Category Archives: Polo

History Made on Opening Day of Chestertons Polo in the Park

The sunshine arrived just in time for the opening day of Chestertons Polo in the Park. Crowds from all over London flocked to the historic Hurlingham Park for four games of fast and furious polo, accompanied by luxury bars, including the picturesque Champagne Lanson Garden and a selection of London’s top pop-up restaurants. The Mahiki VIP was bursting with celebs, including Hugo Taylor and Lucy Mecklenburgh, as guests were treated to thrilling polo clashes alongside off-pitch entertainment.

Renowned for its world-class polo in the heart of the city, the highlight of the opening day of Chestertons Polo in the Park was undoubtedly the International match. History was made as Champions Polo League India strode onto to the hallowed turf for the first time in over 70 years, led by HH Maharaja Padmanabh Singh. ICM Capital Team England also re-wrote history as Hazel Jackson became the first-ever female to play at Chestertons Polo in the Park.

Hoping to improve on their previous results, ICM Capital Team England was first to reach the score board with a short strike from Jack Richardson, in a scintillating opening chukka. The lead was short-lived as HH Maharaja Padmanabh Singh proved why he is one of the best, not only showing strength in defence but also setting up a breathtaking goal for his teammate, Dhruv Pal Godara to widen the gap for his team giving them a lead that looked as though it would not be relinquished. Jack Richardson tried his hardest to cut the deficit in the third quarter but HH Maharaja Padmanabh Singh’s team was too strong and a stunning goal from Simran Singh Shergill extended the lead to 6-3. In a nail-biting final chukka, noise erupted from the stands as ICM Capital Team England’s Nacho Gonzalez struck a two-pointer to level the scores. The clock ticked down, with pressure on both sides, neither wanting to go home empty handed. In the final moments, it was the first ever lady player to compete at Chestertons Polo in the Park, Hazel Jackson, who sealed the victory for ICM Capital Team England, much to the delight of the packed grandstand. For the first time since the International match’s inception in 2015, ICM Capital Team England lifted the much-heralded Olympic Trophy.

Hazel Jackson commented on the victory afterwards. “It was super intense, but probably one of the most fun tournaments I have ever played. We were so lucky to bring the win home. There is just so much atmosphere here, so much enthusiasm and competition – the level is absolutely epic, so it’s a different story here. It was amazing to have so much support and rock on the girls; they loved it and I loved it.”

The day’s action kicked off with an electric first game, as EFG Team Zurich clinched the victory over Mauritius Team Port Louis. Chris Hyde was the hero in the first two chukkas, scoring an impressive hat-trick to take an early 3-1 lead. Mauritius Team Port Louis entered the third chukka with a new-found energy and following an impressive two goal strike they took the lead, and headed into the fourth and final chukka with a 4-3 lead. Playmaker, Chris Hyde, remained cool and calm under pressure to produce nifty steal and take the scores back to level at four-a-piece. A controversial penalty goal was awarded to Mauritius Team Port Louis with less than two minutes remaining on the clock to take back the lead, but it was short lived as Paco O’Dwyer showed his enviable skills to score a two-goal strike and seal the victory for EFG Team Zurich. Final Score 6-5 to EFG Team Zurich.

EFG Team Zurich patron, Chris Hyde, spoke of the closely fought victory. “We had a great start because Hissan got the first play; we went for the win in the first two chukkas. But then obviously it’s a strong team: three professional players. In summary, Max and I had an outstanding match, Hissan was a bit reserved because he has to play the next game – we’ll see how it is tomorrow with Max Charlton.”

The second game saw Air Europa Team Buenos Aires take on Argentex Team Dubai. The match got off to an exhilarating start as Juan Cruz Guevara led his team to a mammoth 4-0 lead, scoring two two-point goals almost consecutively. Soon into the second chukka an immense display of teamwork allowed George Spencer-Churchill to hit a clean shot at goal, scoring the third two-pointer of the game taking it to 4-2. This was followed by another soon after, to draw level at the end of the second chukka. Entering the second-half of the match, Juan Cruz Guevara stormed past his opponents to hook the ball under the neck of the horse, scoring a textbook goal, taking Air Europa Team Buenos Aires to a short-term lead. Responding to this, Argentex Team Dubai entered the fourth and final chukka with sheer determination to battle back and take the victory 9-7.

