Category Archives: Polo

Orchard Hill to Face Valiente in US Open Polo Championship Final

Julio Arellano, Facundo Pieres and Sugar Erskine. Photos by Liz Lamont Images / Phelps Media Group.

Coca-Cola and Audi Defeated in Semifinals

Wellington, FL – April 15, 2015 – Orchard Hill and Valiente secured spots in the 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship Final, winning their respective games Wednesday in the semifinals at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC).

Orchard Hill defeated Coca-Cola 12-8. In exciting overtime play, Valiente took Audi 11-10 in overtime on Engel & Völkers field.

A pair of Piereses pounced onto the field with the eye of the tiger, and even the power punch of Pelon Stirling and Julio Arellano couldn’t take them down. If a Pieres didn’t score the goal, he had a hand in it. The cousins controlled the game with cat-like cunning, scoring 10 of Orchard Hills’ 12 goals.

Facundo Pieres made his mallet defy the laws of physics, swinging with such force and at acute angles that it should have ended up looking like a pretzel.

The universal word along the sidelines, which were packed to capacity on both sides of the field, was: “This is how 26-goal polo should be played.” It was open, smooth-as-silk, rollicking polo from start to finish. One seasoned pro even went as far as to say it was the best game he had seen in 10 years.

Coca-Cola came out of the gate strong, with Sugar Erskine making the first goal. The Piereses promptly countered twice. The second chukker opened with a knock-in by Facundo Pieres, who followed up with a neckshot so perfectly calibrated that only Polito Pieres positioned to pick it up. His teammates kept a fired-up Erskine at bay while Polito Pieres dodged out of traffic and left a stunned pack of defenders in the dust. Ezequiel Ferrario took the pass and scored.

Arellano got amped up in the second chukker and went on an extended scoring spree that stretched throughout the game. In typical Arellano form, he was deadly accurate with his penalty shots. All told, he matched Facundo Pieres’ six total goals in the game, making three of them in the sixth chukker.

Orchard Hill held a tight lead in the first half, one point ahead of Coca-Cola at the end of the second and third chukkers. Facundo Pieres closed the second and opened the third with another display of his finely angled neckshots. One, made on a run from one end of the field to the other, shuttled through the air with such turbo that it knocked one of the goalposts down.

The second half opened 5-4 for Orchard Hill. Facundo Pieres fired another missile, this time on a penalty two, which made a loud splash after it whizzed through goal and took a dive into the canal. The fifth chukker was Polito Pieres all the way. He pulled off a hat trick with three consecutive goals. One of them, widely considered the play of the game, was a neckshot from 110 yards that went straight into goal. Orchard Hill closed the chukker with a commanding six-goal lead (11-5). Arellano’s string of goals tightened the gap to four points, but time ran out before Coca-Cola could make more of a dent in Orchard Hills’ dominance. The game ended 12-8 for Orchard Hill.

Orchard Hill had previously defeated Coca-Cola just three days ago in the quarterfinals in a much tighter game, which ended 11-10.

“Coke played so well on Sunday and came out charging in this game, so it was tough the whole way through,” said Steve Van Andel. “Then all of a sudden in the fifth, we had a chukker where everybody on the team had an ‘on’ chukker. We made our shots, we were defending right, and any time somebody got loose they had a chance to score. That’s really what drew us ahead.”

Facundo Pieres pronounced the game “a lot of fun!” Then he laughed, acknowledging that it was no cakewalk. “We were playing well in the beginning of the game, but the goals weren’t coming in. We were a bit unlucky because we missed a lot of goals, but we knew we had to keep on playing well because this is a strong team. We were only one goal up at halftime, so anything could happen.”

But what matters, he said, were the final numbers on the scoreboard. “We all wanted to play this game, and this is where we wanted to end up: in the finals of the U.S. Open.”

Valiente Takes the Birthday Cake
Defeats Audi 11-10 in OT

Valiente defeated Audi 11-10 in overtime during the semifinals of the 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.

What birthday present do you get for the man who has everything? Well, how about a shot at the 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship? Valiente delivered a superb victory over Audi for team captain Adolfo Cambiaso’s birthday. Cambiaso went straight to work in this game, immediately delivering an assist to Alejo Taranco, who drove in a goal at a dead run to put the first goal up on the board for Valiente.

Marc Ganzi, Adolfo Cambiaso, Gonzalito Pieres and Alejo Taranco
Marc Ganzi, Adolfo Cambiaso, Gonzalito Pieres and Alejo Taranco

Soon after, Audi chose to challenge the ball placement of a penalty called in their favor and won, awarding them a penalty three. Gonzalito Pieres made easy work of the conversion, tying up the score 1-1. Pieres quickly tallied up two more goals for Audi, making the score 3-1. Cambiaso rallied for Valiente by converting his own goal, ending the first chukker with a tight score of 3-2.

Audi came out guns blazing in the second chukker, starting off with a breakaway goal by Fred Mannix. After several minutes of play, yet another penalty conversion by Pieres put Audi in the lead 5-2. A series of wide goal attempts had Valiente snake-bit around the goal, and a team play by Pieres and Mannix resulting in a goal had Valiente fans wondering if a comeback was going to happen.

Cambiaso, a sly fox who can never be counted out, made the comeback happen in a matter of minutes. Cambiaso took control of the ball out of the throw-in, driving in a goal that officials reviewed and deemed a goal. A penalty one awarded to Valiente and another goal by Cambiaso brought Valiente within one of Audi and the second chukker ended with a very different outlook for the rest of the game.

Both teams had trouble finding the high flag in the third chukker, playing very close contact polo punctuated by explosive runs down the field. Cambiaso managed to tie the score 6-6 before the end of the half, making it anyone’s game. Pieres and Cambiaso went toe-to-toe throughout the fourth chukker, each of them scoring a goal and fighting to pull their teams ahead.

Audi drew first blood in the fifth chukker, with Pieres sinking a cut shot to break the tie 8-7. Cambiaso quickly responded by racking up two unanswered goals and taking the lead back with authority. Valiente kept Audi at bay at the end of the fifth chukker, with Guillermo Terrera blocking a penalty shot by Pieres.

The sixth chukker had some intense man-on-man play, and a determined Audi scored to tie the game 9-9. Cambiaso, the go-to man, converted a penalty three to take the lead back. In the final moments of regulation play, Pieres, a study in consistency, tied the game 10-10 to take the match into sudden death overtime.

A penalty challenge was the deciding factor of the overtime chukker. A turning penalty against Audi had Valiente invoking their right to challenge, and after further review the call was overturned. In the next play, a penalty five was called in favor of Valiente. Audi made a significant effort to back the ball out of the danger zone, but a well-placed pass by Terrera sent Taranco down field to drive the winning goal in.

Taranco felt that it was Valiente’s careful preparation for the game that sealed the deal.

“We worked during the week to work out the strategy. We understood their game and that led to our victory,” said Taranco.

Patron Bob Jornayvaz agreed that having a solid strategy was integral to the team’s success.

“They’re a running team. Their whole strategy is hit and run, and they do a really good job at it. We had to try to contain them, and they’re a tough team to contain. Especially with Freddie [Mannix], who’s just got those big shots,” said Jornayvaz. “He hits it a country mile. Trying to contain them was tough, so our whole game plan was trying to keep them from getting past mid field.”

In the team tent, after the Valiente contingent sang the Spanish version of “Happy Birthday” to him, Cambiaso said he found the way the game played out “strange.” He paused, looking at the ground as if searching for an explanation. “We were down 6-2 and I didn’t feel like we should be, and then we came back and the game was tied 6-6.”

The 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship Final between Orchard Hill and Valiente takes place at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 19, on Engel & Völkers field at IPC.

International Polo Club Palm Beach Fast Facts

What: Created by players for players, the International Polo Club Palm Beach was born out of the dream to build a facility to showcase the incredible skills of the ponies and players that dominate the sport.

Members and guests enjoy panoramic views of the action from field side box seats or lawn and terrace seating. Sponsors and fans convene at The Winners Circle to congratulate the players during the awards presentation following the games.

Gourmet brunches, après polo celebrations and the prerequisite charitable events will take place in The Pavilion, designed to accommodate large parties, corporate clients, as well as family and friends.

Featured Highlights:

Herbie Pennell Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 1-4, 2015

Joe Barry Memorial Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 4-25, 2015

Ylvisaker Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 28 – February 22, 2015

Iglehart Cup – 20 Goal
Feb. 28 – March 8, 2015

USPA C. V. Whitney Cup – 26 Goal
Feb. 15 – March 1, 2015

Piaget USPA Gold Cup® – 26 Goal
March 4-22, 2015

111th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship® – 26 Goal
March 25 – April 19, 2015

Directions:

From the Turnpike:
Take the Lake Worth Exit
Head west on FL-802 W/Lake Worth Rd toward Hooks Rd
Continue to follow Lake Worth Rd (3.9 miles)
Turn right onto 120th Ave S
Destination will be ahead on the left (0.4 miles)

From I-95:
Exit Forest Hill Blvd, head West
Make Left turn onto 441/St Rd 7
Make Right turn onto Lake Worth Rd
Make Right turn onto 120th Ave S
Destination on Left

Information:
3667 120th Ave S, Wellington, FL 33414
International Polo Club Palm Beach: 561-204-5687
Mallet Grille: 561-282-5340
Spa & Fitness Center: 561-282-5288
Tennis Pro Shop: 561-795-7228
Polo Operations Office: 561-282-5283
Polo Hotline: 561-282-5290

Website:
www.internationalpoloclub.com

For Tickets:
http://internationalpoloclub.ticketleap.com/

Hotels:
Hampton Inn & Suites – (561) 472-9696 – Approximately 2 miles
Hampton Inn – (561) 472-5980 – Approximately 4 miles
Four Seasons Resort – (561) 582-2800 – Approximately 9 miles
The Breakers – (561) 655-6611 – Approximately 9 miles
Kimpton Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa – (561) 540-6440 – Approximately 9 miles

Management:
John Wash – President of Club Operations
jwash@internationalpoloclub.com
561-282-5353

MEDIA CONTACT:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Coca-Cola and Valiente Speed toward Semifinals in 111th US Open

Gillian Johnston. Photos: Liz Lamont Images/Phelps Media Group.

