A great series of tournaments comes to an end, the highlight being the East Coast Open won by AUDI.
by Andrés Ugarte Larrain
The East Coast Open, which came to an end on September 6, was only one of the highlights of the season at Greenwich Polo Club. With some of the best players in the world taking part, this 2015 season has been one of the most successful held at the Connecticut club.
First came the Monty Waterbury Cup, where 4 teams battled it out for the number one spot. The title went to White Birch after their great victory against Tupungato. The following weekend the Butler Handicap Tournament kicked off; White Birch once again proved their superiority, finishing the tournament undefeated and going home with the cup.
Finally came the biggest tournament of the season: The East Coast Open. This unique tournament generated a lot of hype and those who were lucky enough to attend enjoyed games of high speed polo. From a sporting point of view, the Open was unmissable, with 6 teams fighting for the Perry Cup. Players such as Nic Roldán, Hilario Ulloa, Matías Magrini, Mariano Aguerre were all involved, as well as the final addition to the AUDI team: Miguel Novillo Astrada.
The semifinals were streamed live on ChukkerTV and NBC Sports Network aired a special edition program on September 13, a week after the final; this was the third year in a row that the sports network covered the event. The East Coast Open also gave way to Sports Illustrated magazine’s initiation into the polo world. This 2015 edition saw a 30% increase in spectators compared to last year’s figures.
Polo fans could also enjoy a large selection of entertainment and food stands while watching the games. Food trucks offered different menus each match – lobster rolls, pizza, ice-cream… You name it! Caffe Bon, Lobstercraft, Have a Ball, Bounty, Follow That Cupcake, La Fenice Gelato were all present throughout the tournament and this year there was an open bar available to the public.
Players also took the luxury of enjoying extracurricular activities during the East Coast Open. A private dinner at White Birch Farm, organised by Peter and Stephanie Brant was a highlight of the season. During the dinner, Peter Orthwein, an integral part of the club, was honoured.
The season also bought many team asados, with patrons, sponsors, and grooms, organised by Greenwich Polo Club’s Peter Orthwein, from White Birch team. The Delamar hotel, located in a picturesque part of Greenwich bay, hosted a dinner party the night before the final.
Players could also enjoy an exclusive visit to the Leo Zoological Conservation Center, which focuses on the conservation of species near extinction; the center is not open to the public but players were able to gain access and see all sorts of protected animals. Santino Magrini’s instagram (@plinmagrini), shows images of the trip.
www.leozoo.org is the East Coast Open’s non-profit partner and they were present during the tournament at Greenwich Polo Club selling raffle tickets and gathering donations. The Pony Club and the I/I Yale Polo program also received donations through ticket sales; nearly 8,000 people attended.
AUDI ran out the champions of the East Coast Open after beating White Birch 14 goals to 13 in the final; AUDI’s Nic Roldán scored the winning goal in extra time. White Birch had won the tournament 11 times previously; on the other hand, this was AUDI’s first year competing in the East Coast Open. Marc Ganzi continued his family tradition, winning the cup like his father did twice before him.