Home favourite, George Spencer-Churchill, commented, “It was a fun day at Chestertons Polo in the Park. It was a good win after going 4-0 down – it’s always the most satisfying victory when you win that way.”

There was a controversial start to the home side’s match as MINT Team London was penalised in the opening sequence, resulting with a two-goal penalty awarded to Whitley Neill Team Cape Town, which was pushed over the line by Oscar Mancini to give them the early advantage. Home favourite, George Meyrick, responded in style showcasing unbelievable skill as he volleyed the ball down the pitch to get the first points on the score board for MINT Team London. Despite Whitley Neill Team Cape Town taking the early lead, MINT Team London made their intentions clear from the outset, with Malcolm Borwick parading his much-vaunted power and tenacity to take MINT Team London into a clear lead before the end of the second chukka. MINT Team London continued their form in the final two chukkas to claim a clear victory with a final score of 7-4.

MINT Team London star, Malcolm Borwick, spoke of the victory. “MINT Team London had a good one today; we played really well. Huge effort from Rory Heron and the team to put on such an amazing event here in the middle of London. It has become such an iconic event and I feel honoured to play in it. We have a really tough semi-final against two of the best arena players in the world but I hope we win and hopefully will get to the final on Sunday.”

For more information, visit www.polointheparklondon.com.

For more information, contact Gayle Telford E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk or T: (0)20 3176 0355.

Team Spiculus Captures $250,000 Gladiator Polo Title 17-10 in $50,000 Final Match

Team Spiculus player Pelon Escapite.

Wellington, FL – April 9, 2017 – Team Spiculus rode to a rugged win in the 2017 final of Gladiator Polo™ presented by U.S. Polo Assn. tournament Saturday night, defeating Team Spartacus 17-10. The seven-game series took place at the “Coliseum,” otherwise known as Equestrian Village, and began with four teams. Saturday’s game concluded the inaugural season.

The play of the day happened early in the game, when Sebastian Merlos launched the ball three-quarters the length of the arena for a 2-point goal. Merlos came through again for Spiculus with two 2-pointers in the third chukker. Felipe Viana, playing for Spartacus, also contributed three 2-pointers.

The Spiculus line-up of Merlos (9), Mariano Obregon (7) and Pelon Escapite (7) dominated play for most of the game. The score was tied at three going into the third chukker, but Spiculus promptly put an end to that and stormed ahead to an insurmountable 10-5 lead at halftime. The gap continued to widen systematically, with Spiculus leading 14-7 at the end of the fourth chukker and holding Spartacus scoreless. Merlos poured it on for two goals in the fifth, giving Spiculus a 9-goal lead.

Viana gave Spartacus a glimmer of hope in the final chukker, adding three points (one 2-pointer and a 1-pointer). Spiculus clearly would have none of that. They sewed up the 17-10 victory in the final chukker, courtesy of yet another goal by Merlos (9 points on the day).

Joining Viana (7) on the Spartacus line-up were Jason Crowder (7) and Tommy Biddle (10). They were among a group of last evening’s players who autographed complimentary Gladiator Polo T-shirts for spectators before the game.

“This has been a tremendous inaugural season for Gladiator Polo™,” said Mark Bellissimo, Managing Partner of International Equestrian Group (IEG), who organized and hosted the series. “We want to thank all the patrons, players and sponsors who generously supported the tournament and were so enthusiastic.” He added that Gladiator Polo™ will be back in Wellington for the full 12-week winter 2018 season.

Mackenzie Weisz in the youth chukker

“I am almost speechless,” said Missy Sullivan of Don Graves and Marshall & Sterling Insurance, Equisport Division, who sponsored Spiculus. “Mark Bellissimo, with his endless vision and what he has done for the sport, never ceases to amaze me.”

In the youth chukker played before the game and at halftime, children of the world’s top players competed for the junior teams of Spiculus (Poroto Cambiaso, Santos Merlos and Kristos Magrini) and Spartacus (Lucas Criado, Mackenzie Weisz and Benjamin Quiroga).

Polo fans can learn what all three players on the winning Team Spiculus had to say after the game in exclusive interviews for the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) by Juan Cruz Diaz de Céspedes at www.internationalpoloclub.com.

To learn more about Gladiator Polo™, please visit www.gladiatorpolo.com.