FlexJet, Lechuza Caracas Defeated in Quarterfinals

Wellington, FL – April 12, 2015 – Coca-Cola and Valiente will advance to the semifinals of the 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship on Wednesday, having won their respective quarterfinal matches Sunday at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC).

In the featured match on Engel & Völkers field, Coca-Cola trounced FlexJet 15-10. Julio Arellano was named MVP, and the Best-Playing Pony award went to Prima, played by Nic Roldan. Earlier in the day, Valiente defeated Lechuza Caracas 13-12.

Coca-Cola played a classic game of “eyes on the prize,” ending the day one step closer to the coveted U.S. Open Polo Championship Final by securing a spot in the semis.

In the opening minutes of the game FlexJet took a brief lead with two field goals, but Coca-Cola promptly touched down like a tornado. Before the first chukker ended, Julio Arellano made three points on penalty shots, and teammates Sugar Erskine and Gillian Johnston each scored from the field. Erskine’s goal started with his save in the danger zone, continued with a pass from Arellano and finished with a trademark Erskine breakaway run to goal. Johnston, on a pickup, scored from 83 yards out.

After its jump-start Coca-Cola stayed in the groove, playing a solid 42 minutes of power polo and never letting FlexJet regain the lead. Stirling outmaneuvered his defenders in the second chukker, breaking free from a five-horse scramble to run the ball into goal. By the middle of the chukker, all four Coca-Cola players had scored at least once in the game. The team led 8-4 at the end of the first half.

As tight as a rock band in sync, Coca-Cola scored at the top of the fourth on a three-way play. Arellano took the knock-in and sent the ball to Erskine, who made a long pass to Johnston. She was out ahead, waiting in the wings. Alternating from one side of her pony to the other, she worked the ball toward goal. When her angle of approach looked like a shot on goal could go wide, she put the right touch of backspin on the ball and sent it straight between the goalposts.

On a pass from Stirling, Erskine closed the fourth chukker with one of his four field goals in the game. In what looked like a madcap dash – but was a study in agility – Erskine kept the wraps on a ball that was bouncing knee-high and shepherded it into goal.

Still, FlexJet could not be written off. As Erskine observed, “They are very technically sound, so we had to make sure we didn’t make mistakes. Every time we made a mistake, they scored a goal. That’s their system. They’re very well organized.”

With two eight-goalers and a nine in its lineup, FlexJet was packing a lot of firepower and pulled the trigger whenever a door opened. It almost crossed the threshold in the fifth chukker when Nic Roldan pulled off a turbo-charged hat trick. In just three-and-a-half minutes, he galloped up and down the field to make three consecutive goals (on top of his previous three).

FlexJet’s power surge put a huge dent in the five-point lead Coca-Cola had going into the fifth chukker, tightening the point spread from 11-6 to 11-9. For a time it appeared that FlexJet may be about to catch up or maybe even turn the tide. Coca-Cola was not about to let that happen, however. It promptly nipped Roldan’s scoring rampage, with Sugar Erskine and Julio Arellano each answering one of his goals.

Arellano slammed in two more goals in the sixth chukker, and Magoo Laprida had the final word before the game ended 15-10 for Coca-Cola.

“We came out really up for the game, really focused,” said Stirling, the sole 10-goaler on the field. “The four of us know exactly what our weapon is, and that’s our number one. So we use her, she helps us, we use Sugar and Julio to open the game up and play our way. It’s all team effort. If we win, we win as a team, and when we lose, we lose as a team.”

Arellano said that the game plan was to try to open the game up. “I got the ball to Gillian, and she did what she had to do with it,” he said. “That puts a lot of pressure on most teams. When the sponsor can get a few goals in like that early, it makes it very difficult. She’s been working very hard, and Pelon’s been controlling the ball when he needs to, which has been phenomenal, and Sugar and I just try to do our part.”

Erskine concurred. “We tried to use Gillian all we could all day,” he said. “We managed to get the ball down to her a lot easier today than we did in the last game. That’s what our plan was, and she pulled us ahead all day long.”

Jet Propelled Valiente Roars by Lechuza Caracas in US Open Quarterfinal Action

Adolfo Cambiaso and Bob Jornayvaz triumphantly returned from injury to the Valiente starting lineup to lead their team past Lechuza Caracas 13-12 in a high flying U.S. Open quarterfinal. Cambiaso switched horses an incredible four times in the sixth chukker, starting with Boeing and then playing Boeing’s full sister Lufthansa, to propel Valiente to the win and advance the team to the U.S. Open semifinals.

Adolfo Cambiaso
Adolfo Cambiaso

After the game Cambiaso said with pride about the stallion Boeing, “He is my best one right now! We ran a lot that game; I knew I would have to go a lot and then come back so I played a lot of horses.” Cambiaso was equally complimentary about super substitute Sapo Caset who played for him throughout bracket play in the Open, “Luckily we have Sapo – what a substitute! He found the route for us (to the quarterfinal).”

A beaming Bob Jornayvaz said about returning from injury, “It was great to have everybody back and have the starting team play. We had a lot of energy. Finally we are getting healthy and hopefully by Wednesday (for the semifinal) we will be a lot healthier.”

Jornayvaz and Cambiaso made an immediate impact in the game. Cambiaso won the first bowl in and passed the ball to Jornayvaz. Jornayvaz drove down to the north goal, Lechuza briefly cleared the ball but Guillermo Terrara drove the ball in to goal for first blood to Valiente.

In the second chukker, a fired up Valiente team continued to score and jumped out to a 3-1 lead. Lechuza dug in and went on a four-goal scoring spree, capped by the nimble Juan Martin Nero riding an equally nimble blaze faced chestnut dancing around the defenders to score as the warning horn sounded.

The third chukker was a sublime example of spectacular teamwork on the part of both teams. They played wide-open, shooting at goal from a distance and using quick passes and unselfish team play to create opportunities for their teammates. Terrara scored a quick goal for Valiente that was followed by a Cambiaso penalty 4 conversion. Then Nero cleared the ball out of his own goal to send a pass to a Victor Vargas, Vargas charged down the field carrying the ball and Nero passed him and held the defender wide. Vargas passed the ball to Nero on the run and Nero shot for goal on the near side. Terrara and Cambiaso immediately retaliated on a series of play that mirrored the Lechuza series; Terrara drove the ball down the field and then left the ball while holding out the defender to allow Cambiaso to blast through to goal. Cambiaso added one more goal to close out the third chukker with Valiente holding a slim one goal lead 7-6 over Lechuza.

Valiente took advantage of a costly penalty one called against Lechuza in the start of the fourth chukker to capitalize on the ensuing bowl in for another goal. Lechuza was shut out of goal for most of the chukker but just before the warning horn blew Nero dribbled around the defenders to score to keep Lechuza within striking distance of Valiente.

Down by two goals to Valiente, the Lechuza team brought the hustle to the fifth chukker and went on the attack. Nico Pieres contributed a pair of penalty three conversions, but Cambiaso countered with his own penalty three conversions to hold the lead. But yet again, Lechuza drove the ball down field just as the warning horn sounded, Augustin Garcia Grossi scored on the south end to bring Lechuza within one while Cambiaso threw his hands in the air in frustration.

Cambiaso only had one practice post injury coming into the semifinal, and a lesser player might have been exhibiting fatigue about sixth chukker of a hard fought match with the opponent changing the momentum. But Cambiaso was riding the supernaturally quick Boeing in the sixth and the muscular stallion brought him to every play. Cambiaso converted a penalty four to put Valiente ahead by two goals, only to see Nero outhustle his defender down field and set up Pieres for another penalty three conversion. Attacking the south goal, Cambiaso cut a neck shot to goal and then Boeing banked the turn to bring him back to the ball, forcing the Lechuza defender to ride off Cambiaso at a bad angle and giving the foul shot to Valiente. Taranco converted the penalty two to give Valiente the insurance goal. Lechuza threw everything they had at Valiente in the closing minutes of the sixth chukker and made one more penalty four to close within one goal, but Cambiaso switched to Lufthansa, then OneTip, then Sugar to outrun the Lechuza players and seal the deal for Valiente.

The 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship continues Wednesday with the semifinals at IPC. Coca-Cola will play Orchard Hill at 2:30 p.m., and Valiente will contest Audi at 5 p.m.

International Polo Club Palm Beach Fast Facts

What: Created by players for players, the International Polo Club Palm Beach was born out of the dream to build a facility to showcase the incredible skills of the ponies and players that dominate the sport.

Members and guests enjoy panoramic views of the action from field side box seats or lawn and terrace seating. Sponsors and fans convene at The Winners Circle to congratulate the players during the awards presentation following the games.

Gourmet brunches, après polo celebrations and the prerequisite charitable events will take place in The Pavilion, designed to accommodate large parties, corporate clients, as well as family and friends.

