Bellissimo (1) chases down Juan Monteverde (4) of Hawk Hill. Photo by Scott Fisher


Far Niente’s Michael Bellissimo (1) chases down Juan Monteverde (4) of Hawk Hill. Photo by Scott Fisher

After missing the first two games, Bellissimo rejoined the lineup and had one of his career-best games, playing well on both ends of the field.

“It was great fun,” Dorignac said. “I am so happy we could finally get to play with our full team. Unfortunately, Michael couldn’t play the first two games so we had to use two different substitutes. This was the first time we played together and it worked out good.”

Collingwood and Bellissimo have played together for five years. The team chemistry was evident from the opening chukker.

Far Niente's Tommy Collingwood (3) controls the ball despite defensive pressure from Gringo Colombres (3). Photo by Scott Fisher

Far Niente’s Tommy Collingwood (3) controls the ball despite defensive pressure from Gringo Colombres (3). Photo by Scott Fisher

“I am very happy with the game, we know each other really well and we have been playing team practices a lot,” said Collingwood, a 2009 Wellington High alum. “He played a hell of a game today.

“The idea was to get Michael the ball as much as we could,” Collingwood said. “Michel and I play more together, we take our time and release the ball when we need to and it worked. It’s great playing with Michel, he is a great sportsman and great team player and he uses you no matter what your handicap is.”

Michel Dorignac (4) of Far Niente works the ball out of the air behind his defender Gringo Colombres (3) of Hawk Hill. Photo by Scott Fisher

Michel Dorignac (4) of Far Niente works the ball out of the air behind his defender Gringo Colombres (3) of Hawk Hill. Photo by Scott Fisher

For Hawk Hill, MacTaggart was given the Sportsmanship Award and was thrilled walking off with a new saddle.

“It was fun,” MacTaggart said. “If we played like we did in the third and sixth chukker we would have won. We always have fun. It was a good, well-played match. You always play like it’s 0-0.”

 Far Niente's Gene Goldstein (2) trying to slow down Hawk Hill's Juan Monteverde (4). Photo by Scott Fisher


Far Niente’s Gene Goldstein (2) trying to slow down Hawk Hill’s Juan Monteverde (4). Photo by Scott Fisher

Teammates Monteverde and Arellano each scored three goals and Colombres added two goals.

The semifinals of The Limited Edition 12-Goal Series will be played on Wednesday.

For the second consecutive weekend, instant replay was used. Both teams used their one challenge with Hawk Hill winning its challenge in the fifth chukker at the 3:07 mark and Far Niente losing its challenge with 2:58 left in the fourth chukker.

Eric Monahan operates one of the on-field cameras for Grand Champions' state-of-the-art instant replay system. Photo by Scott Fisher

Eric Monahan operates one of the on-field cameras for Grand Champions’ state-of-the-art instant replay system. Photo by Scott Fisher

Grand Champions is the first polo club worldwide to utilize the state-of-art instant replay to help improve officiating.

Grand Champions also live-streamed the game for fans at polonow.com.

After the game, Grand Champions provided an asado by Cilantro’s owner Herman Moreira for all tournament participants and fans.

  Cilantro's owner Herman Moreira fires up the charcoal for the weekly asado at Grand Champions. Photo by Scott Fisher


Cilantro’s owner Herman Moreira fires up the charcoal for the weekly asado at Grand Champions. Photo by Scott Fisher

In other Grand Champions at PB Polo games:

The Limited Edition 12-Goal Series: Las Monjitas 10, TLC Development 8. Alejandro Novillo Astrada led scoring with six goals.

The Limited Edition 12-Goal Series: Casablanca 15, KIG 6. Miguel Novillo Astrada led scoring with seven goals for Casablanca that led the entire game including 7-3 at the half.

 Fans check out the latest in polo fashion at the Grand Champions Boutique. Photo by Scott Fisher


Fans check out the latest in polo fashion at the Grand Champions Boutique. Photo by Scott Fisher

Aspen Valley Cup 8-Goal: KIG 6, TLC Development 4. Wesley Uys and Chris Nevins each had two goals. Nevins scored the tying and winning goals. Kris Kampsen had three goals for TLC.

Aspen Valley Cup 8-Goal: Tonchala 13, PB Equine/Odosan 11. Tavi Usandizaga scored six goals including his team’s final three goals. Matt Coppola scored a game-high seven goals.