Witness $250k Gladiator Polo Final Match Sat., April 8, between Teams Spartacus and Spiculus

Wellington, FL – April 6, 2017 – The grand finale of the 2017 season’s hottest ticket, the $250,000 Gladiator Polo™ Final presented by U.S. Polo Assn. will take place this Saturday, April 8. The event is hosted at the “Coliseum,” otherwise known as the Equestrian Village of Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) at13500 Southshore Blvd., Wellington, Florida.

With each team ranked between 23 and 26 goals, this will be one of the top arena polo matches in history. Total prize money for the final is $50,000, to be divided between the two teams. To showcase a gladiator theme, teams are all named after top Roman Gladiators: Spartacus, Crixus, Priscus and Spiculus. Team Spartacus and Team Spiculus have earned the right to battle it out in the final match.

The seven-game series began February 26, and has seen huge success since its inception. The final game has a later starting time than the previous matches. Gates will open on Saturday at 7:00 p.m., and the match will begin promptly at 8:00 p.m. Players will appear at a Meet & Greet before the game to talk with spectators and sign autographs.

While general admission is free, an optional dining experience, spectators can watch the game while enjoying an authentic asado buffet. The view of the competition doesn’t get any better than from the dining tent, where spectators get an up-close-and-personal view of the action. Asado tickets are $40 a piece, and reserved tables for six with premium VIP seating are available for $500 per table. Click here to purchase tickets for the event!

Top-rated Gladiator Polo™ player Tommy Biddle (10) is a member of Team Spartacus. “For me Gladiator Polo is the second-best thing to representing my country,” he said. “This event is doing great things for the sport of arena polo.” His teammates are Felipe Viana (7) and Jason Crowder (7). Spartacus’ team sponsor is Carol Sollak and Engel & Völkers.

Playing for Team Spiculus are Sebastian Merlos (9), Pelon Escapite (7) and Mariano Obregon (7).

“Gladiator Polo™ just keeps getting better,” said Merlos after a recent win. “We understand the game more now, and there is more speed.” He praised Mark Bellissimo, Managing Partner of International Equestrian Group (IEG), who created and organized Gladiator Polo™. “Mark has done a great job. He is very serious about bringing polo to the people and making it fun,” added Merlos.

Gladiator Polo™ players wear colorful jerseys to make the action easy to follow. Team jerseys are crafted by sponsor Horseware® Ireland. Roman-attired gladiators walk around the venue, greeting guests and posing for photo opportunities. The evening offers an optional asado buffet for just $40 as well as an after-party open to all at the onsite “Lions’ Den,” with music by DJ Maximus, drinks and dancing. Polo players mingle and socialize with the partygoers. For more information, please visit www.gladiatorpolo.com.

Spartacus Scuttles Priscus 18-11, Will Face Spiculus in Gladiator Polo Final April 8

Photo ©David Lominska/International Polo Club.

Wellington, FL – April 1, 2017 – In a sixth-chukker surge, Team Spartacus doubled their score and knocked Team Priscus out of the competition Friday, March 31, in round six of Gladiator Polo™ presented by U.S. Polo Assn. Gladiator Polo™ takes place at the “Coliseum,” otherwise known as the Equestrian Village of Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).

Team Spartacus’ win earned them a place in the Gladiator Polo™ League Final on Saturday, April 8. They will oppose Team Spiculus in the match.

With the game tied at nine going into the final chukker, Spartacus scored a stunning nine more goals to clinch the win 18-11. The 11th-hour victory was due in large part to three stunning 2-point goals by Spartacus (two of them by Tommy Biddle and the other by Felipe Viana). Biddle added another regular goal and teammate Jason Crowder contributed two, bringing their team’s game total to 18.

“It was a battle out there!” said Crowder, who credited the win to his teammates. Motioning to Biddle and Viana, he said, “They pulled it out with those 2-pointers and saved us.”

Viana received the MVP Award presented by the Triple Crown Group. He said he is “super-excited about the final,” adding, “We had won all our games but we still had to win tonight to get to there.”

Biddle, a legendary arena polo player who has competed all over the world, said, “For me Gladiator Polo™ is the second-best thing to representing my country. I am really excited to be part of the first final because this event is doing great things for the sport of arena polo.”

Spartacus’ sponsor, Carol Sollak of Engel & Völkers, said she was proud of her team. “They played amazing!” she said. “I’m very excited about the final. The boys are ready!”

Spartacus’ lineup was: Jason Crowder (7-goal arena handicap), Felipe Viana (7) and Tommy Biddle (10).