Featured Highlights:

Herbie Pennell Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 1-4, 2015

Joe Barry Memorial Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 4-25, 2015

Ylvisaker Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 28 – February 22, 2015

Iglehart Cup – 20 Goal
Feb. 28 – March 8, 2015

USPA C. V. Whitney Cup – 26 Goal
Feb. 15 – March 1, 2015

Piaget USPA Gold Cup® – 26 Goal
March 4-22, 2015

111th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship® – 26 Goal
March 25 – April 19, 2015

Directions:

From the Turnpike:
Take the Lake Worth Exit
Head west on FL-802 W/Lake Worth Rd toward Hooks Rd
Continue to follow Lake Worth Rd (3.9 miles)
Turn right onto 120th Ave S
Destination will be ahead on the left (0.4 miles)

From I-95:
Exit Forest Hill Blvd, head West
Make Left turn onto 441/St Rd 7
Make Right turn onto Lake Worth Rd
Make Right turn onto 120th Ave S
Destination on Left

Information:
3667 120th Ave S, Wellington, FL 33414
International Polo Club Palm Beach: 561-204-5687
Mallet Grille: 561-282-5340
Spa & Fitness Center: 561-282-5288
Tennis Pro Shop: 561-795-7228
Polo Operations Office: 561-282-5283
Polo Hotline: 561-282-5290

Website:
www.internationalpoloclub.com

For Tickets:
http://internationalpoloclub.ticketleap.com/

Hotels:
Hampton Inn & Suites – (561) 472-9696 – Approximately 2 miles
Hampton Inn – (561) 472-5980 – Approximately 4 miles
Four Seasons Resort – (561) 582-2800 – Approximately 9 miles
The Breakers – (561) 655-6611 – Approximately 9 miles
Kimpton Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa – (561) 540-6440 – Approximately 9 miles

Management:
John Wash – President of Club Operations
jwash@internationalpoloclub.com
561-282-5353

MEDIA CONTACT:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

JPMorgan Chase Rides Off with Senators Cup in 6th Annual International Gay Polo Tournament

Mark Bennett, Caroline Anier, Joey Casey, Misha Rodizanko and Mason Phelps. Photos: Liz Lamont Images/Phelps Media Group.

Cedar Crest Wins Founders Cup in Exciting Tie-Breaker

Wellington, FL – April 11, 2015 – JPMorgan Chase won the 2015 Senators Cup, defeating Gordon W. Ross-RE/MAX 5-3 in Saturday’s final of The 6th Annual International Gay Polo Tournament at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC). Misha Rodizanko, the high-scorer for JPMorgan Chase, was named MVP.

Earlier in the day Cedar Crest clinched the 2015 Founders Cup in a penalty shootout after a tied match, taking McGladrey 9-8. Chip McKenney, who scored the winning goal, was selected as MVP.

The name of the sport is polo, but if you ask the players, the name of this game was fun. With festive tailgating going in theme-decorated booths fieldside – and the goalposts decked out in rainbow colors – The 6th Annual International Gay Polo Tournament was polo with panache.

“It was a great open game, and the field was fabulous,” said French pro Caroline Anier, who was instrumental in JPMorgan Chase’s win. “The weather was beautiful, the organization was great, and we were having a lot of fun. When you have a victory on top of this, it’s like a bonus.”

Gordon W. Ross-RE/MAX took an early lead, with teammates Gordon Ross and Misha Rodizanko each making a goal to close the first chukker with a one-point lead. JPMorgan Chase didn’t let that stand for long, however. The team surged in the second chukker and never looked back, maintaining a tight lead through the rest of the game.

The hottest action came in the second chukker, with Anier making two goals and teammate Tiffany Busch contributing another. A series of smooth plays by the evenly matched teams began with pro Joey Casey in the driver’s seat. He took the ball downfield full-tilt boogie in what looked like a sure run to goal, but then Anier swooped in.

She was all over the ball until Mason Phelps jumped in and broke up the play. With fine-tuned situational awareness, Phelps kept the ball under his wing just long enough for teammate Misha Rodizanko (the team’s high scorer) to get into position. Phelps passed the ball to him, and things were looking good again for Gordon W. Ross-RE/MAX.

But Anier suddenly resurfaced and rewrote the equation. On an assist from Mark Bennett, she took the ball on a breakaway, her lead increasing exponentially like Secretariat in the home stretch. Three seconds before the warning horn, she scored, ending the first half 4-2 for JPMorgan Chase.

The third chukker brought a bit of déjà vu, as Rodizanko also scored in its final seconds à la Anier. In the final period of the four-chukker match, Busch made her second goal of the day, sealing the deal for JPMorgan Chase, 5-3.

“That was probably the fastest game I’ve ever played!” said a jubilant Mark Bennett, who scored in the first chukker. “Caroline and Tiffany were wonderful. They put us where we needed to be, always calling the shots, giving good direction and great leadership. It was an awesome game. I’m happy to win, and I’m happy for JPMorgan.”

Jed Pearsall attributed the team’s victory to his teammates. “It was all them,” he said with a good-natured laugh. “I just tried to hold my own and not hold anyone back.” He added that Anier and Busch “were coaches on the field, as well as teammates. They coached us through everything, and that made it the way it should be – we were all smiling 100 percent of the time.”

Cedar Crest Takes McGladrey 9-8
Wins Founders Cup in Tiebreaker

“When you’re playing and you see all these wonderful people enjoying themselves on the sidelines, there just aren’t words for it!” said Rafik Boughadoui. “What a fun event – you come happy and you leave happy!”

Boughadoui had yet another reason to be happy: His team won the 2015 Founders Cup in the subsidiary match of the 6th Annual International Gay Polo Tournament at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC). He made a crucial assist on the first goal of the match, which was sent into goal by Jean-Marc Herrouin. Their teammate Sunny Hale followed up with another, ending the first chukker 2-0 for Cedar Crest. McGladrey answered both of those goals in the second, with Dwight Tran and Charlie Muldoon each scoring.

Sunny Hale, Rafik Boughadoui and Dwight Tran
Sunny Hale, Rafik Boughadoui and Dwight Tran

Muldoon, who was McGladrey’s high scorer with three goals in the game, earned the moniker “Ramrod” from announcer Gus Whitelaw. The McGladrey contingent on the sidelines adopted it, cheering, “Go, Ramrod!” every time Muldoon ran with the ball. Muldoon mania caught on like wildfire. From tailgate booths on both sides of the field, champagne glasses could be heard clinking and the chant “Rammmm-rod!” echoing when Muldoon scored.

Meanwhile, the players kept their focus. Halftime ended with a 2-2 tie. Hale scored in the third and fourth chukkers. Muldoon answered with two back-to-back goals in the final period of the four-chukker match, bringing the spectators’ cheering to a crescendo as he tied the game 4-all at the end of regulation play.

A penalty shootout went two rounds. Chip McKenney, a deadeye accurate player who was 100 percent on his penalty shots, broke the tie with the winning goal and was named MVP. The match ended 9-8 for Cedar Crest.

What did McKenney think of the game?

“Exciting, exciting!” were the first words out of his mouth. “It was neck-and-neck all the way. I thought we had it in the fourth chukker, and then in the last 30 seconds they scored a tying goal,” he said.

“I think the shootout was a fun way to end it because every time you make a shot and every time you miss a shot, it just adds to the pressure of getting the next shot. So it really builds the tension. It’s a pretty fun way to end a tied game.”

Teammate Jean-Marc Herrouin, who scored in the first chukker and made both his penalty shots in the shootout, attributed his success to Hale. “It was a real honor to play with Sunny Hale, one of the top women polo players in the world,” he said. “Just spending time on the field with her improved my game tremendously.”

Hale, in her first time playing in the tournament, described it as “a nice, flowing, running game – a good, exciting game.” Noting that her team had played together for the first time just the previous day, she said, “Today it was a lot easier to gel because we’re a little more used to each other.”

Win or lose, said Hale, she had another reason for participating in the 6th Annual International Gay Polo Tournament: “I’m here because I support Chip McKenney’s efforts to promote more fun in polo and having a good time with friends, and that’s exactly what this event was.”

About the Gay Polo League:

GPL is a community that shares a love for adventure, fun and the challenging sport of polo. GPL is committed to providing members with an enjoyable, supportive and competitive experience. GPL represents a wide range of ages, backgrounds and skill levels. GPL trains and competes in mainstream matches and events while sharing enthusiasm for the sport, to change perceptions about our community.

For more information about GPL, visit www.gaypolo.com.

Tickets are now available for The 6th Annual International Gay Polo Week at www.gaypolo.com/the-event.

The 6th Annual International Gay Polo Week Fast Facts:

When & Where:
Thursday, April 9:
Exclusive private VIP Party

Friday, April 10:
GPL Polotini Party, Poolside at the Mallet Grille International Polo Club Palm Beach

Saturday, April 11:
Finals of the International Gay Polo Tournament at International Polo Club Palm Beach – Isla Carroll East Field and tailgate competition.

Sunday, April 12:
Polo Brunch, Poolside at the Mallet Grille International Polo Club Palm Beach

Tickets:

To purchase tickets, visit www.gaypolo.com

VIP Tables: $1,200 includes seating for six center field, open bar, gourmet food and tableside service throughout the matches.

Individual VIP: Tickets: $225

Tailgate Price: $375, includes tent, six tickets and one field-side parking place

VIP Parking: $25

General Admission: $25 (parking additional)

General Admission Parking: $10

MEDIA CONTACT:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Exciting Team Play Kicks Off 6th Annual International Gay Polo Tournament

Tiffany Busch. Photos: Liz Lamont Images/Phelps Media Group.

Wellington, FL – April 10, 2015 – Teams for JP Morgan Chase and Gordon W. Ross-RE/MAX will face off in Saturday’s final of The 6th Annual International Gay Polo Tournament at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC).

Both teams won their respective matches Friday at IPC. JP Morgan Chase bested Cedar Crest 7-4, and Gordon W. Ross-RE/MAX defeated McGladrey 6-4.

“I have always wanted to play in this tournament. I’m absolutely thrilled!” said Tiffany Busch after her winning game for JP Morgan Chase. “Everyone has such upbeat, great attitudes out here. This is the kind of polo that I personally love to play. Everybody’s smiling – win, lose, it doesn’t matter. We’re all having a good time and looking at the big picture.”

Mason Phelps, who played on the winning Gordon W. Ross-RE/MAX slate, gave thanks to his teammate Joey Casey, Mike Harris and Palm City Polo Club for “putting it together for me in five weeks.” Phelps, a new participant in the GPL tournament, recently began studying and practicing at Casey’s facility.

Casey, a professional player and coach, said he was “really proud of Mason today in his first tournament – he played amazing and stayed in the flow.”

Chip McKenney, Sunny Hale and Caroline Anier
Chip McKenney, Sunny Hale and Caroline Anier

GPL founder Chip McKenney, who competed for Cedar Crest, described Friday’s game as “incredibly fast and tough,” adding, “I thought we were really well matched for the other team, but we were simply outplayed by Caroline Anier and Tiffany Busch, who were so quick off the ball and on the ball, off the pass and on the pass,” said McKenney. “It was amazing! We gave it a good go, and I’m proud of how we played. We’ll be cheering the other team on tomorrow in the finals.”