Aspen Valley Cup 8-Goal: PB Equine/Odosan 13, Tuff Riders 9. Matt Coppola led scoring with eight goals for the winning team. Jared Zenni had five goals for Tuff Riders.

Aspen Valley Cup 8-Goal: La Casa Hermosa 14, Tonchala 9. Hector Galindo led La Casa Hermosa with eight goals. Tavi Usandizaga had six goals for Tonchala.

Metropolitan Cup 5-Goal: Pony Express 9, Santa Clara 8. Benjamin Daniels scored three goals including the game-winner. Nico and Luis Escobar each had three goals for Santa Clara.

Metropolitan Cup 5-Goal: Grand Champions 12, Patagones 7. Julio Ezcurra scored seven goals to lead Grand Champions. Juan Olivera added four goals.

For game recaps, news, features and photos of Grand Champions Polo Club-related events, go towww.grandchampionspoloclub.org.

 Far Niente's Gene Goldstein (2) drives downfield for a goal.  Photo by Scott Fisher


Far Niente’s Gene Goldstein (2) drives downfield for a goal.
Photo by Scott Fisher

2014 HIGH GOAL SEASON

JANUARY 26: Bobby Barry Cup Final, Flight Options vs. Orchard Hill, Field 2, noon; Joe Barry Memorial Cup, Valiente vs. Tonkawa, 3 p.m.

JANUARY 30-FEBRUARY 23: 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

Michael Bellissimo (1) of Far Niente pursues the ball despite Gringo Colombres (3) of Hawk Hill pressuring. Photo by Scott Fisher

Michael Bellissimo (1) of Far Niente pursues the ball despite Gringo Colombres (3) of Hawk Hill pressuring. Photo by Scott Fisher

GRAND CHAMPIONS @ PALM BEACH POLO 2014 TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (HOTLINE 561-373-0073)

JANUARY: Metropolitan Cup (5 goals); Aspen Valley Cup (8 goals); The Limited Edition 12-Goal Series; Friday Night Under The Lights Arena Polo.

FEBRUARY: Halo Polo Trophy (5 goals); USPA Cyril R. Harrison Trophy; USPA Sieber Memorial Trophy; Friday Night Under The Lights Arena Polo.

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).

GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB SCHEDULE (561-644-5050)

MARCH 9: Great Futures Celebrity Polo Match, 10 a.m., benefitting the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club of Wellington.

MARCH 17: Buzz Welker Memorial Tournament

APRIL 3-5: Fifth annual Gay Polo League International Tournament

APRIL 8-12: Women’s Championship Tournament

GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB

WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington.

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, medium and low goal polo in a relaxed atmosphere during the winter, spring and fall tournament season and other special events including 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.

Casablanca Defeats Las Monjitas In Grand Champions Limited Edition 12-Goal Series, Instant Replay Makes Debut

January 23, 2014 By: janwest Category: General

Casablanca's Miguel Astrada (3) chases down his younger brother Alejandro (Negro) Astrada (3) with the ball. Photo by Scott Fisher

Casablanca’s Miguel Astrada (3) chases down his younger brother Alejandro (Negro) Astrada (3) with the ball. Photo by Scott Fisher

WELLINGTON, FL-Jan. 18, 2014—-Casablanca won a hardfought 11-10 victory over Las Monjitas Saturday to remain undefeated in the Limited Edition 12-Goal Series at Grand Champions Polo Club.

Casablanca’s Miguel Novillo Astrada scored six goals including the game-winner with 1:14 left and was named Most Valuable Player.

 Most Valuable Player Miguel Novillo Astrada of Casablanca led scoring with six goals. Photo by Scott Fisher


Most Valuable Player Miguel Novillo Astrada of Casablanca led scoring with six goals. Photo by Scott Fisher

“It was a very good, tough game,” Astrada said. “We were good the first half which I think helped us. We knew they were going to come back in the second half. We just kept being disciplined and got a couple of calls that helped us secure the game.”

 Casablanca's MVP Miguel Astrada (3) looks for the ball near his horse's hoof as Las Monjitas defenders move in. Photo by Scott Fisher


Casablanca’s MVP Miguel Astrada (3) looks for the ball near his horse’s hoof as Las Monjitas defenders move in. Photo by Scott Fisher

Moonshine, ridden by Alejandro (Negro) Astrada in the opening chukker, was named Best Playing Pony. Astrada scored a game-high seven goals.

Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Miguel Astrada, Wes Finlayson) was tested by Las Monjitas (Camilo Bautista, Mattias Llanos, Alejandro (Negro) Astrada, Peke Gonzalez) for most of the game.

The Saturday feature game in front of a packed house marked the debut of instant replay, utilized for the first time in the sport. It met with rave reviews from players and officials and will continue to be used every week in the feature game at Grand Champions.

“It was a significant day for our club and for polo. I am really happy and pleased with the outcome of our instant replay and our challenge rule we established today,” said Grand Champions owner Melissa Ganzi, a driving force behind the introduction of instant replay in the sport.

Casablanca's Miguel Astrada (3) battles for ball possession with brother Alejandro (Negro) Astrada (3). Photo by Scott Fisher

Casablanca’s Miguel Astrada (3) battles for ball possession with brother Alejandro (Negro) Astrada (3). Photo by Scott Fisher

For Casablanca, it was only the second time Ganzi, Bollini and Finlayson played alongside Astrada, a 9-goaler.

“I like playing with them very much,” Astrada said. “They are very nice kids. They try very hard. They are willing to listen to what I say and to learn.”

Ganzi added two goals and played well defensively.

“It was a good win, we could have played maybe a little bit better but it was a good win,” Ganzi said. “They were a tough team. Negro is an outstanding player and has been playing very well this season in the 20-goal so it’s a good accomplishment to beat him.”

Casablanca teammates Wes Finlayson (4) and Miguel Astrada (3) pressure Matias Llanos of Las Monjitas (2) trying to maintain possession.  Photo by Scott FIsher

Casablanca teammates Wes Finlayson (4) and Miguel Astrada (3) pressure Matias Llanos of Las Monjitas (2) trying to maintain possession.
Photo by Scott FIsher

Casablanca and Las Monjitas tied in the first chukker (3-3) and Casablanca took a 5-4 lead after the second chukker before Casablanca shut out Las Monjitas, 2-0, in the third chukker to take a 7-4 halftime lead.

“It was probably one of the more important games in this tournament mainly because the other team is very hard and don’t normally lose games,” Finlayson said. “We ended up coming back and doing well. It was a good experience for us. I really enjoy playing with Miguel a lot.”

Las Monjitas' Alejandro (Negro) Astrada (3) avoids foul against Casablanca's Juancito Bollini (2). Photo by Scott Fisher

Las Monjitas’ Alejandro (Negro) Astrada (3) avoids foul against Casablanca’s Juancito Bollini (2). Photo by Scott Fisher

Las Monjitas kept it close in the second half coming within one goal in the fifth and sixth chukkers. Negro Astrada scored a penalty-two with eight seconds remaining but time ran out for a comeback.

“It was a fast game, much faster than the 8-goal,” Bollini said. “The game was fun. It was a change from one day to another. This was really a tough team. It was amazing playing with Miguel. He teaches you so much. He makes you think more and work more. We won because we took the man and let Miguel do his magic.”

Las Monjitas team captain Camilo Bautista, who missed last season because of knee surgery and since then has lost 80 pounds, said the game could have gone either way.

Las Monjitas team captain Camilo Bautista (1) tries to break away with the ball from Casablanca's Miguel Astrada (3). Photo by Scott Fisher

Las Monjitas team captain Camilo Bautista (1) tries to break away with the ball from Casablanca’s Miguel Astrada (3). Photo by Scott Fisher

“It was a good, well-played game,” Bautista said. “It was a tough game, having Miguel with three young kids. Now I have to go and get some rest. It was difficult.”

Bautista is also playing the 20-goal with teammates Geronimo Obregon and brothers Eduardo and Alejandro (Negro) Astrada.

Awards presenter Tracy Schwartz hands out trophies to Casablanca players Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Miguel Astrada, Wes Finlayson and Las Monjitas players Camilo Bautista, Matias Llanos, Alejandro Astrada and Peke Gonzalez. Photo by Scott Fisher

Awards presenter Tracy Schwartz hands out trophies to Casablanca players Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Miguel Astrada, Wes Finlayson and Las Monjitas players Camilo Bautista, Matias Llanos, Alejandro Astrada and Peke Gonzalez. Photo by Scott Fisher

“I enjoy polo and this helps getting in shape and form,” Bautista said. “I try to play as much as possible when I am here. This is very competitive in 12 goals. They make you work too much.”