Nic Roldan (8) was high-scorer for Team Priscus, with seven goals. His teammates were Jeff Hall (8) and Facundo Obregon (7).

During halftime children of top international polo players competed in an exhibition chukker. Team Spartacus included Poroto Cambiaso, Fran Spinacci and Benja Quiroga. Santos Merlos, Kristos Magrini and Tobias Rey played for Team Priscus.

In the children’s chukker, Spartacus defeated Priscus 3-1. Magrini made the first goal. Then Cambiaso went on a scoring spree, with his last goal sealing the win for his team in the final 15 seconds of play.

Gates open at 7:00 p.m., and the game starts at 8:00 p.m. General admission is free. For more information, please visit www.gladiatorpolo.com.

Friday Night Fight-to-the-Finish at $250k Gladiator Polo to Determine Teams for Championship Final

Photo ©David Lominska.

Wellington, FL – March 29, 2017 – Teams Spartacus and Priscus are gearing up for what will be the most exciting game to date: round six of $250,000 Gladiator Polo™ presented by U.S. Polo Assn. on Friday, March 31. The competition takes place at Equestrian Village of Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), also known as “The Coliseum.”

The event pits top high-goal U.S. and international polo players against each other in the $33,000 match. The victors take home $24,000 and the opposing team receives $9,000. Friday’s event is the last round before the $50,000 Gladiator Polo™ Final on Saturday, April 8.

Three teams are still in contention for the Gladiator Polo League championship and the inaugural “Gladiator Cup” to be presented to the winner of the final. If Spartacus wins March 31 they advance to the finals and face Team Spiculus for the Championship. If Priscus wins there will be a three-way tie for first place among Spartacus, Priscus, and Spiculus (all would have records of 2-1). The tie would be broken by a penalty shootout.

Team Spartacus, sponsored Carol A. Sollak, P.A. and Engel & Völkers, features players Jason Crowder (7), Felipe Viana (7) and Tommy Biddle (10). The roster for Team Priscus, sponsored by Richard Schechter and Bainbridge Companies, includes Facundo Obregon (7), Nic Roldan (8) and Jeff Hall (7).

In the Roman-themed event, the horses and players wear a distinctive team color from head to toe (from the players’ helmets all the way down to the horses’ leg wraps). Team Spartacus is red, and Team Priscus is teal.

Results of the first five rounds, starting with round 1, are: Spartacus 23, Crixus 10; Spiculus 20, Priscus 9; Spartacus 13, Spiculus 10; Priscus 13, Crixus 12; Spiculus 15, Crixus 11.

Gates open at 6:00 p.m. and the game starts at 7:00 p.m. General admission is free. The Equestrian Village at PBIEC is located at 13500 South Shore Boulevard, Wellington, FL. For more information, please visit www.gladiatorpolo.com.

Spiculus Soars to 15-11 Win over Crixus in Round 5 of Gladiator Polo

Players from Team Spiculus and Team Crixus battle it out against the boards at the “Coliseum” at Equestrian Village. Photo ©David Lominska.

Wellington, FL – March 17, 2017 – Team Spiculus took a 15-11 win over Team Crixus in round five of $250,000 Gladiator Polo™ presented by the U.S. Polo Assn. on Thursday, March 16. This week’s $33,000 matchup between two titan teams was the highest-scoring match in the 7-game series. The event took place at the “Coliseum,” otherwise known as the Equestrian Village of Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), where Roman-attired gladiators roamed about the venue, greeting guests and offering photo opportunities.

International superstar player Sebastian Merlos (arena handicap 9) was high-scorer of the game with 7 goals. He led his team in a battle to the finish, with Spiculus seizing control in the third chukker and never looking back. Merlos earned the MVP Award presented by the Triple Crown Group.

“Gladiator Polo just keeps getting better,” said Merlos after the victory, which marked his third game in the series. “We understand the game more now, and there is more speed.” He praised Mark Bellissimo, Managing Partner of International Equestrian Group (IEG), who created and organized Gladiator Polo. “Mark has done a great job. He is very serious about bringing polo to the people and making it fun,” added Merlos.

In addition to Merlos, the Spiculus lineup included Pelon Escapite and Mariano Obregon. Crixus players were Santi Torres, Matias Magrini and Mike Azzaro. Crixus is sponsored by U.S. Trust Bank of America Private Wealth Management. Spiculus is sponsored by Don Graves and Marshall & Sterling Insurance, Equisport Division.