The action resumes Saturday at 1 p.m. at IPC on the Isla Carroll East field, when McGladrey plays Cedar Crest for the Founders Cup. McGladrey’s lineup is: Dwight Tran, Stacie Simpkins, Charlie Muldoon and Phil Tremo. Cedar Crest’s players are: Rafik Boughadoui, Jean-Marc Herrouin, Chip McKenney and Sunny Hale.

In the featured match at 3 p.m., JP Morgan Chase opposes Gordon W. Ross-RE/MAX for the Senator’s Cup. The lineup for JP Morgan Chase is: Busch, Caroline Anier, Jed Pearsall and Mark Bennett. Playing for Gordon W. Ross-RE/MAX are: Gordon Ross, Misha Rodizanko, Phelps and Casey.

About the Gay Polo League:

GPL is a community that shares a love for adventure, fun and the challenging sport of polo. GPL is committed to providing members with an enjoyable, supportive and competitive experience. GPL represents a wide range of ages, backgrounds and skill levels. GPL trains and competes in mainstream matches and events while sharing enthusiasm for the sport, to change perceptions about our community.

For more information about GPL, visit www.gaypolo.com.

Tickets are now available for The 6th Annual International Gay Polo Week at www.gaypolo.com/the-event.

The 6th Annual International Gay Polo Week Fast Facts:

When & Where:
Thursday, April 9:
Exclusive private VIP Party

Friday, April 10:
GPL Polotini Party, Poolside at the Mallet Grille International Polo Club Palm Beach

Saturday, April 11:
Finals of the International Gay Polo Tournament at International Polo Club Palm Beach – Isla Carroll East Field and tailgate competition.

Sunday, April 12:
Polo Brunch, Poolside at the Mallet Grille International Polo Club Palm Beach

Tickets:

To purchase tickets, visit www.gaypolo.com

VIP Tables: $1,200 includes seating for six center field, open bar, gourmet food and tableside service throughout the matches.

Individual VIP: Tickets: $225

Tailgate Price: $375, includes tent, six tickets and one field-side parking place

VIP Parking: $25

General Admission: $25 (parking additional)

General Admission Parking: $10

MEDIA CONTACT:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

PTF Hosts New Zealand Schools Team in Junior Polo Exchange

Sam Martin of the New Zealand Schools team makes a strong neck shot. Photo courtesy of PTF.

Wellington, FL – April 10, 2015 – The Polo Training Foundation (PTF) had the pleasure of hosting the New Zealand Schools team April 1-7 as part of the PTF junior polo exchange program.

The junior players that participated in the exchange are Sam Martin, 17, Jimmy Downes, 17, Dean Fullerton, 17, Will Appleby, 15, and Adam Haworth, 17. Players range in handicap from -1 to 1 and have been playing polo for at least two years. They represent three polo clubs from New Zealand: Christchurch, Rangitikei and Waipara.

While the players were here, they played in several matches against other junior polo teams both at Grand Champions Polo Club and Vero Beach Polo Club. They took advantage of the high-goal season here in Wellington to watch several matches of the 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship, the most prestigious high-goal polo tournament in North America, hosted by the International Polo Club Palm Beach.

The exchange program put in place by the PTF is instrumental in developing junior polo players from the United States. During each exchange, players are able to gain valuable insight into polo in other countries and develop connections within the global polo community. Two years ago, the PTF took a team to New Zealand to play, and in 2014 they took a team to England.

About the Polo Training Foundation

Since 1967, the Polo Training Foundation has been committed to excellence in the great sport of polo. The PTF supports polo training at all levels by providing funds for the development of current and future generations of players and umpires. The Foundation’s many programs include beginner clinics designed to teach young people the principles of polo and international player exchanges. Through its activities, the PTF seeks to encourage the highest standards of sportsmanship and to promote international good will through polo competition. For more information: www.polotraining.org.

To contact the PTF:
Jennifer McLeavy
jenniferannpoor@yahoo.com
floridajrpolo@yahoo.com
Phone: (561) 670-3616

IPC Hosts Third Annual National Youth Tournament Series Tournament

One of the players for the Blue team winds up for a swing. Photo by Lindsay Dolan.

Wellington, Florida – April 9, 2015 – The third annual IPC NYTS tournament took place on Monday, April 6 at Everglades Polo Club. Three youth teams played in hopes of qualifying for the National Championships as All-Stars in the National Youth Tournament Series (NYTS) program.

Players in the NYTS program can play in qualifying tournaments in any zone, and can be named All-Stars. If the player is named an All-Star, they are eligible to represent their home zone in the National Championships.

IPC All stars:
Nico Escobar
Benji Daniels
Matt Cohen
Jack Mc Lean
Justin Daniels

RED
Jacqui Casey
Matt Cohen
Lucas Escobar
Nico Escobar

WHITE
Malia Bryan
Johnny Lavine
Liam Lott
J. P. Vasquez

BLUE
Benji Daniels
Justin Daniels
Landen Daniels
Jack McLean

International Polo Club Palm Beach Fast Facts

What: Created by players for players, the International Polo Club Palm Beach was born out of the dream to build a facility to showcase the incredible skills of the ponies and players that dominate the sport.

Members and guests enjoy panoramic views of the action from field side box seats or lawn and terrace seating. Sponsors and fans convene at The Winners Circle to congratulate the players during the awards presentation following the games.

Gourmet brunches, après polo celebrations and the prerequisite charitable events will take place in The Pavilion, designed to accommodate large parties, corporate clients, as well as family and friends.

Featured Highlights:

Herbie Pennell Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 1-4, 2015

Joe Barry Memorial Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 4-25, 2015

Ylvisaker Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 28 – February 22, 2015

Iglehart Cup – 20 Goal
Feb. 28 – March 8, 2015

USPA C. V. Whitney Cup – 26 Goal
Feb. 15 – March 1, 2015

Piaget USPA Gold Cup® – 26 Goal
March 4-22, 2015

111th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship® – 26 Goal
March 25 – April 19, 2015

Directions:

From the Turnpike:
Take the Lake Worth Exit
Head west on FL-802 W/Lake Worth Rd toward Hooks Rd
Continue to follow Lake Worth Rd (3.9 miles)
Turn right onto 120th Ave S
Destination will be ahead on the left (0.4 miles)

From I-95:
Exit Forest Hill Blvd, head West
Make Left turn onto 441/St Rd 7
Make Right turn onto Lake Worth Rd
Make Right turn onto 120th Ave S
Destination on Left

Information:
3667 120th Ave S, Wellington, FL 33414
International Polo Club Palm Beach: 561-204-5687
Mallet Grille: 561-282-5340
Spa & Fitness Center: 561-282-5288
Tennis Pro Shop: 561-795-7228
Polo Operations Office: 561-282-5283
Polo Hotline: 561-282-5290

Website:
www.internationalpoloclub.com

For Tickets:
http://internationalpoloclub.ticketleap.com/

Hotels:
Hampton Inn & Suites – (561) 472-9696 – Approximately 2 miles
Hampton Inn – (561) 472-5980 – Approximately 4 miles
Four Seasons Resort – (561) 582-2800 – Approximately 9 miles
The Breakers – (561) 655-6611 – Approximately 9 miles
Kimpton Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa – (561) 540-6440 – Approximately 9 miles

Management:
John Wash – President of Club Operations
jwash@internationalpoloclub.com
561-282-5353

MEDIA CONTACT:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

The ‘Facundo Factor’ Propels Orchard Hill into Semifinals

Wellington, FL – April 8, 2015 – In a last-minute scramble, Orchard Hill defeated Coca-Cola 11-10, securing a spot in the semifinals of the 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC). Also Wednesday in bracket play for the Open, Alegria Assist Card beat Audi 10-5 and Lechuza Caracas defeated FlexJet 10-9 in overtime.

The morning game at IPC could have played out as well on a precision driving course as it did on a polo field. In one of the fastest and most wide-open games to date in the 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship, Coca-Cola and Orchard Hill swarmed after each other like bees from a nest that had just burst open.

Determined to be the victor, both teams made a tremendous number of attempts on goal from start to finish. More times than you could count on two hands, just when it looked like in a definite goal was in the works, the ball bounced off the goalpost or went wide.

The most excruciating instance of that came moments before the final horn. With Orchard Hill leading by a point, Sugar Erskine passed the ball to Gillian Johnston. She was just about to tap it into goal to tie the game when Facundo Pieres lunged defensively toward the ball, like a mother mountain lion protecting its cub. That triggered a whistle, which drew a look of absolute astonishment from Facundo Pieres. Orchard Hill challenged the foul, but after a review on instant replay in the Horseplay.tv booth, it was upheld.

That gave Coca-Cola a second chance to tie the game. When Arellano rode up to take the penalty shot, it was a foregone conclusion that yet another U.S. Open match would go into overtime – but no. Normally a beacon of precision, he hit a smooth drive that looked bang-on for goal. But then, as if touched by an occult hand, the ball inexplicably veered a couple of inches wide. Spectators gasped and stared at the scoreboard in disbelief.

This was a game of inches (at times even millimeters) for both teams – and heartbreak for Coca-Cola. At the outset, a blur of red streaked across the field as then-undefeated Coca-Cola took an early lead. Its players were in a tight sync in the first chukker, and Coca-Cola racked up three goals to Orchard Hill’s one. Coca-Cola maintained a rollicking lead all the way through the first half, much of it thanks to Gillian Johnston, who made back-to-back goals in the first chukker and another in the third, all from the field.

Coca-Cola seemed to be sitting in the catbird’s seat, but it was not to be. The “Facundo factor” had been in stealth mode for the first few chukkers – not surprising, given that Facundo Pieres doesn’t exactly do cartwheels when he hears that he’s playing an early match. But once his morning mate kicks in, he’s unstoppable.