Winning team Casablanca Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Miguel Astrada and Wes Finlayson hold the winning trophy for the featured game of the 12-Goal Limited Edition Series. Photo by Scott Fisher

Winning team Casablanca Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Miguel Astrada and Wes Finlayson hold the winning trophy for the featured game of the 12-Goal Limited Edition Series. Photo by Scott Fisher

Miguel Astrada toppled off his horse in the fourth chukker but returned to the game uninjured after getting the wind knocked out of him when his body hit the field.

Players and fans were treated to a post-game asado provided by Cilantro’s Gourmet Deli owner Herman Moreira.

Cilantro's Gourmet Deli owner Herman Moreira puts the finishing spices on an assortment of meat served at Grand Champions post-game asado. Photo by Scott Fisher

Cilantro’s Gourmet Deli owner Herman Moreira puts the finishing spices on an assortment of meat served at Grand Champions post-game asado. Photo by Scott Fisher

In other Grand Champions at PB Polo action:

Limited Edition 12-Goal Series: Goose Creek 11, Far Niente 10, Cote Zeggers led scoring with six goals including the game-winner in the sixth chukker. Teammates Maureen Brennan and Lucas Arellano each had two goals and Tano Vial added one. Michel Dorignac had six goals for Far Niente.

Aspen Valley Cup 8-Goal: Tonchala 14, New Chance Polo 10, Tavi Usandizaga led all scoring with a game-high 11 goals. Nacho Acuna had five goals for New Chance Polo.

Aspen Valley Cup 8-Goal: KIG 9, Grand Champions 7, Mattias Sosa led KIG scoring with five goals and Wesley Uys scored two goals in the final chukker to clinch the game. Grant Ganzi led Grand Champions scoring with three goals.

A full house enjoys the Saturday feature game between Casablanca and Las Monjitas at Grand Champions Polo Club. Photo by Scott Fisher

A full house enjoys the Saturday feature game between Casablanca and Las Monjitas at Grand Champions Polo Club. Photo by Scott Fisher

Aspen Valley Cup 8-Goal: La Casa Hermosa 13, Palm Beach Equine/Odosan 10, Hector Galindo had six goals and Brad Blake scored five to lead La Casa Hermosa. Matt Coppola led PB Equine/Odosan with seven goals.

Aspen Valley Cup 8-Goal: Hawk Hill 13, TLC Development 9, Peke Gonzalez and Gringo Colombres each scored five goals for Hawk Hill.

Metropolitan Cup 5-Goal: Elegante Polo 7, Santa Clara 6: Omar Sosa led all scoring with four goals.

For game recaps, news, features and photos of Grand Champions Polo Club-related events, go towww.grandchampionspoloclub.org.

Polo fans checking out the apparel at the Grand Champions Boutique. Photo by Scott Fisher

Polo fans checking out the apparel at the Grand Champions Boutique. Photo by Scott Fisher

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).

GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB SCHEDULE

JANUARY 20: Joanna Monaco Memorial Tournament, noon.

MARCH 9: Great Futures Celebrity Polo Match, 10 a.m., benefitting Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club of Wellington.

MARCH 17: Buzz Welker Memorial Tournament

APRIL 3-5: Fifth annual Gay Polo League International Tournament

APRIL 8-12: Women’s Championship Tournament

GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB

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, medium and low goal polo in a relaxed atmosphere during the winter, spring and fall tournament season and other special events including 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.

St. Regis Defeats Audi To Win Piaget World Snow Polo Championship; Roldan Named MVP

December 23, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

 

ASPEN, COLO.–Dec. 20, 2013—In front of a large hometown crowd and sold out VIP tent, St. Regis defeated Audi, 1-0, Friday to capture the Piaget World Snow Polo Championship at historic Wagner Park.

Piaget teammates Gonzalito Pieres (3) and Marc Ganzi (1) battle Nacho Figueras (3) of St. Regis for the ball. Photo by Gary Hubbell

Piaget teammates Gonzalito Pieres (3) and Marc Ganzi (1) battle Nacho Figueras (3) of St. Regis for the ball. Photo by Gary Hubbell

As a steady snow fell, Nacho Figueras scored the winning goal with 4:18 left in the second chukker with an assist from Wellington’s Nic Roldan.

“There were three good teams here, and it was whoever had the luck,” said Roldan, named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. “It was a war today, no one was going to let up.

