Tag Archives: Polo

Team Asheville Upsets Team Greenville in Gladiator Polo “Battle for the Carolinas” Final

Photo Credit ©TIEC.

Mill Spring, NC – September 30, 2017 – Team Asheville presented by Ingles Markets took a surprising lead in the Gladiator Polo™ $50,000 “Battle for the Carolinas” Final presented by Coca-Cola® and never looked back, topping match favorite, Team Greenville presented by Greenville Turf & Tractor, to earn the coveted honors in the series finale. Team Asheville roared to victory, outscoring Team Greenville 14-10 at the final buzzer to clinch the overall Gladiator Polo™ “Battle for the Carolinas” title.

The Gladiator Polo™ “Battle for the Carolinas” Series began in late June and revved back up at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in early September, featuring four competitive matches between a set of teams from North Carolina and another from South Carolina: Team Greenville, Team Spartanburg, Team Asheville, and Team Charlotte.

Offensive powerhouse Team Greenville faced off against a trio of young guns in Team Asheville, who ultimately set the tone of the match and outpaced the veteran group of Team Greenville in the early chukkers. While Team Greenville attempted to make a comeback late in the fifth chukker, Team Asheville held them at bay and capitalized on key plays, ultimately helping them secure the win.

“The night was great. The crowd was even better than the last one. We threw out some crucial two pointers in the second chukker that really stepped up our game and gave us a heavy lead,” said Patrick Uretz, who was voted the Most Valuable Player of the match. “From then on we just kept the momentum going. Costi was so fast up front that it makes my job in the back really easy. That was the key to success today, my team’s quickness.”

Urtez has been the quiet yet consistent force for Team Asheville, playing a stellar game only a few weeks ago against Team Charlotte to push his team through to the final match. The more defensive-minded Uretz helped regulate the play of Team Asheville and has become a standout player in Gladiator Polo™ play.

“This is so cool to be able to come here and have people screaming my name,” smiled Uretz. “They know us and we get to represent a great city like Asheville. They gave us a lot of support, so it’s great to have them around and cheering, like when you score a free throw in the NBA – totally amazing. The future of Gladiator Polo™ looks bright and I hope to be a part of it.”

Urtez played alongside teammates Costi Caset and Geronimo Obregon, who meshed well as a team in their two matches together and each display different strengths and talents on and off the ball in play.

“I think the team played really well. I think our strength was always having a man in the back and pushing forward,” commented Obregon. “They never caught us flat-footed and they never really scored a goal in the breakaway. We played a lot better with that than last time, and we shot a lot better from outside the two point and that just changed the whole game.”

Caset accounted for many of the goals Team Asheville was able to safely put away. His speed combined with his tricky mallet and ball work pose a major threat upfront in offensive play. A perfect complement to his defensive teammate Uretz, Caset elaborated on the importance of Team Asheville’s two point plays, helping to further separate the score. He said, “It was a really close game on a tight playing field. I think we made the difference with making the two pointers, and before the game we made a plan to go for clean shots and when we could we went for those shots, and luckily they went in.”

In only his second appearance in the Gladiator Polo™ Fall Series at TIEC, Caset commented on the improvement Team Asheville experienced from their first appearance to their play tonight in the series final and how the energy of the crowd helped to change the momentum of the game.

“The night was amazing, even better than I could’ve imagined. I think we played against a great team, but we knew we had the chance to win if we played well, so this was amazing,” he added. “The arena is unbelievable. The footing, the size of the arena, around so many people, everything is perfect. I see a lot of potential in Gladiator Polo™. It’s growing really quickly, as it only started at the beginning of the year and it’ll only get bigger.”

Gladiator Polo™ was inspired by an ideology of Mark Bellissimo, CEO of International Equestrian Group (IEG) and managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP) and Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEP), that the sport of polo was in desperate need of a revitalization in order to attract and broaden its traditional audience base. Combining elements of both Field Polo and Arena Polo, the concept of Gladiator Polo™ took form in Wellington, FL during the annual High Goal season in South Florida and from there the game expanded and has garnered both a national and international following.

“We have been thrilled with the support and engagement of the fans and spectators surrounding Gladiator Polo™ this year at TIEC and have been thoroughly impressed with the level of play we’ve seen across the board from each of the participating players,” said Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Tryon International Equestrian Center. “Our goal is to expand this game on both a national and international level and feel that these players and this atmosphere translates well anywhere in the world. We’re looking forward to the future of this game and are already planning the return of the series to this venue in 2018.”

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

For more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), please visit www.tryon.com.

Inaugural Showcase of Gladiator Polo Brings Record Crowd to TIEC

Photo Credit ©MegBanks/TIEC.