Patron Steve Van Andel conceded that Orchard Hill had gotten off to a slow start. “Then we got our team together,” he said. “We all played our positions and played the men, and it worked out great. But it was tough. They’ve all been tough. Coca-Cola’s a tough team. They play hard.”

By the middle of the game, Facundo Pieres was a marked man. Arellano made it his mission to keep him out of the action, just as Las Monjitas had tried to do Sunday in its duel with Orchard Hill. But if ever there was a moving target in a polo helmet, it is Facundo Pieres. As he has shown throughout the 26-goal season, he is a master at playing “catch me if you can.” Refusing to be muscled by Coca-Cola, Facundo Pieres kept on dancing to goal Wednesday, intermittently checking over his shoulder as if to say, “Who’s there? Who cares?”

As so many opposing teams have learned the hard way, letting Facundo Pieres get to the penalty line is the kiss of death. A study in consistency, he scored on three penalty shots, one each in the second, third and fourth chukkers. He ignited the afterburners and made three additional field goals, one in the fourth, fifth and sixth chukkers. He was the only player to score in the fourth.

His scoring prowess aside, Facundo Pieres also knows how – and when – to share the wealth. He gave an unexpected assist to cousin Polito Pieres, who (with Sugar Erskine looking like he was going to leap into his hip pocket) tied the game at 4-all in the second chukker. Polito Pieres made it through several bumps and physical rideoffs with 10-goaler Pelon Stirling, who played a typically strong game throughout.

Two Facundo Pieres goals moved Orchard Hill into the lead for the first time in the fourth chukker, which ended 7-6. Coca-Cola tried mightily but never regained the lead. Arellano kept the fight alive for Coca-Cola in the fifth chukker with two goals, but Orchard Hill answered both of them. Each of the Pieres cousins scored in the final chukker, as did Erskine.

Coca-Cola implemented the exact strategy that Erskine had described as its plan in last Sunday’s matchup with Las Monjitas. Although Coca-Cola still got to the “W,” the plan didn’t fly that time. The idea had been for her teammates to feed the ball to Johnston, the indomitable winner of the 2002 U.S. Open, who would take it to goal, as she did repeatedly on Wednesday.

Coca-Cola’s strategy came as no surprise to Orchard Hill. “We knew it from the beginning of the game – they always do that,” said Facundo Pieres. “It was a little bit difficult for us to get Gillian. She scored in the first chukkers. She always gives the team two or three goals per game. We just wanted to keep her from scoring any, but she did score three, so she had a good game.”

In his estimation, Orchard Hill played better this time than it did Sunday. “After the first half we started to win the game, but it was tough,” he said. “I’m very happy that we won because now we’re in the semis, and that’s where we wanted to be.

Alegria Assist Card Closes Out the Season with a Win
Audi Advances to US Open Semifinals with 2-1 Record

Alegria Assist Card used a balanced attack to defeat Audi in the last round of bracket play in the U.S. Open. Julian Mannix led the team with four goals scored and Sterling Giannico and Hilario Ulloa both scored three goals en route to the 10-5 victory.

Hilario Ulloa and Rodrigo Andrade
Hilario Ulloa and Rodrigo Andrade

Audi with a 2-0 record and Alegria Assist Card at 0-2 faced off in a third round bracket game where pride was at stake more than results. By the previous results in bracket play Audi had already qualified for the U.S.Open semifinals, Alegria had lost the ability to advance.

Sterling Giannico said after the game, “Even though we were out we wanted to play well. I am new to Florida and it was important to leave on the right foot. I think Audi tried to save horses and ended up not playing how they wanted.”

From the first chukker it was evident that Alegria Assist Card was determined to finish out the season well. Giannico started the scoring off when he accepted a pass from Mariano Aguerre at midfield and outran the hook of the defender for the first goal. Julian Mannix added three more goals for Alegria Assist Card in the first half. Just as it looked like Audi would be held scoreless for the half, Gonzalito Pieres made a run for Audi to notch a point on the board and make the score 4-1 still in favor of the Alegria Assist Card heading into halftime.

Alegria Assist Card outscored Audi 3-1 in the fourth chukker to extend their lead to 7-2. The youngsters on Alegria Assist Card, Mannix and Giannico, were playing particularly well together, although Freddie Mannix had some breathtaking goal line saves for Audi to keep the game from becoming a route. Audi closed within four of Alegria Assist Card in the fifth with a pair of Pieres penalty goals, and Marc Ganzi added a penalty goal as well in the sixth chukker, but Hilario Ulloa and Giannico scored again for Alegria Assist Card to close out the match with a 10-5 victory over Audi and finish the U.S. Open with the victory for the defending champions.

Audi, by virtue of defeating the other two qualifiers in Bracket II, has the coveted bye to the semifinals and will play again on Wednesday, April 15 in the U.S. Open semifinals at International Polo Club. Alegria Assist Card is out of contention for the qualifying rounds but proved that they are fighters to the end with the win today.

Lechuza Caracas Takes It Home
Defeats FlexJet 10-9 in Overtime

Lechuza Caracas defeated FlexJet 10-9 in overtime in bracket play for the 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship at Lechuza Caracas.

Lechuza Caracas had the home field advantage in its match against FlexJet, and the team used it to make a nail-biting comeback. Nic Roldan got the jump in play, shooting out of the throw-in to make the first point of the match for FlexJet.

Juan Martin Nero and Miguel Novillo Astrada
Juan Martin Nero and Miguel Novillo Astrada

In a match featuring some of the biggest hitters in the sport, spectators were treated to spectacular long passes as the teams battled for control. Passing was the name of the game for both teams as they played full-steam ahead. A penalty conversion by Agustin Garcia Grossi tied the score 1-1. Roldan immediately fired back with a goal to put FlexJet in the lead 2-1. After a goal attempt by Nico Pieres went wide, Roldan made an incredible backshot out of the air, showcasing his defensive skills as he did throughout the match.

Play continued at a brisk pace, with both teams evenly matched and playing a very physical game. Roldan played zone back, hopping on the ball as soon as it crossed into FlexJet territory. Magoo Laprida racked up two more goals to put FlexJet firmly in the lead.

Lechuza Caracas rallied with a goal attempt by Victor Vargas before Grossi picked up a broken play and drove in a goal to begin to close the gap. Juan Martin Nero, the sole 10-goaler on the field, tapped in a goal with Roldan in hot pursuit. Laprida tapped in a goal, allowing FlexJet to keep its lead intact before the half.

In the fourth chukker Lechuza Caracas was snake bitten around the goal, with attempt after attempt going wide, but strong defensive play kept it afloat. A penalty conversion by Roldan made the score 6-3 as he threaded the needle along the ground, weaving the ball through a wall of defending players to score. Vargas made an impressive run and shot the ball through the uprights to score before the end of the fourth chukker.

FlexJet switched modes into defense as the game wore on, sending the ball out of its territory with the ease of someone sweeping a floor. A conversion by penalty-shooting ace Pieres brought Lechuza Caracas within one as it cranked up the heat on FlexJet. One more shot made by Pieres, as he walked up in his signature style, retied the match 6-6. Roldan, never one to crack under pressure, responded with a stunningly fast breakaway to break the tie.

Pieres continued to gain momentum in the sixth chukker, making an amazing shot out of the air to score and tie the match yet again, 7-7. Roldan, whose performance in the match demonstrated why he is one of the sport’s most respected players, shot a pass to Miguel Astrada to score and then proceeded to drill one in himself to put FlexJet two goals up over Lechuza Caracas.

Grossi rocketed out of the throw-in to score and make overtime not only a possibility, but a probability. Vargas made what was undoubtedly the play of the game by engaging Astrada in the next play, giving Pieres the room he needed to tap the ball in and send the match into overtime. With the game on the line, Pieres stepped up to the plate, making a superb run down the field to score and end the overtime chukker less than two minutes in.

Nero felt that the team’s strategy to open up the match and play forward worked out nicely. “Today we tried to open the game and use Victor more,” said Nero. “I think it was a great game, and Victor played amazing.”

Pieres knew that this match was going to be a tough one. “The thing was that we were both in (the quarterfinals), so it was a game for the horses. We couldn’t play that hard, but we tried to open up the game and play more forward, nice polo.”

The quarterfinals of the 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship will be held Sunday, April 12, with Lechuza Caracas playing Valiente at 11:30 a.m. and Coca-Cola taking on FlexJet in the 3 p.m. featured match on Engel & Völkers field at the International Polo Club Pam Beach.

International Polo Club Palm Beach Fast Facts

What: Created by players for players, the International Polo Club Palm Beach was born out of the dream to build a facility to showcase the incredible skills of the ponies and players that dominate the sport.

Members and guests enjoy panoramic views of the action from field side box seats or lawn and terrace seating. Sponsors and fans convene at The Winners Circle to congratulate the players during the awards presentation following the games.

Gourmet brunches, après polo celebrations and the prerequisite charitable events will take place in The Pavilion, designed to accommodate large parties, corporate clients, as well as family and friends.

Featured Highlights:

Herbie Pennell Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 1-4, 2015

Joe Barry Memorial Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 4-25, 2015

Ylvisaker Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 28 – February 22, 2015

Iglehart Cup – 20 Goal
Feb. 28 – March 8, 2015

USPA C. V. Whitney Cup – 26 Goal
Feb. 15 – March 1, 2015

Piaget USPA Gold Cup® – 26 Goal
March 4-22, 2015

111th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship® – 26 Goal
March 25 – April 19, 2015

Directions:

From the Turnpike:
Take the Lake Worth Exit
Head west on FL-802 W/Lake Worth Rd toward Hooks Rd
Continue to follow Lake Worth Rd (3.9 miles)
Turn right onto 120th Ave S
Destination will be ahead on the left (0.4 miles)

From I-95:
Exit Forest Hill Blvd, head West
Make Left turn onto 441/St Rd 7
Make Right turn onto Lake Worth Rd
Make Right turn onto 120th Ave S
Destination on Left

Information:
3667 120th Ave S, Wellington, FL 33414
International Polo Club Palm Beach: 561-204-5687
Mallet Grille: 561-282-5340
Spa & Fitness Center: 561-282-5288
Tennis Pro Shop: 561-795-7228
Polo Operations Office: 561-282-5283
Polo Hotline: 561-282-5290

Website:
www.internationalpoloclub.com

For Tickets:
http://internationalpoloclub.ticketleap.com/

Hotels:
Hampton Inn & Suites – (561) 472-9696 – Approximately 2 miles
Hampton Inn – (561) 472-5980 – Approximately 4 miles
Four Seasons Resort – (561) 582-2800 – Approximately 9 miles
The Breakers – (561) 655-6611 – Approximately 9 miles
Kimpton Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa – (561) 540-6440 – Approximately 9 miles

Management:
John Wash – President of Club Operations
jwash@internationalpoloclub.com
561-282-5353

MEDIA CONTACT:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Coca-Cola on a Roll in US Open

Wellington, Florida – April 5, 2015 – Coca-Cola defeated Valiente 12-11 in overtime Sunday in the 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship on Engel & Völkers field at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC). Sugar Erskine was named MVP, and Best-Playing Pony went to Renato, played by Pelon Stirling. Earlier in the day, Las Monjitas defeated Orchard Hill 14-13.