“With this new snow, it made it tougher to get the ball,” Roldan said. “It seemed like the way to get the ball clean was to lift it up out of the hole and hit it out of the air and place it somewhere.”

Roldan did exactly that, knocking the florescent red ball toward the Audi goal with a well-placed shot. A quick-reacting Figueras, the sport’s international ambassador and face of Ralph Lauren, tapped the ball in for the only score of the game.

Piaget's Marc Ganzi (1) and Gonzalito Pieres (3) outrace Nacho Figueras (3) of St. Regis for the ball. Photo by Gary Hubbell

Piaget’s Marc Ganzi (1) and Gonzalito Pieres (3) outrace Nacho Figueras (3) of St. Regis for the ball. Photo by Gary Hubbell

“It was hard conditions because of all the snow, but we ended up winning so it was a great day,” Figueras said. “I’m happy and proud. To be able to play polo in this environment and with this background is really fantastic.”

St. Regis Hotels & Resorts (Nacho Figueras, Nic Roldan, Brandon Phillips), Audi (Facundo Pieres, Melissa Ganzi, Juan Bollini) and Piaget (Gonzalito Pieres, Marc Ganzi, Kris Kampsen) competed in the three-team, round robin tournament on the final stop on the 2013 World Polo Tour circuit.

Piaget's Marc Ganzi (1) and Audi's Juan Bollini (2) battle for possession. Photo by Gary Hubbell

Piaget’s Marc Ganzi (1) and Audi’s Juan Bollini (2) battle for possession. Photo by Gary Hubbell

The elite pro field added to the high-end event which one day could rival the annual St. Moritz Polo World Cup and become one of the hottest social events in Aspen, the only American city to host a snow polo tournament.

Several local community and media members, sponsors and players called snow polo and Aspen a good fit.

Juan Bollini (2) keeps possession of the ball with teammate Melissa Ganzi (1) and Nacho Figueras (3) of St. Regis close behind. Photo by Gary Hubbell

Juan Bollini (2) keeps possession of the ball with teammate Melissa Ganzi (1) and Nacho Figueras (3) of St. Regis close behind. Photo by Gary Hubbell

“This is the best snow polo in America,” Kampsen said. “The teams are excellent. There’s never been a level this high as far as competition is concerned.

“It was extremely competitive,” Kampsen said. “Conditions weren’t ideal. They had the field perfect on Thursday but then it snowed quite a bit which slowed the field down.”

In the opening game, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts Polo Team defeated Piaget, 2-0, behind goals from Figueras and Phillips.

Audi's Juan Bollini (2) about to take control of the ball. Photo by Gary Hubbell

Audi’s Juan Bollini (2) about to take control of the ball. Photo by Gary Hubbell

In the second game, Audi defeated Piaget, 2-1, with two goals from Melissa Ganzi, who scored the first goal on her first touch of the game. Bollini took the throw-in and found Ganzi open for the goal. She scored the game’s winning goal on a penalty shot with 1:15 left to play to advance her team into the championship final. Marc Ganzi scored Piaget’s lone goal after hitting a nice shot across the arena and following it up with the score.

Phillips suffered a bloody split lip when smacked by a polo mallet during the final.

Brandon Phillips of St. Regis suffered a split lip after getting hit with a polo mallet. Photo by Gary Hubbell.

Brandon Phillips of St. Regis suffered a split lip after getting hit with a polo mallet. Photo by Gary Hubbell.

Melissa Ganzi and Figueras shared tournament leading scorer honors with two each; Phillips and Ganzi each had one goal.

“We had our chances, it became harder as the game went on,” said Melissa Ganzi, who turned in one of her best all-around games with several steals and scoring barrage. “It was really competitive today,” Ganzi continued. “Every team wanted to win and we really had strong players.”

Audi's Melissa Ganzi (1) beats Piaget's Gonzalito Pieres (3) to the ball. Photo by Gary Hubbell

Audi’s Melissa Ganzi (1) beats Piaget’s Gonzalito Pieres (3) to the ball. Photo by Gary Hubbell

“The biggest surprise was that it all happened and we were able to pull it off,” Ganzi said. “The weather actually made it more beautiful and what more could we ask for.”

Ganzi’s horse Open Quarzo, a 7-year-old Bay stallion, was named Best Playing Pony.