“We are delighted to support such an exciting sport,” said an elated Missy Sullivan of Don Graves and Marshall & Sterling Insurance, Equisport Division, after her team’s victory. “Anything to support polo and other equestrian sports in Wellington is great.”

As it stands now, three teams are still in contention for the Gladiator Polo™ League Championship and the inaugural “Gladiator Cup” to be presented to the winner of the April 8th Final. Team Spartacus is the only team that controls its destiny as they lead the league. If Team Spartacus wins on March 31st, they will go to the final and face Team Spiculus in the championship. If Spartacus loses there will be a three-way tie between Spartacus, Priscus, and Spiculus, who will all have records of 2-1, which will be determined by the tie breaking procedure.

Children of the world’s top polo players competed in a juniors’ match during halftime: Spiculus (Santos Melos, Kristos Magrini, Miguelito Novillo Astrada) took a 3-1 win over Crixus (Landi Daniels, Hope Arellano, Hunter Azzaro). Santos Merlos is the son of Sebastian Merlos, who watched proudly from the sidelines.

“I have four children, and they all love horses. To watch Santos play means so much to me. I kind of melt,” said an emotional Sebastian Merlos.

Spectators who purchased VIP tickets for the American-style Barbecue buffet, watched ringside from close-to-the-action tables in the main VIP Pavilion. A lively and packed after-party in the “Lion’s Den,” open to all, featured dancing to tunes spun by DJ Maximus.

The next game takes place Friday, March 31, and the final is Saturday evening, April 8. General admission is free. For more information, please visit www.gladiatorpolo.com.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Darlene Ricker
Media Relations
International Polo Club Palm Beach
dricker@internationalpoloclub.com
(310) 210-4004

NBC Sports Network to Broadcast $250,000 Gladiator Polo League

Undefeated teams Spiculus and Spartacus in February 23 Gladiator Polo game. ©David Lominska/IPC.

Program Will Air Tuesday Evening, February 28, after NHL Hockey Game at 11:00 pm.

Wellington, FL – February 28, 2017 – Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council, along with its partners Palm Beach County Sports Commission, Palm Beach County Film and Television Commission, and Discover the Palm Beaches are sponsoring the Gladiator Polo League which include the title sponsorship of the NBC Sports Network Broadcast of Game 3 of the $250,000 Gladiator Polo™ League Presented by the U.S. Polo Assn. The program will air this Tuesday evening February 28th on NBC Sports Network (DirectTV 220, Dish 159), after the Colorado Avalanche vs Philadelphia Flyers hockey game.

“The Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council and our partners in tourism, the PBC Sports Commission, the PBC Film and Television Commission and Discover the Palm Beaches, are excited to support the continued expansion of the equestrian industry in the Palm Beaches,” said Glenn Jergensen, Executive Director of Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council.

“As a major economic driver during the Winter Season and the benefit of having our own ‘Super Bowl’ of Equestrian Sports annually in the County, we are proud sponsors of the newest addition, ‘Gladiator Polo,’ along with our continued support of the Winter Equestrian Festival and International Polo,” he added.

Mark Bellissimo, Managing Partner of International Equestrian Group (IEG) and International Polo Club, LLC, said, “We are delighted to welcome sponsors the Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council, the PBC Sports Commission, the PBC Film and Television Commission and Discover the Palm Beaches. The support of these Palm Beach County leaders enables us to expand our national footprint to attract more equestrian enthusiasts to Palm Beach County which can evolve to be a National Hub for the emerging Gladiator Polo Leagues from Beginners to Professionals.”

Gladiator Polo is an extreme sport derivative of arena polo created by Bellissimo, in which six mounted players (three on each team) go flat-out to score the most points by hitting a ball through the goalposts. While similar to outdoor grass polo, Gladiator Polo is played in an arena with high quality footing that enables faster play and compares more to “Hockey on Horseback”. The smaller field and stadium seating give spectators an up-close-and-personal view of the fast paced action.

NBC Sports Network will broadcast round three of the 7-game high-goal Gladiator Polo series, which took place February 23 at the “Coliseum,” otherwise known as Equestrian Village, in Wellington. The $33,500 contest pitted two undefeated powerhouse teams, Spiculus and Spartacus, against each other. All pros, the players included two of the top polo players in the world: Tommy Biddle (who holds an arena rating of 10 goals) and Sebastian Merlos (9 goals).