If there is one axiom that has emerged from this year’s 26-goal season at IPC, it is this: Never underestimate Coca-Cola.

As it has done time and time again, the team pulled a rabbit out of its hat Sunday. Just when it looked like Coca-Cola was about to lose to Valiente by a point, Sugar Erskine – ever the wild card – smacked in a goal, tying the game 12-all in the last microsecond (literally) of regulation play.

Then to top it off, along came the day’s high-scorer, Julio Arellano, whose seventh goal sealed the deal in overtime for the team in red.

Chance turned out to be the hallmark of the game, and Coca-Cola capitalized on it at every opportunity. “It was amazing the way we tied it up in the last chukker with .001 left,” said a stunned 10-goaler Pelon Stirling. “We took a chance, and we had it. Then we took a chance in OT, and again! It was a very good win for us. It’s looking good.”

Despite its undefeated record in the 111th Open, Coca-Cola seemed to have taken even itself by a bit of surprise Sunday. “We knew it was going to be extremely tough because they have an all-pro team,” said Arellano. “We were able to keep them close the whole time, and then it’s anybody’s game.”

Indeed, the celebration could just as easily have ended up in Valiente’s tent, as it has so many times before. But Arellano’s troupe refused to stop tap dancing until the last note of music lilted away into the ether. In polo’s version of the “hail Mary pass” made famous in the 1975 NFL playoffs, Arellano, in a leap of faith, hurtled the ball downfield to a waiting Gillian Johnston. “I knew I had to get the ball there fast because I would have only one chance,” said Arellano.

Ditto for Johnston, who took the pass and went to town with one of her trademark slapstick dashes toward goal. Things were looking golden for Coca-Cola, but just yards from the goalmouth the ball went wonky and pulled loose, triggering a free-for-all and drawing a screeching whistle. Having already used its second-half challenge, Valiente could not contest the foul.

Arellano and Pelon Stirling painstakingly teed up the ball as they stared down, methodically circling it like a hawk hovering over prey. Then they looked up and locked eyes. Stirling moved away, leaving Arellano to finish the job.

Although Coca-Cola got the win, it didn’t get there the way it had envisioned. In a departure from its game plan in previous matches, the day’s strategy was for her teammates to feed the ball to Johnston, the indomitable winner of the 2002 U.S. Open. But as the saying goes, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go astray.

“We spoke about doing something different, but we didn’t do anything like what we spoke about,” said Erskine. “We were going to push Gillian all day, and for some reason we never got her the ball. Finally she got the chance to put in the winning goal, and that was sort of the idea, but things just didn’t go that way.”

To her credit, Johnston sunk an astounding goal in the pivotal sixth chukker, which saw a lot of play through midfield. Erskine had battled the ball out of a scuffle and handed it over to Stirling, who, with the precision of a Swiss timepiece, sent it sailing downfield with a power hit to Johnston. With just under three minutes on the clock, she tied the game 10-all.

Matching its strong performance in the fifth chukker, Valiente kept rocking in the sixth, again answering every Coca-Cola goal. Alejo Taranco pulled Valiente into a slim lead, and from there the score followed a breathtaking back-and-forth trajectory all the way to the final horn.

Taranco’s tie-breaking goal sprouted from a bouquet of three: him, Sapo Caset and Tommy Beresford. After winning the knock-in, Caset initiated a long trek toward goal. He and Guillermo Terrera kept swapping the ball, playing an extended game of cat and mouse with Erskine, who was all over them. As they soon discovered, that was a dangerous game to play with an opponent as stealthy as Erskine. He drew gasps from the Valiente contingent on the sidelines more than once when he stole the ball, only to have the Caset-Terrera force swipe it right back.

At one point, Valiente played an effective mind game with Coca-Cola, as 10-goaler Caset took out the defender to allow 2-goaler Tommy Beresford to run with the play. Eighteen-year-old Beresford, who had subbed in and was playing the first full 26-goal game of his life, did his job handily. He escorted the ball toward goal, handing it over to Taranco at the perfect moment. Backed up nicely by his teammates, Taranco put it in.

All in all the game was a commendable effort by Valiente, which showed its mettle against all odds. Last week, when half of the team (Adolfo Cambiaso and Bob Jornayvaz) had to be subbed out due to injuries, Caset commented, “It’s like a totally new team” – never an easy form to morph into, particularly smack in the midst of the most prestigious tournament of the season

Las Monjitas Pulls Off 14-13 Upset

Las Monjitas defeated Orchard Hill 14-13 in bracket play at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.

Las Monjitas took on Orchard Hill in a game that was seemingly a David and Goliath story. Orchard Hill, a favorite due to their recent stellar performances and the advantage of having not one but two Pieres, started out the game strongly, but ultimately Las Monjitas created a hot streak that was unstoppable, even for the mighty Orchard Hill squad.

Facundo Pieres and Eduardo Astrada
Facundo Pieres and Eduardo Astrada

The sixth chukker was dominated by Las Monjitas from start to finish, with Sola chalking up three goals to overtake Orchard Hill 13-12. After a throw-in resulting from a buried ball, Astrada rocketed towards the goal to score. In the final minute of the match, Facundo Pieres scored but it was too little, too late. Astrada rode toward the end zone with both arms raised while the match was still going, celebrating the upset and reveling in the cheers from the Las Monjitas camp. The final score was 14-13. The joy from the entire Las Monjitas team, family members and staff was audible as cheers erupted and the team members made their way back to their tent, stopping to receive congratulations from their supporters.

Astrada credited the team’s performance in specific parts of the match for their win.

“I think we played very well in the first chukker and in the fifth and sixth chukker,” said Astrada. “We played really well like we have to play, and how we can play.”

Merlos felt like this was a turnaround from the rest of the season for Las Monjitas.

“It was the opposite of what has been happening the whole season for us,” said Merlos.

The Pieres cousins immediately went to work at the start of the game with Facundo Pieres shooting a pass to Polito Pieres, who tapped it in for a goal in his signature style. A penalty one in the next play gave Orchard Hill a 2-0 lead briefly, but Facundo Sola completed a penalty conversion to put Las Monjitas on the board. A penalty two from point blank range by Facundo Pieres ended the first chukker 3-1.

Eduardo Astrada started out the second chukker with a bang, making a backshot that went wide of the goal by inches. The tension continued to mount as Polito Pieres and Astrada continued in very physical rideoffs, making big bumps in an effort to keep the other out of the play. Sola, whose penalty conversions would be key to the Las Monjitas effort, converted with a lofted shot to bring Las Monjitas within one, but two subsequent penalty conversions by Facundo Pieres pulled Orchard Hill back into the lead 5-2. A goal by Ezequiel Ferrario gave Orchard Hill a solid lead heading into the third chukker.

Penalty shots continued to have a strong effect on the match as Sola converted two penalties to make the score 6-4. In the next play, Sola won the ball out of the throw-in and made a long pass to Astrada, who scored Las Monjitas’ first goal from the field. Polito Pieres proved just how handy he and his horses are by turning the ball, running and firing off a shot in mere seconds to make the score 7-5 at the half.

The second half proved to be just as physical as the first, with Las Monjitas working to slow down the Orchard Hill speed game. A conversion by Facundo Pieres gave Orchard Hill a three point lead, but Las Monjitas fired back with a goal by Sola, whose powerful performance thus far this season has many wondering if his rating of eight goals will remain after the season ends. Facundo Pieres fired out of the throw-in to score, momentarily giving both Facundos the same stats of four penalty goals and one goal from the field for a total of five goals each. Each Facundo racked up another goal before the fourth chukker ended, making the score 10-7. Leaping out of the throw-in for a breakaway, Polito Pieres drove in a goal and solidified the Orchard Hill lead 11-7 at the end of the fourth chukker.

The fifth chukker brought a shift in momentum as Las Monjitas continued to battle it out with Orchard Hill. Astrada popped the ball up into the air before hitting it to Sebastian Merlos, who sealed the deal and made the score 11-8. Goal attempts on both sides went wide before Facundo Pieres decided to take matters into his own hands and run a goal in. Two more penalty conversions by Sola brought Las Monjitas within two points of Orchard Hill, turning the tide of the game in their favor before the end of the fifth chukker.

The 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship resumes Wednesday, April 8, with three games: Orchard Hill vs. Coca-Cola at 10 a.m.; Audi vs. Alegria Assist Card at 2:30 p.m., and FlexJet vs. Lechuza Caracas at 3 p.m.

International Polo Club Palm Beach Fast Facts

What: Created by players for players, the International Polo Club Palm Beach was born out of the dream to build a facility to showcase the incredible skills of the ponies and players that dominate the sport.

Members and guests enjoy panoramic views of the action from field side box seats or lawn and terrace seating. Sponsors and fans convene at The Winners Circle to congratulate the players during the awards presentation following the games.

Gourmet brunches, après polo celebrations and the prerequisite charitable events will take place in The Pavilion, designed to accommodate large parties, corporate clients, as well as family and friends.