Players, family and friends pose for group shot after the championship tournament

Players, family and friends pose for group shot after the championship tournament

Polo fans seemed to enjoy the world-class snow polo from the opening two-chukker match. VIPs and sponsors watched from the heated VIP Tent while enjoying mountain fare from The St. Regis Aspen Resort, including the brand’s signature Afternoon Tea Service along with cocktails from Johnnie Walker Blue.

Melissa and Marc Ganzi of Aspen Valley Polo Club, sister club of Wellington, Fla.-based Grand Champions Polo Club, along with Nacho Figueras and Larry Boland, president of Piaget North America, hosted the two-day event.

Facundo Pieres (3) of Audi reaches for the ball despite pressure from his brother Gonzalito Pieres (3) of Piaget. Photo by Gary Hubbell

Facundo Pieres (3) of Audi reaches for the ball despite pressure from his brother Gonzalito Pieres (3) of Piaget. Photo by Gary Hubbell

“My husband has roots here in Aspen,” Melissa Ganzi said. “He attended Aspen Country Day School, raced skiing here and his parents live here year-round.

“We would like to take snow polo to another level, to make snow polo and the City of Aspen synonymous. We’re really fortunate that we have our wonderful local partners and our partners from Florida. We have invested in building our own infrastructure. We went the extra mile.”

Audi runners-up Facundo Pieres (3), Melissa Ganzi (1) and Juan Bollini (2). Photo by Gary Hubbell

Audi runners-up Facundo Pieres (3), Melissa Ganzi (1) and Juan Bollini (2). Photo by Gary Hubbell

St. Regis Hotels & Resorts was the official hospitality partner and Audi served as the official car.

Said Boland: “What other city in North America could compare to Aspen as far as snow polo is concerned? Aspen Mountain is the perfect backdrop for a snow polo event.”

Piaget's Marc Ganzi (1) beats his defenders to score. Photo by Gary Hubbell

Piaget’s Marc Ganzi (1) beats his defenders to score. Photo by Gary Hubbell

The arena stadium was beautifully set up. The VIP tent featured alpine luxe furnishings and fine array of food from The St. Regis Aspen Hotel.

The playing surface was perfect with the help of the Aspen Skiing Company which layered artificial snow on top of the already 16 inches of fresh snow from the last two weeks. The man-made snow spread and rolled made for a quick-playing surface on Thursday for the stick-and-ball and practice chukker. However, snow flurries on Friday made the ball harder to maneuver in the snow because of the deep divots.

All proceeds benefitted Sopris Therapy Services and Aspen Sister Cities.

Sopris Therapy Services is a non-profit organization that provides Equine Assisted Therapy and rehabilitation in a ranch-setting to children and adults with various disabilities.

Aspen Sister Cities’ mission is to share ideas and cultures through the international exchange of students and All proceeds benefit Sopris Therapy Services and Aspen Sister Cities. Both charities depend on community support.

Polo fans enjoying the up close action view from the VIP Tent. Photo by Gary Hubbell

Polo fans enjoying the up close action view from the VIP Tent. Photo by Gary Hubbell

SNOW POLO FAST FACTS
Snow polo was first introduced in 1985 at the resort town of St. Moritz, Switzerland and attracted several hundred spectators. In the U.S., snow polo is held exclusively in Aspen, Colorado. Snow polo is a modified version of polo. Games are played on a snow-packed field surrounded by fencing to keep the ball in play. Teams have three players instead of four as in typical arena polo. Play consists of four seven-minute chukkers. The horses have special cleated shoes to provide better traction. The ball is larger and lighter and bright red for visibility on the snowy surface.

Wounded Warriors Horse brings flag bearer out to the arena for pre-game ceremony. Photo by Gary Hubbell

Wounded Warriors Horse brings flag bearer out to the arena for pre-game ceremony. Photo by Gary Hubbell

ASPEN VALLEY POLO CLUB
CONTACT INFORMATION: Phone: 970-710-1663 and email: aspenvalleypolo@bellsouth.net.

ABOUT THE CLUB: The nation’s newest private polo club still in its’ developing stages features a complete facility offering stick-and-ball field, club house, wooden horse polo pit, exercise track, indoor school, arena, pony hire, livery, coaches, stable and turn to hire and grooms accommodations.

Local Charities Biggest Winners At Dec.19-20 Piaget World Snow Polo Championship At Wagner Park

December 18, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

Snow Polo returns to downtown Aspen.

Snow Polo returns to downtown Aspen.