Team Spiculus is sponsored by Marshall & Sterling Insurance, Equisport Division, and Team Spartacus is sponsored by Carol A. Sollak, P.A. of Engel & Völkers.

For more information about Gladiator Polo, please visit www.gladiatorpolo.com.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Darlene Ricker
Media Relations
International Polo Club Palm Beach
dricker@internationalpoloclub.com
(310) 210-4004

Round 2 of $250,000 Gladiator Polo Rocks the Wellington “Coliseum”

©DavidLominska.

Wellington, FL – February 18, 2017 – Six of the top high-goal U.S. and international polo players battled it out in round 2 of the recently launched $250,000 Gladiator Polo™ presented by the U.S. Polo Assn. on February 26, 2017. Team Spiculus soundly defeated Team Priscus 20-9 in the event at the “Coliseum,” otherwise known as the Equestrian Village of Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).

“Gladiator Polo keeps getting more exciting with every match,” said Mark Bellissimo, Managing Partner of International Equestrian Group (IEG), who organized and hosted the series, which continues through the winter equestrian season. “Whether or not they had ever seen polo, spectators were mesmerized. With seating just feet away from the arena, you could see the expressions on the players’ faces and hear what they were saying.”

Playing in front of a roaring crowd, who were often on their feet cheering, both teams included luminaries of the sport. The Spiculus roster included Sebastian Merlos (rated at 9 goals), Pelon Escapite (7) and Juan Martin Zubia (7). Priscus had Tommy Collingwood (5), Jeff Hall (8) and Jeff Blake (7). Team Spiculus is sponsored by Marshall & Sterling Insurance, Equisport Division, and Team Priscus is sponsored by Bainbridge Companies.

“Gladiator Polo is something we have not seen before. Anything that brings the community out to see a horse event, whether it is dressage, hunter-jumper, grand prix jumping or polo, it’s all good,” said Don Graves, Vice President of Marshall & Sterling Insurance and Director of the Equisport Division, sponsor of Team Spiculus.

“The attendance was great, and the interest was amazing. Gladiator Polo has the potential to be a great spectator sport. This is something we want to support,” he added.

Sebastian Merlos, a member of the winning Spiculus team, called Gladiator Polo “a great idea,” adding, “I really like playing in front of an enthusiastic crowd like this, especially with two amazing teammates. The footing was fantastic, the best surface ever to play on. That’s important because arena polo is a lot different than playing on grass. It’s much harder to control the ball in the sand, and that makes it quite a challenge. But more than anything, it was a lot of fun.”

Spectators enjoyed the gladiator ambiance of the family-friendly event. Authentically attired gladiators walked around the venue, greeting people and offering photo opportunities.

There was also face painting, pony rides, and horse simulators, as well as an authentic Argentine asado. The evening was followed by an after-party open to all at the new onsite “Lions’ Den,” with music by DJ Maximus, drinks and dancing.

The next Gladiator Polo games will be February 23, March 9, March 16, March 30, and the $50,000 Gladiator Polo final on Saturday, April 8.

For more information, please see: www.gladiatorpolo.com.

Gladiator Polo League to Expand to Four High-Goal Teams and Seven Evening Events

Wellington, FL – February 9, 2017 – Mark Bellissimo, Managing Partner of the International Equestrian Group (IEG), announced today that the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) has dramatically expanded the 2017 winter Gladiator Polo™ League schedule. Bellissimo commented, “This does not displace our core interest in high-goal grass polo, but rather is a concerted effort to create a robust and critical gateway to bring more players, patrons, spectators, and sponsors into the sport of polo.”

Bellissimo added, “We will commit significant resources Gladiator Polo™ by creating both amateur and professional leagues that, over time, will provide substantial income and opportunities to both emerging and seasoned professionals and make the sport higher-profile and more accessible at all levels.  In order to create a true professional sport, you need to create personalities for athletes, spectator enthusiasm, and strong sponsor support, as well as media interest. That is the only formula for long-term success in sport.”   Next week IPC will outline its high goal grass polo initiative.

The U.S. Polo Assn. brand is the presenting sponsor of the 2017 league. David Cummings, CEO and President of USPA Global Licensing, commented, “I can’t think of a better way for a spectator to get up close and personal to the action of the game and to really see the athletic ability of both the horse and rider. Gladiator Polo is hockey on horseback.”