Featured Highlights:

Herbie Pennell Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 1-4, 2015

Joe Barry Memorial Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 4-25, 2015

Ylvisaker Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 28 – February 22, 2015

Iglehart Cup – 20 Goal
Feb. 28 – March 8, 2015

USPA C. V. Whitney Cup – 26 Goal
Feb. 15 – March 1, 2015

Piaget USPA Gold Cup® – 26 Goal
March 4-22, 2015

111th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship® – 26 Goal
March 25 – April 19, 2015

Directions:

From the Turnpike:
Take the Lake Worth Exit
Head west on FL-802 W/Lake Worth Rd toward Hooks Rd
Continue to follow Lake Worth Rd (3.9 miles)
Turn right onto 120th Ave S
Destination will be ahead on the left (0.4 miles)

From I-95:
Exit Forest Hill Blvd, head West
Make Left turn onto 441/St Rd 7
Make Right turn onto Lake Worth Rd
Make Right turn onto 120th Ave S
Destination on Left

Information:
3667 120th Ave S, Wellington, FL 33414
International Polo Club Palm Beach: 561-204-5687
Mallet Grille: 561-282-5340
Spa & Fitness Center: 561-282-5288
Tennis Pro Shop: 561-795-7228
Polo Operations Office: 561-282-5283
Polo Hotline: 561-282-5290

Website:
www.internationalpoloclub.com

For Tickets:
http://internationalpoloclub.ticketleap.com/

Hotels:
Hampton Inn & Suites – (561) 472-9696 – Approximately 2 miles
Hampton Inn – (561) 472-5980 – Approximately 4 miles
Four Seasons Resort – (561) 582-2800 – Approximately 9 miles
The Breakers – (561) 655-6611 – Approximately 9 miles
Kimpton Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa – (561) 540-6440 – Approximately 9 miles

Management:
John Wash – President of Club Operations
jwash@internationalpoloclub.com
561-282-5353

MEDIA CONTACT:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Classic Roldan Clutch Play Takes FlexJet over the Top

Wellington, Florida – April 4, 2015 – In another exciting overtime match in the 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC), FlexJet defeated defending U.S. Open champion Alegria 11-10 in bracket play Saturday. It was the fourth game that was tied at the end of regulation play since the tournament began just a week ago.

In a game with more moving parts than a pinball machine, FlexJet and Alegria swarmed up and down the field, mesmerizing spectators with some of the slickest moves ever in U.S. Open Polo Championship play.

Victorious FlexJet got off to a deceptively slow start, however, making a single goal in the first chukker and none in the second. Its first point came from the mighty Miguel Astrada, the high scorer of the game with seven goals. At the start of the third chukker Alegria was leading by five points (one of them an automatic goal from a penalty one), with each of its players having contributed at least one goal.

Then something awakened the sleeping giant. FlexJet suddenly scored three points and stopped Alegria in its tracks, keeping its opponent scoreless in the chukker. Once FlexJet kicked into gear, it shot ahead with the bone-rattling force of the Formula Rossa roller coaster in Abu Dhabi. More often than not the acceleration came from the double-duty machine known as Nic Roldan, who can (and did) play defense in one stride and offense in the next – all without missing a beat.

Roldan, who made three goals, all from the field (including the winning one in OT), demonstrated a repertoire of stunningly effective moves. He made a habit of snatching the ball just as it was about to be swallowed up by the looming jaws of Alegria’s goalmouth. Then he’d swivel and streak down the field with it in the opposite direction, three or four black jerseys scrambling after him. More often than not, the numbers on the scoreboard changed, either the result of a direct delivery from Roldan’s mallet or a handoff from him to one of his teammates. Roldan’s three-way passing game with Astrada and Laprida was the hallmark of the game.

FlexJet remained hungry in the second half, systematically tightening Alegria’s lead. Astrada, a master tactician, was a major factor in his team’s progress. In addition to being a scoring machine, he subtly controlled the game from the back – hence his moniker, “The Hypnotist.” Astrada earned that calling card from his propensity to lull his opponents into a false sense of security in the first half and blindside them in the second. He played a game of sneaky stick in the fifth chukker, faking everyone out with what looked like a sure-fire backshot in the making. Getting his opponents to look down the field in anticipation, he sent the ball in the other direction to Laprida before they could do anything about it.

A smooth-as-silk play among all four FlexJet players brought the score to 8-all at the end of the fifth chukker. Astrada and Hilario Ulloa, who also played a strong game, each made two goals in the sixth. Roldan had the last word in overtime, giving FlexJet an 11-10 win.

“We had a system; we stuck to it, and we just kept fighting,” said Roldan, who, when he was 15, became the youngest player to win the U.S. Open Polo Championship Final and still holds that distinction today. “We knew it was going to be super tough today. They won the Open before, and they’re one of the top teams out there.”

With a nod toward his teammates, he said, “It’s been amazing to play with these guys – Magoo and Miguel are amazing, and Melissa played great – she got a lot of important fouls. Everyone did their job, and that’s the way to win, along with a little bit of luck and pushing through. Today was our day. We’re happy to have won, and now we’ve got a big one coming up on Wednesday.”

That’s the thing about gladiators like the FlexJet squad – they’re already “playing” the next game when lesser athletes would still be relishing the win. Astrada hadn’t even taken off his boots when Mark Ganzi handed him a piece of paper with handwritten numbers and notations scrawled on it. While he was intensely studying the stats, a little boy walked up to Astrada, gingerly carrying a polo ball and a marker pen. Astrada looked up and smiled. He signed the ball and passed it on to the other FlexJet players, who did likewise. A lighter vibe wafted through the tent, and then it was time to refocus and analyze what had gone down on the field. What worked? How did they win?

“I don’t know, really!” said Laprida with a good-natured laugh. “It was a really tough game. We were down by five, and it looked like it was going to be tough for us, and it was tough, but we just kept fighting. When we get fighting that’s how we give ourselves a chance.”

Melissa Ganzi, who said she credited Astrada’s leadership for the win, added that she “couldn’t have been happier with my horses and the whole team effort.”

In Astrada’s view, “We had a pretty slow start, but then we were able to turn it around (thanks to) Juan Bollini and Marc Ganzi. From the outside they helped us come out and change the plan. We went chukker by chukker, doing our plan, and it really worked,” he said.

Before the shift in strategy, he said the team had been “rushing a little bit with the ball, and then at one point we were trying to tap it too much. So we had to get a balance between that and also had to get one player more in the back. We figured out we had to start it from the back, and we got a little bit more defense and had more patience with the ball. That was the key.”

Audi Rockets Past Lechuza Caracas, 10-7

Audi defeated Lechuza Caracas 10-7 in bracket play for the 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.

Agustin Garcia Grossi, Nico Pieres and Rodrigo Andrade
Agustin Garcia Grossi, Nico Pieres and Rodrigo Andrade

In a match that was as much a game of wits as a game of skill, it was Audi’s keen sense of strategy that put the team on top. The match leapt into full throttle from the start. Agustin Garcia Grossi made the first goal for Lechuza Caracas with a shot along the ground under pressure from Audi defenders. Audi immediately rallied back with a penalty conversion to tie the score 1-1 for the remainder of the first chukker.

The second chukker started out with the name Pieres frequently being called out by long-time IPC announcer Tony Coppola. A penalty conversion by the steady-handed Gonzalito Pieres put Audi in the lead momentarily, but brother Nico Pieres had other ideas, tapping in a goal at the last second from a run. Grossi picked the pocket of Rodrigo Andrade and took off into a breakaway to tie the score once again at 3-3.

Andrade came back with a vengeance, making an assist to Gonzalito Pieres for a goal and then racking up a goal of his own, creating the first two-goal lead of the game. However, neither team could get comfortable in a match where players circled like sharks, waiting for an opportunity. Juan Martin Nero proved just that, driving in two unanswered goals. Nico Pieres took the ball from coast to coast, driving it from one end of the field to the other to score and take back the lead for Lechuza Caracas at the half.

Andrade earned the nickname “Brazilian ace” from Coppola at the start of the second half, outmaneuvering Nico Pieres for a goal and then launching a spectacular 80-plus yard shot to score. The match continued at a wide-open pace, with Victor Vargas making a strong run to goal and then sinking a sharp cut-shot to tie the score 7-7 at the end of the fourth chukker.

The fifth chukker was stop-and-start for the first minute, with several whistles on plays. Gonzalito Pieres, always steady under pressure and Audi’s clutch hitter from the penalty line, sank a penalty conversion to pull ahead. Audi continued to dig in with another goal from Gonzalito Pieres, making the score 9-7. Fred Mannix made a huge lofted shot from a center hit to drop the ball down for Marc Ganzi to tap in and cement Audi’s lead going into the sixth chukker.

The game was on the line in the sixth chukker, and Audi stepped up to the plate. In a scoreless chukker, they were on top of the ball. Lechuza Caracas worked hard to overcome its three-point deficit, but to no avail. The match ended in regulation time 10-7.

Mannix felt like all the pieces came together for this win.

“I think everyone’s getting in the perfect rhythm at the right time, and the horses are performing,” said Mannix. “This is what happens when you design a team with everyone in the right positions.”

Gonzalito Pieres credited a change in strategy for Audi’s win, saying, “In the beginning, we were too committed to offense and suddenly we were giving breakaways to them. We decided to be more man-on-man and turning fast for our backshots. We started hitting good backshots and making runs.”

Ganzi said hard work and strategy culminated in today’s important win. “This week we went back to work,” he said. “We worked on a few things, looked at a lot of tape, and really felt like we had to get back to the way we were playing at the end of the Gold Cup. We went back to basic polo, which was sort of ‘Own the man first, and the ball will be there for you.'”

Play in the U.S. Open Polo Championship continues Sunday at IPC, with Orchard Hill playing Las Monjitas at 10 a.m. The featured match pits Valiente against Coca-Cola at 3 p.m. on Engel & Völkers field.

International Polo Club Palm Beach Fast Facts

What: Created by players for players, the International Polo Club Palm Beach was born out of the dream to build a facility to showcase the incredible skills of the ponies and players that dominate the sport.