Team Greenville Surpasses Team Charlotte 6-5 to Capture Top Honors

Mill Spring, NC – June 24, 2017 – Welcoming a crowd of more than 10,000 fans and spectators, the first Gladiator Polo™ presented by Coca-Cola™ game held at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) exceeded all expectations. Hosting an enthusiastic and engaged crowd while simultaneously showcasing the rapidly expanding sport of arena polo, the match featured two teams of top international arena polo players. The game saw Team Greenville sponsored by Greenville-Spartanburg Airport, top Team Charlotte sponsored by Circle K, 6-5 in a riveting six-chukker match.

The seating of George H. Morris Arena was filled to capacity with spectators, fans, and families eager to watch, learn, and participate in the high-paced and action-packed arena polo game, which brought together teams representing two of the major cities in close regional proximity to the venue, Charlotte, NC, and Greenville, SC. The event saw crowds begin to pour into the venue nearly two hours ahead of the scheduled start of the match, which began at 8:00 p.m. and continued on under the lights.

“Tonight was just unbelievable. It was something unique. I’ve never played in front of a crowd that big before,” said Mariano Obregon, who was a member of the winning Team Greenville. “Everyone was cheering so loud and it was just a great experience. I’m really hoping that we get to do it again.”

Each of the six players selected to participate in the inaugural match at TIEC have built impressive records and amassed top performances in the sport of arena polo, which has grasped tightly to a new, forward-thinking spin on field polo, helping to bring a fresh energy and flare for both players and fans.

“That crowd really gets you going. We were down by one or two the whole game and they lift you in those moments. You get into it and you put your heart into it to get the people behind you,” added teammate Carlucho Arellano. “It was just an incredible night.”

Gladiator Polo™ is a direct example of the creativity derived from Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP). Bellissimo realized early on after acquiring the International Polo Club Palm Beach with the Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEP) in 2016 that a transformation was desperately needed for one of civilization’s oldest sports. He put forth the Gladiator Polo™ concept in Wellington, FL, a world-renowned hub for international and national polo players during the winter season, in early 2017 to gauge response and interest. The concept blossomed, giving players an entirely new platform to demonstrate their skills while reaching a broadened audience.

With a series of matches highlighting the Gladiator Polo™ season in Wellington, FL, Bellissimo announced the arrival of the sport at TIEC in early May, marking a substantial step forward in the effort to bring the game to a more expansive national and international audience.

“The community in this area has been so receptive and supportive to our concepts and events,” said Katherine Bellissimo, who also serves as a managing partner of TEP and oversees the marketing, communication, and sponsorship departments of the partnership. “Even when we first opened this facility and only hosted small grand prix classes on Sundays, we would still get a tremendous crowd. To see how that has expanded in only three years is truly incredible. We feel honored to experience such support and encouragement from this community, which has ultimately allowed us to grow and expand these sports to new heights.

“This game wouldn’t have been possible without the gracious support of our sponsors Coca-Cola™, Circle K, Greenville-Spartanburg Airport, and the U.S. Polo Association,” she continued.

The game marked the first display of the sport of polo at TIEC and the players were thrilled with the positive response and final result of the game. Arellano commented, “It means so much to win this game tonight. You never know what to expect and everything just exceeded expectations, but foremost the crowd. They just blew us away.”

“The ring size was different from what we played with in Wellington and I think it was really interesting for the crowd and for us as players,” added Obregon. “You’re further away from the goal, so it’s harder to get to, which makes the play really interesting. You have to really play with your teammates and it becomes a more open game. It makes it more fun for us and the play becomes much more dynamic.”

Veteran force Pelon Escapite wowed throughout the game, showcasing his distinctive play and tenacity in the arena. Escapite was the heartbeat of the match, amassing goals, assisting plays and exemplifying an exceptional sense of hustle and accuracy in each of the six chukkers.

“As a player that kind of atmosphere is unbelievable and it makes you want to give it your all on every play. When you’re playing you’re surrounded by people cheering for you and against you. It’s just a great environment. It was great for the families here and great for the sport,” said Escapite.

Escapite was a standout player during the Gladiator Polo™ series in Wellington and was eager to participate in the next installment of the game at TIEC. He added, “I think this type of game is really appealing to the spectators. You can be up against the boards and all around the arena. It’s right there in front of you and it’s close. It’s like having courtside seats for every game.”

“The last goal of the game was for anyone today. I called Nino [Obregon] off the ball and he honored that and I scored. It was team play until the end,” explained Escapite. “The way the management of this series has been and the way Mark [Bellissimo] is promoting and providing a platform for this sport is unbelievable. We had concerns about the turnout with the potential weather tonight, but you wouldn’t have known with the crowd that came. To bring that many people here, to the first game ever held in this arena, is just impeccable work from Mark [Bellissimo] and his team.”

For more information on Gladiator Polo™, please visit www.tryon.com or www.gladiatorpolo.com.