The next high goal arena game will feature Sebastian Merlos (9), Jeff Blake (7), Pelon Escapite (7) vs Julio Arrellano (8), Kris Kampsen (8), Juan Martin Zubia (7) and will be held on February 16th, when Team Spiculus will face Team Priscus at the “Coliseum” otherwise known as the Equestrian Village on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Pierson Road (13500 South Shore Boulevard). The winner will face Team Spartacus on February 23rd. The next four games of the Gladiator Polo™ League will be March 9th, March 16th, March 30th, and the $50,000 Gladiator Polo™ Final on Saturday evening of April 8th.

The VIP area for the initial Gladiator Polo™ event, hosted on January 26th, was sold out. By request, there are new additions to the VIP hospitality offerings: the asado menu will be expanded to include more food options. While general admission and parking remain free to the public, a limited number of reserved tables can be purchased in the VIP Pavilion. Both asado and VIP table reservations can be purchased at http://bit.ly/2lrZcDo. A featured “After Party” at the newly created “Lion’s Den” will feature DJ Maximus and will be sponsored by Pernod Ricard.

Gladiator Polo™ presented by U.S. Polo Assn. will add two new teams, Spiculus and Priscus, to join Spartacus and Crixus, as the four teams named after great Roman gladiators.

Gates for the event will open to the general public at 6:00 p.m. while competition will start immediately at 7:00 p.m.

The Tourist Development Council of the Palm Beaches, in collaboration with the Palm Beach Sports Commission, Discover the Palm Beaches, and the Palm Beach County Film and Television Commission, has partnered with the Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEP) to promote the Gladiator Polo™ League nationally, in an effort to make Wellington, FL the world headquarters of arena polo. The TDC entities will be the title sponsors of the NBC Sports Broadcast to air on February 28th. The national broadcast of the February 23rd game is scheduled for February 28th at 11:00 p.m. following the Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche NHL hockey game.

Other details of the announcement:

– The children of the world’s top polo players will contest a 5-minute exhibition chukker at halftime of the February 16th event to showcase young polo talent, as well draw attention to the future rising stars of the sport. The players will include the children of high-profile high-goal players including Poroto Cambiaso, son of Adolfo Cambiaso, Antonio Aguirre, son of Mariano Aguirre, Kristos Magrini, son of Matias Magrini, Hope Arellano, daughter of Julio Arellano, Hunter Azzaro, son of Mike Azzaro, and Santos Merlos, son of Sebastian Merlos.

– Dan Farrell, former SVP of Corporate Sales at Charlotte Motor Speedway, one of the most financially successful NASCAR venues in the nation, has been hired as the Chief Revenue Officer in support of all Wellington, Tryon, and Colorado equestrian properties under the management of the Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEP), Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP), and Colorado Equestrian Partners (CEP).

– More Gladiator Polo™ demonstration events are planned in other cities, starting in the spring of 2017 and will be announced shortly. A Gladiator Polo™ City League will begin in the fall of 2017.

– In addition to the Professional Division, the Gladiator Polo™ League will be developing a series of amateur arena leagues based out of Wellington, FL, Tryon, NC, and Parker, CO, that will include children, adults, colleges, as well as women’s leagues.

– The International Polo Club (IPC) is creating a “Get Into Polo” initiative to promote interest and access to the sport by utilizing the newly created IPC Polo Academy and training simulators, as well as the new World Polo Training Center (WPTC) to be launched in the fall of 2017.

– The Gladiator Polo™ League has signed a preferred provider and sponsorship agreement with Gladiator Sports (GS), based in Woodbridge, VA, a top manufacturer of polo equipment and tack. They will manufacture and provide the official game ball. Gladiator Sports does not have a corporate affiliation with the Gladiator Polo™ League.

Bellissimo concluded, “I want to thank the USPA, U.S. Polo Assn., the inaugural players, patrons, and all of the team and supporting sponsors whose commitment to this effort are greatly appreciated. With a fast-action, fan-friendly game and a successful NBC Sports Network broadcast, we are positioned to take the sport to a new level. I am confident that after a successful inaugural year, next year we will have a 12 week league with an 8-team league and prize money in excess of $500,000 that will include team owners and a player draft.”

For sponsorship and partner requests, please contact Tannis Marley at tmarley@equestriansport.com. For information on Gladiator Polo™ League, teams, and training, contact Gates Gridley at jgridley@equestriansport.com.