ASPEN, COLO.–Dec. 17, 2013—Sopris Therapy Services, a Colorado-based non-profit serving children and adults with daily challenges since 1994, has been designated as one of the charities for the Dec. 19-20 Piaget World Snow Polo Championship at Wagner Park.

 

Pat Horwitz, executive director of Sopris Therapy Services, said the organization depends on community support to help empower children, adults and wounded veterans with disabilities to reach their full potential through equine assisted-therapies.

 

“When we started out we found that we could combine physical therapy and horses,” Horwitz said. “It has been done in other parts of the country. We studied and worked with other organizations and decided to start Sopris Therapy.

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“I get tears in my eyes every day,” Horwitz said. “I can’t believe the progress that’s made with the connection between the horses and children. It’s about the movement of the horses creating a brain connection with the child or adult and stimulating the nerve endings. It helps with better movement with walking, balance and core strength. Equine movement is a treatment strategy and another way to get patients to move their body. People believe in what we do. We are very appreciative of the Ganzis for selecting us.”

 

Melissa and Marc Ganzi, owners of Aspen Valley Polo Club, sister club of their Wellington-based Grand Champions Polo Club, along with Nacho Figueras and Larry Boland, president of Piaget North America, are hosting the final stop on the World Polo Tour.

  Ten goaler- Facundo Pieres will head the Audi Polo Team during the Dec. 20 tournament.


Ten goaler- Facundo Pieres will head the Audi Polo Team during the
Dec. 20 tournament.

The much-anticipated snow polo event has attracted three of the biggest names in polo and two of only six players in the world with the perfect 10-goal rating.

 

The Dec. 20 championship will be a round-robin tournament format with three polo teams: Audi, Piaget and St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, where teams will compete for valuable World Polo Tour points in the final snow polo event of the year.

 

Ten-goaler Facundo Pieres, ranked second in the world, will captain the Audi Polo Team. Gonzalito Pieres, also a 10-goaler, will head the Piaget Polo Team and 6-goaler Nacho Figueras, will captain the St. Regis Hotels & Resorts Polo Team.

 

Figueras, who serves as a St. Regis Connoisseur, is one of the sport’s most popular and well-recognized players in the world.

  Nacho Figueras will captain the St. Regis Hotels & Resorts Polo Team in the Dec. 20 tournament.


Nacho Figueras will captain the St. Regis Hotels & Resorts Polo Team in the
Dec. 20 tournament.

On Wednesday, a press conference and cocktail party will be held in The St. Regis Aspen Resort hotel lobby from 6-7 p.m. where team jerseys will be distributed to the players.

 

On Thursday, Dec. 19, media day and St. Regis brunch at Wagner Park will be held while polo practice chukkers are played to enable players and horses to acclimate to the weather and playing surface.

 

Friday tournament action gets underway. At 11:40 a.m. Piaget will play St. Regis Hotels & Resorts Polo Team; 12:30 p.m. Audi will play the loser of the Piaget-St. Regis Hotels & Resorts Polo Team game and at 1:15 p.m. Audi will play the winner of the Piaget-St. Regis Hotels & Resorts Polo Team game.

  10-goaler Gonzalito Pieres will captain the Piaget Polo Team.


10-goaler Gonzalito Pieres will captain the Piaget Polo Team.

The awards ceremony is 2:15 p.m. followed by the lavish VIP Tent After Party.

 

Polo fans can relax and watch world-class snow polo from the VIP Pavilion while enjoying mountain fare from the The St. Regis Aspen Resort, including the brand’s signature Afternoon Tea Service along with cocktails from Johnnie Walker Blue.

 

Tickets are available through Ticket Leap (www.ticketleap.com). A one-day pass for the VIP tent is $150.

 

The VIP Pavilion ticket includes full access to the heated tent, lunch courtesy of The St. Regis Aspen Resort and cocktails provided by Johnnie Walker’s mixologist.

 

General admission is free to the public and will be first-come, first-serve bleacher seating on the east side of the park.

 

ASPEN VALLEY POLO CLUB

 

CONTACT INFORMATION: Phone: 970-710-1663 and email: aspenvalleypolo@bellsouth.net.

 

ABOUT THE CLUB: The nation’s newest private polo club still in its’ developing stages features a complete facility offering stick-and-ball field, club house, wooden horse polo pit, exercise track, indoor school, arena, pony hire, livery, coaches, stable and turn to hire and grooms accommodations.