Argentex Team Dubai Reign Supreme at Chestertons Polo in the Park 2017

The sun kept up its perfect record of shining down on London’s Hurlingham Park for the third day of Chestertons Polo in the Park. Polo fans gathered at the iconic grounds on Finals Day as Argentex Team Dubai – led by George Spencer-Churchill, Marquess of Blandford – were crowned winners of Chestertons Polo in the Park.

Before the three matches began, guests were treated to a transformed venue with A-list children’s party planners, Sharky & George and London’s top soft play venue, Eddie Catz joining forces to create a wonderland for the Little Hooves Kids Club, including bouncy castles, face painting, a soft play zone and a brilliant arts and craft area for children to get their creative hats on. After a morning of excitement, the guests were geared up for an afternoon of exhilarating polo from some of the world’s finest players.

To open the day’s polo action, the Subsidiary Final took place between Mauritius Team Port Louis and Air Europa Team Buenos Aries. In blustery conditions both teams took a few minutes to find their stride and settle in to the game. An early-crossing penalty gave Nacho Gonzalez a chance to open the scoring; however, he pushed his effort wide. Never one to dwell on a missed opportunity, Gonzalez quickly regrouped and slotted home a beautiful strike to give Mauritius Team Port Louis a 1-0 lead. Building on their early goal, Mauritius Team Port Louis started to take control of the game when James McCarthy latched onto a beautiful pass from teammate Gonzalez outside the ‘D’ to increase the lead to 3-0 just as the first chukka ended.

As the second chukka began, Air Europa Team Buenos Aries began to make their mark on the game thanks to a close-range finish from Juan Cruz Guevara, closing the gap to just two goals, but a subsequent missed penalty by Guevara kept them from getting any closer. The second half of the game started much quicker than the first, with both teams adding a goal to their tallies, but countless other scoring opportunities went begging due to the changeable weather conditions. As the seconds ran out in the fourth and final chukka, Mauritius Team Port Louis put the result beyond all doubt with a well worked team goal, finished off by James McCarthy.

The second game of the day was the Runner-Up Final, as hometown favourites MINT Team London took on Whitley Neill Team Cape Town, both teams vying to take home third place. A testy opening chukka saw both teams piling on the pressure and creating chances, but sterling defensive play kept the scores at 0-0. It wasn’t until Joaquin Pittaluga stroked in a penalty to give Whitley Neill Team Cape Town a slender lead, right as the first chukka came to a close. The pressure continued into the second chukka with Ruki Baillieu finally opening the scoring for MINT Team London, levelling the scores at 1-1. Despite the wind continuing to challenge both sides, Whitley Neill Team Cape Town strung together a series of beautiful passes which Jamie Morrison was able to finish off to give Whitley Neill Team Cape Town an authoritative 3-1 lead, and one which they wouldn’t surrender for the rest of the game.

As the second half got underway, both teams continued knocking at the door, but neither could finish it off until the very end of the fourth chukka when Pittaluga avoided challenges from two opponents and buried his shot, and Jamie Morrison added his second to give a final score of 5-1.

Speaking on the win, Whitley Neill Team Cape Town’s Jamie Morrison said, “It was a glorious day and a great game, which was closer than we thought, and closer than the score line suggested. It was tough, as Chestertons Polo in the Park always is, and I was hoping we would get to the Final, although we didn’t make it this year. Chestertons Polo in the Park is always fantastic and going from strength to strength, with a great turn out and all the kids really getting into it and supporting the teams.”

The last game of the day was the one that everyone had been waiting for, the Chestertons Polo in the Park 2017 Final, and it certainly lived up to the billing. Right on the stroke of five o’clock EFG Team Zurich and Argentex Team Dubai rode out to an electric atmosphere and blazing sunshine, both teams ready to give their all. Just as the fans had hoped, the game got off to a scintillating start, as with barely a minute played both teams were on the scoreboard, Alejandro Muzzio recording his first goal for Argentex Team Dubai and Max Charlton levelling almost immediately.

By the end of the first chukka each team had doubled their totals to keep the game exciting at 2-2, but in the second chukka Argentex Team Dubai really piled on the pressure, notching an additional four goals to take an imperious 6-2 lead, and at half-time it looked like they would be the runaway winners of the day. The half-time break allowed for EFG Team Zurich to recompose themselves and on the back of two Max Charlton goals and a Chris Hyde two-pointer, EFG Team Zurich were right back in the game, trailing by only one goal with a score line of 7-6 at the end of the third chukka. The final chukka saw plenty of chances for EFG Team Zurich to complete the comeback of the tournament, but the defending of Argentex Team Dubai proved too strong in the end, and they were able to squeak out the win to be crowned Chestertons Polo in the Park 2017 Champions.