Media Contact:
Darlene Ricker
Media Relations/Communications
dricker@internationalpoloclub.com
(310) 210-4004

About the International Polo Club

The International Polo Club of Palm Beach is the premier polo destination in the world, hosting the largest field of high-goal teams and the most prestigious polo tournaments in the United States. Polo enthusiasts descend upon Wellington, Fla. each winter season to enjoy their love of the sport in the most prominent and well-equipped polo facility. The 2017 Palm Beach Polo season opened on Sunday, January 1, and will conclude 17 weeks later with the USPA 113th U.S. Open Polo Championships® Final on Sunday, April 23rd. Polo matches are open to the public, with a wide range of hospitality and guest seating that includes elegant grandstand viewing, field tailgating, stadium seating, field-side champagne brunch at The Pavilion, and exclusive sponsor boxes. To learn more about the International Polo Club Palm Beach, please visit www.internationalpoloclub.com.

Inaugural Gladiator Polo Arena League Opener

World’s Top Ranked Arena Polo Players Get Ready to Battle in Arena Showdown on Thursday, January 26th at 6:00 p.m. with One of the Highest Ranked Matches in Arena Polo History

Wellington, FL – January 23, 2017 – Equestrian Village (EV) of Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) centrally located at the corner of Pierson and South Shore Blvd will host the Inaugural Gladiator Polo Arena League opener.

The Gladiator Polo inaugural arena polo event, sanctioned by the United States Polo Association (USPA), is set to take place on Thursday, January 26, with gates opening at 6:00 p.m. Free general admission for spectators will include a number of family-friendly activities including chariot racing, gladiator jousting, spectator skill challenges as well as Wellington’s favorite band Wonderama. An authentic Argentinian Asado (BBQ) will be available for a fee of $30 per person and can be reserved online at http://bit.ly/2jOWRVG. It will be hosted at the VIP pavilion overlooking the arena.

Arena polo is a fast-paced version of polo played outdoors in an enclosed all-weather arena.  Unlike outdoor polo, which is played on a 10-acre field, arena polo is played on 300-by-150-foot field, enclosed by walls of four or more feet in height. A polo ball is similar to a mini soccer ball and is larger than the hard plastic ball used outdoors. Arena polo is typically far more financially accessible than outdoor polo and a great entry point for new and young players. Unlike grass polo which is four players per team, arena polo utilizes three players per team.

The Spartacus team, sponsored by Carol Sollak and Engel & Völkers, will feature players Tommy Biddle (10 goals), Kris Kampsen (8) and Santi Torres (7). Contributing sponsors for the Spartacus team are Goose Island Beer, W Development Group, Palm Beach Equine Clinic, and Cavalleria Toscana. Spartacus will face the Crixus team, sponsored by Richard Schechter and the Bainbridge Companies, with players Matias Magrini (9 goals), Mike Azzaro (9) and Felipe Viana (7). Contributing sponsors for Team Spartacus are Shock Top Beer, Equisport Division of Marshall & Sterling Insurance, Pegasus Builders, and the Maya Group at Illustrated Properties. Richard Schechter, CEO of the Bainbridge Companies, one of the Winter Equestrian Festival’s (WEF) longest-running sponsors, was the first to step up to sponsor the event. Schechter commented, “Wellington’s equestrian lifestyle is unique in the World. I am always supportive of innovative ways to strengthen Wellington and enhance that experience.” Carol Sollak, a top WEF and polo sponsor, added, “We need to find ways to bring horse sport to a broader audience, I wanted to make sure we support that effort.”

The International Polo Club, in collaboration with the Palm Beach Riding Academy (PBRA) will be launching the IPC Polo School initiative on Thursday, which will identify and train the next generation of polo players for all skill levels. Each of the Gladiators, Kris Kampsen, Mike Azzaro, Matias Magrini, Tommy Biddle, Felipe Viana, and Santi Torres will donate a one-hour lesson to a lucky child/young adult in attendance at the Thursday night event in order to help launch their “polo career.” Each of the six lucky riders will receive a gift bag as well as receiving a jersey from their gladiator team.

The Gladiator Polo night will also introduce two of the world’s most advanced riding simulators. One simulator teaches general riding skills, and the other trainer teaches polo riding and “stick and ball” training. Each simulator will be based at the Equestrian Village site for the season.

The USPA Polo Network will live stream the event at www.uspolo.org. For more information on Gladiator Polo, please visit www.gladiatorpolo.com or call (561) 793-JUMP.