In a wild finish, White Birch knocked off defending champion Audi, 12-11, in overtime Sunday to capture the USPA East Coast Open. In front of a sellout crowd of 4,000 at windswept Greenwich Polo Club and worldwide ChukkerTV audience, 15-year-old Santino Magrini scored the winning goal to complete a remarkable second-half comeback by White Birch. The highly-anticipated rematch of the battle of the unbeatens more than lived up to expectations.
In a highly-anticipated rematch, defending champion Audi will play White Birch in the championship final of the USPA East Coast Open Sunday at 3 p.m. at Greenwich Polo Club. The big-hitting Audi foursome of Marc Ganzi, Leo Mandelbaum, Nic Roldan and Sebastian Merlos led Goose Creek from wire-to-wire for a hardfought 11-6 victory in the opening semifinal game on Wednesday. White Birch held off upset-minded Airstream in the other semifinal game.
With the breathtaking Hotel del Coronado as a backdrop, Aspen Valley Polo Club made history by winning the inaugural Polo America Beach Polo Cup in front of a packed house. The team of Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini and Argentine 9-goaler Agustin (Tincho) Merlos defeated Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Lucas Lalor, Julio Novillo Astrada), 10-7. In the subsidiary game, Hoffman International Properties (Riley Ganzi, Juan Bollini, Carlitos Gracida) defeated Porsche San Diego (Bash Kazi, Tito Gaudenzi, Jason Crowder), 4-2.
-Wellington, a hotbed for youth polo players, continued its’ domination of the National Youth Tournament Series (NYTS) Championship Sunday at Myopia Polo Club. The Zone 3 Florida circuit captured the Cecil Smith Cup on the historic Gibney Field for the third time in four years since the inception of the tournament in 2013. Brother Justin and Benji Daniels, Nico Escobar and Matias Gonzalez led Zone 3 to a 7-5.5 victory over Zone 1 (Jake Klentner, Ronnie Puente, Conrad Kissling, Sloan Stefanakis). Escobar, Gonzalez and Justin Daniels each had two goals. Benji Daniels added one.
Defending champion Audi played its’ best game of the USPA East Coast Open to advance into Wednesday’s semifinals against Goose Creek at Greenwich Polo Club. The Audi foursome of Marc Ganzi, Leo Mandelbaum, Nic Roldan and Sebastian Merlos finished its’ bracket play with a 3-0 record on Saturday after an impressive 16-8 victory over Postage Stamp Farm. Goose Creek advanced with a 6-5 win over Faraway.
David Cummings, President and CEO of USPA Properties, Inc., is taking polo to the next level. His vision has been to develop a long-term source of revenue for polo through a licensing program of the USPA trademarks. Thirteen years after moving from USPA CEO (2000-2004) to taking over and organizing the company, USPA Global Licensing has become a worldwide success with 750 U.S. Polo Assn. retail stores worldwide generating $1.5 billion in revenue.
With a “that’s more like it attitude,” defending champion Audi remained undefeated in the USPA East Coast Open Wednesday at Greenwich Polo Club. The foursome of Marc Ganzi, Leo Mandelbaum, Nic Roldan and Sebastian Merlos played textbook polo to defeat Tupungato, 13-7, in front of a worldwide ChukkerTV audience. After escaping with an 11-10 win over Airstreamon Sunday, Audi took charge early and dominated Tupungato in the first half with a strong offensive attack, building an 8-1 lead after three chukkers.
Aspen Valley Polo Club, the nation’s fastest growing polo club, ended its’ most successful season in club history this past weekend. Flexjet captured the season-finale Carbondale Classic on Sunday with wins over Tonkawa and NOH Foods of Hawaii, making its’ team sponsor debut. Flexjet defeated Tonkawa, 4-3, and NOH Foods of Hawaii, 6-4. In the other round robin game, NOH Foods edged Tonkawa, 5-4.
In a hotly-contested USPA East Coast Open game, Audi began its’ title defense with a thrilling 11-10 victory over Airstream Sunday at Greenwich Polo Club. In front of a worldwide ChukkerTV audience, Audi’s new-look lineup of Marc Ganzi, Leo Mandelbaum, Nic Roldan and Sebastian Merlos was pushed to the limit in the team’s opening bracket game of the eight-team tournament. Merlos ignited Audi’s sixth-chukker rally with three goals to break an 8-8 tie.
Aspen Valley Polo Club winds down its’ most successful summer polo season in club history this weekend with the season-ender Carbondale Classic. The three-day tournament begins Friday with a round robin game at High Mesa Ranch at 3 p.m. MST. The final is Sunday at 11 a.m. MST along with the popular Grooms’ Race. The family-owned company NOH Foods of Hawaii makes its’ debut as a team sponsor. NOH Foods carries a wide variety of food products.
Audi, with a new-look lineup, will open its’ title defense Sunday at the historic USPA East Coast Open 20-Goal Polo Championship Tournament. Some of the world’s top players will compete at Greenwich Polo Club for the chance to have their names on the Perry Trophy, a coveted symbol of the tournament since 1905. Audi will unveil its’ new lineup of Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Sebastian Merlos and Leo Mandelbaum on Sunday at 10 a.m.
Los Amigos Red took advantage of cold shooting by Tonkawa to capture the Rocky Mountain Open Sunday at Aspen Valley Polo Club. Los Amigos Red broke open a deadlocked first half and scored five goals in the fourth chukker to pull away for the lopsided win against Tonkawa. Argentine 7-goaler Julio Novillo Astrada Jr., 43, one of five brothers whose family’s polo tradition spans more than 60 years in Argentina, was named Most Valuable Player.
After trailing at halftime, Aspen Valley Polo Club rallied to win the prestigious USPA National Arena Chairman’s Cup. The talented young trio of Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini and Lucas Lalor defeated Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Juan Bollini, Carlitos Gracida), 13.5-12, Thursday at blustery Aspen Valley Polo Club. “It means a lot to win,” Grant Ganzi said. “We hadn’t won anything all summer. We have played arena together for three years and play well together. We have great chemistry.
The summer polo tournament is winding down with two tournaments remaining at Aspen Valley Polo Club. Five teams will compete in this weekend’s Rocky Mountain Cup. Two preliminary games are scheduled for Friday. Flexjet plays Los Amigos Red at 11 a.m. at Sopris Mountain Ranch. At 3 p.m., Tonkawa, ChukkerTV and Los Amigos White will play a round robin at High Mesa Ranch. The final and subsidiary games along with a special Grooms’ Race are Sunday.
Molly Mitchell and her Eagle River Pony Club teammates have been counting the days until their first polo lesson at Aspen Valley Polo Club. “They are super excited about Saturday,” said Kim Mitchell, Molly’s mom. “The girls are beside themselves.” The four-year-old club with fifteen members, ages 9-15, got their first exposure to polo at the July 24th Basalt Handicap final at Aspen Valley Polo Club.