Members and guests enjoy panoramic views of the action from field side box seats or lawn and terrace seating. Sponsors and fans convene at The Winners Circle to congratulate the players during the awards presentation following the games.

Gourmet brunches, après polo celebrations and the prerequisite charitable events will take place in The Pavilion, designed to accommodate large parties, corporate clients, as well as family and friends.

Featured Highlights:

Herbie Pennell Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 1-4, 2015

Joe Barry Memorial Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 4-25, 2015

Ylvisaker Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 28 – February 22, 2015

Iglehart Cup – 20 Goal
Feb. 28 – March 8, 2015

USPA C. V. Whitney Cup – 26 Goal
Feb. 15 – March 1, 2015

Piaget USPA Gold Cup® – 26 Goal
March 4-22, 2015

111th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship® – 26 Goal
March 25 – April 19, 2015

Directions:

From the Turnpike:
Take the Lake Worth Exit
Head west on FL-802 W/Lake Worth Rd toward Hooks Rd
Continue to follow Lake Worth Rd (3.9 miles)
Turn right onto 120th Ave S
Destination will be ahead on the left (0.4 miles)

From I-95:
Exit Forest Hill Blvd, head West
Make Left turn onto 441/St Rd 7
Make Right turn onto Lake Worth Rd
Make Right turn onto 120th Ave S
Destination on Left

Information:
3667 120th Ave S, Wellington, FL 33414
International Polo Club Palm Beach: 561-204-5687
Mallet Grille: 561-282-5340
Spa & Fitness Center: 561-282-5288
Tennis Pro Shop: 561-795-7228
Polo Operations Office: 561-282-5283
Polo Hotline: 561-282-5290

Website:
www.internationalpoloclub.com

For Tickets:
http://internationalpoloclub.ticketleap.com/

Hotels:
Hampton Inn & Suites – (561) 472-9696 – Approximately 2 miles
Hampton Inn – (561) 472-5980 – Approximately 4 miles
Four Seasons Resort – (561) 582-2800 – Approximately 9 miles
The Breakers – (561) 655-6611 – Approximately 9 miles
Kimpton Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa – (561) 540-6440 – Approximately 9 miles

Management:
John Wash – President of Club Operations
jwash@internationalpoloclub.com
561-282-5353

MEDIA CONTACT:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Caset Clinches It for Valiente in U.S. Open, Defeats Las Monjitas in 13-12 OT Thriller

Sapo Caset, Facundo Sola, Alejo Taranco, Eduardo Astrada. Photo: Liz Lamont Images/Phelps Media Group.

Wellington, Florida – April 1, 2015 – Valiente defeated Las Monjitas 13-12 in overtime Wednesday at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) in bracket play for the 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship. It was the first time in the 2015 season that the two teams have played each other, and both had been defeated in their previous game in the tournament.

There’s always a big question mark hovering over the field when Adolfo Cambiaso doesn’t play for Valiente, as has happened a few times this season. Can Valiente pull it off without the maestro in charge on the field?

Sapo Caset, with the assistance of his teammates, put that question to rest in Wednesday’s match against La Monjitas. While there is only one Adolfo Cambiaso out there, Caset did a mighty job of filling his boots. Riding in the 10-goaler seat for a second consecutive game, Caset carried Valiente to victory, socking in the winning goal in overtime (to cap off his previous four).

Caset wasn’t the only Valiente player who had to step up to the plate. The other was a gob smacked Tommy Beresford, who was thrown into the mix Wednesday as abruptly as Caset had been in last week’s match. As the third chukker was about to begin, the young British player found himself being hoisted onto one of Bob Jornayvaz’ horses and pointed toward the field. Team captain Jornayvaz had injured his tailbone but rode it out through the second chukker. He gave Beresford a vote of confidence during the break, and then out on the field appeared a tall, lanky player sporting a blue jersey with a number five on his back (in deference to Jornayvaz, who had been wearing the number one jersey). If you weren’t hip to the backstory, it might have appeared to be an April Fool’s prank: a 26-goal polo team playing positions two, three, four – and five?

But this was no joke, particularly to Beresford. “I was a bit nervous. This was my first 26-goal game!” he said afterward, leaning on his chair and looking at the ground as though trying to fathom what had just happened. Although he had played a couple of practices with the Valiente squad, the 18-year-old said he didn’t feel he played “quite up to scratch today – but we got the win.”

Indeed they did, and Beresford was a big part of it, contributing a goal of his own in the sixth chukker. Guillermo Terrera promptly added another for Valiente. Caset followed up in his typical clutch player fashion, making not one but two golden goals: the one that tied the game at 12-all at the end of the sixth chukker, and the next on an assist from Terrera, which won the game in overtime.

It was a painful outcome for Las Monjitas, a powerhouse that also lost its last U.S. Open match against Coca-Cola by a single point. Just as it had Saturday, Las Monjitas held its own all the way through the game against Valiente, even keeping its opponent scoreless in the second chukker.

Facundo Sola was a force of nature for Las Monjitas, scoring 10 of his team’s 12 goals by way of making two goals in every chukker except the sixth. Sola injected a high-voltage direct current into the game as he swarmed the field nonstop. When he wasn’t scoring, he was pouring the pressure on any blue jersey within his wingspan. He consistently converted his penalty shots. At the top of the third chukker he made back-to-back goals, the first on a penalty four and the next on a run down the field with Caset on his tail, both going mach-nine hair-on-fire.

The game was tied 6-6 at halftime, and the score continued to zing back and forth between a tie and a one- or two-point spread. In a repeat performance from the first chukker, Caset made his mark in the fourth by catapulting another pass from the 150-yard line to Taranco, who had pulled out ahead and was patiently waiting downfield. Exactly where he needed to be, Taranco jumped on the play and was off and running with the ball, taking it straight into goal.

The fifth chukker opened at 8-all, but Las Monjitas soon moved into a two-point lead. Eduardo Astrada put his stamp on the sixth chukker, scoring from the field while shaking off intense pressure from Caset. Astrada, who seems to thrive on pressure scenarios, calmly paddled the ball downfield and made three smooth hits, the third one sending the ball cruising into goal. Beresford, Terrera and Caset made the next three goals in quick succession, tying the game 12-12 at the end of regulation play.

In overtime, Sola looked like he had it made for Las Monjitas, taking his time with the ball until he found a window and shot. But Beresford pounced on the ball and bought some room for Terrera, who passed it to Caset for the winning goal.

Of the five U.S. Open matches played to date at IPC this season, this was the third that went into overtime. As one spectator said of the exciting play, “It’s like every game is a final.”

Caset said Valiente was like “a totally new team,” given that half of its lineup had suddenly changed and that Beresford came in in the middle of the game. In a nod to Las Monjitas, Caset said he felt that the play had been fairly evenly matched, although he remained confident throughout that Valiente would prevail. “I never thought for a moment that we would lose.”

Terrera, with a bit of frustration, said, “We wanted to play our game, but we couldn’t because they kept trying to slow it down. So we said, ‘Whatever it takes, let’s do it.’ Luck was on our side” – and so was Cambiaso, who remained a guiding force from the ground.

The 111th U.S. Open Polo Championship resumes Saturday, April 4. Alegria Assist Card plays FlexJet at 10 a.m., and Audi opposes Lechuza Caracas at 4:30 p.m.

Patriot Cup Results

Goose Creek defeated Tackeria 14-13 on Tuesday, March 31, at IPC. Goose Creek will oppose Valiente in the Patriot Cup Final at IPC on Friday, April 3, at 4 p.m., preceded by the Heroes Cup subsidiary at 10 a.m.

International Polo Club Palm Beach Fast Facts

What: Created by players for players, the International Polo Club Palm Beach was born out of the dream to build a facility to showcase the incredible skills of the ponies and players that dominate the sport.

Members and guests enjoy panoramic views of the action from field side box seats or lawn and terrace seating. Sponsors and fans convene at The Winners Circle to congratulate the players during the awards presentation following the games.

Gourmet brunches, après polo celebrations and the prerequisite charitable events will take place in The Pavilion, designed to accommodate large parties, corporate clients, as well as family and friends.

Featured Highlights:

Herbie Pennell Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 1-4, 2015

Joe Barry Memorial Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 4-25, 2015

Ylvisaker Cup – 20 Goal
Jan. 28 – February 22, 2015

Iglehart Cup – 20 Goal
Feb. 28 – March 8, 2015

USPA C. V. Whitney Cup – 26 Goal
Feb. 15 – March 1, 2015

Piaget USPA Gold Cup® – 26 Goal
March 4-22, 2015

111th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship® – 26 Goal
March 25 – April 19, 2015

Directions:

From the Turnpike:
Take the Lake Worth Exit
Head west on FL-802 W/Lake Worth Rd toward Hooks Rd
Continue to follow Lake Worth Rd (3.9 miles)
Turn right onto 120th Ave S
Destination will be ahead on the left (0.4 miles)

From I-95:
Exit Forest Hill Blvd, head West
Make Left turn onto 441/St Rd 7
Make Right turn onto Lake Worth Rd
Make Right turn onto 120th Ave S
Destination on Left

Information:
3667 120th Ave S, Wellington, FL 33414
International Polo Club Palm Beach: 561-204-5687
Mallet Grille: 561-282-5340
Spa & Fitness Center: 561-282-5288
Tennis Pro Shop: 561-795-7228
Polo Operations Office: 561-282-5283
Polo Hotline: 561-282-5290

Website:
www.internationalpoloclub.com

For Tickets:
http://internationalpoloclub.ticketleap.com/

Hotels:
Hampton Inn & Suites – (561) 472-9696 – Approximately 2 miles
Hampton Inn – (561) 472-5980 – Approximately 4 miles
Four Seasons Resort – (561) 582-2800 – Approximately 9 miles
The Breakers – (561) 655-6611 – Approximately 9 miles
Kimpton Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa – (561) 540-6440 – Approximately 9 miles

Management:
John Wash – President of Club Operations
jwash@internationalpoloclub.com
561-282-5353

MEDIA CONTACT:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com