Speaking after his victory, Argentex Team Dubai’s Juan Cruz Merlos said, “It’s my first time playing at Chestertons Polo in the Park and it was really great. In the first half we were winning by five goals but they caught up. The second half was very close but we managed to take the win. The event was great fun and really well organised, and the crowd is amazing.”

For more information, visit www.polointheparklondon.com.

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

Goals Galore on Day 2 of Chestertons Polo in the Park

London’s iconic Hurlingham Park was bathed in glorious sunshine for a sold-out second day of Chestertons Polo in the Park. Polo fans from all over the country arrived to witness three exciting and fast-paced polo games whilst also enjoy the luxury bars and pop-up food stalls scattered around the grounds, including the Champagne Lanson Garden and Mahiki’s VIP tent.

After the excitement of the historic International match, which saw Champions Polo League India take on ICM Capital Team England for the first time in 70 years, Ladies Day presented by FOREO had a lot to live up to, but certainly did not disappoint. To kick things off, the polo took a back seat to a game of bicycle polo between the finest polo players from Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and a contingent of American players from American Ivy League Universities. As the players cycled through the divots of the pitch, both teams found it difficult to finish their chances, but Oxbridge managed to sneak the win at the end on a final score of 1-0.

In the day’s first game, Whitley Neill Team Cape Town took on Air Europa Team Buenos Aries, with a place in Sunday’s final up for grabs. Both teams started the opening chukka cautiously, before a scintillating few minutes of play allowed Joaquin Pittaluga to score four unanswered goals to give Whitely Neill Team Cape Town an impressive 4-0 lead. Despite their slower start, Air Europa Team Buenos Aries didn’t lose heart and managed to pull back a goal through some beautiful play from Argentine Paco O’Dwyer, but as the first half came to a close, hometown favourite Jamie Morrison scored from close range to increase the lead to 5-1 in favour of Whitley Neill Team Cape Town.

The second half added a flurry of early goals for both teams, with Morrison and O’Dwyer adding one each to their tally to make the game interesting at the end, but ultimately Whitley Neill Team Cape Town were too strong, and a clinical close-range goal from Morrison and a coolly slotted away penalty from the in-form Pittaluga ensured that Whitely Neill Team Cape Town left victorious with an imposing 10-5 score line.

Following the thrilling opener, the day’s second game pitted hometown MINT Team London against EFG Team Zurich, and the excitement continued with two early goals from each team. A mistake from Max Charlton gifted MINT Team London a penalty within the first 10 seconds which George Meyrick calmly slotted home, but Chris Hyde weaved his way down the pitch from the restart to even the scores at 2-2. By the end of the second chukka Chris Hyde had added another four goals, but George Meyrick kept MINT Team London in the game with a second goal of his own to keep the game within reach at 6-3 to EFG Team Zurich.

Building on their strong end to the second chukka, MINT Team London took the lead for the second time in the game, their impressive teamwork paying off as Meyrick and Malcolm Borwick drilled the ball through the posts. The lead was only a short lived one however, as Chris Hyde really put his stamp on the game, scoring an unrivalled three more goals, with Max Kirchhoff adding another to take the lead, and one which they would not give up again. Borwick added a final consolation goal for MINT Team London, but the game was sealed with a final score of 13-9.

After the win, EFG Team Zurich’s Max Kirchhoff said, “I absolutely loved it. It is my first time here, and the crowds were fantastic. It’s a great venue and I think the team have done amazing things to the grounds, setting everything up perfectly. It’s so great to see EFG back sponsoring polo and I really hope it’s here for many years to come.”

Mauritius Team Port Louis went head-to-head with Argentex Team Dubai in the day’s final game, and although both teams enjoyed plenty of chances in the opening minutes, it wasn’t until the very last second of the first chukka that Juan Cruz Merlos was able to nudge the ball through the posts to give Argentex Team Dubai a narrow lead. The chances continued throughout the second chukka but some excellent defensive efforts from both teams kept the game tight, and the score remained 1-0 to Argentex Team Dubai going into half time.

The game opened up in the second half with two goals in quick succession for Argentex Team Dubai, George Spencer-Churchill volleying a pass from team mate Hissam Ali Hyder, and Ali Hyder adding one of his own to give Argentex Team Dubai a commanding 3-0 lead. Miguel Ayala was able to claw back a goal for Mauritius Team Port Louis as the third chukka came to an end, but two final goals from Juan Cruz Merlos and Hissam Ali Hyder proved too much for Mauritius Team Port Louis to overcome and Argentex Team Dubai left with the 6-1 win to book their place in the final to face EFG Team Zurich.

For more information, visit www.polointheparklondon.com.

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

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.


Darlene Ricker
Media Relations
International Polo Club Palm Beach
(310) 210-4004