Grand Champions Polo Club Opens Fall Season Sunday With Tackeria Invitational; LaPlacette Makes Fall Debut

The much-anticipated fall polo season at Grand Champions Polo Club opens Sunday with the Tackeria Invitational.
By Sharon Robb
Audi and Casablanca will meet in the championship final at 11 a.m. The game will be live streamed worldwide by ChukkerTV.
Flexjet’s Riley Ganzi, Melissa Ganzi, Juan Bollini and Jason Crowder with awards presenter Jesse Coppola.
The Tackeria Invitational has a special place in Grand Champions history. It was the inaugural tournament at the club after it first opened in 2007.
“The Tackeria Invitational is the perfect way to kick off the season,” said Tackeria owner Tony Coppola, currently in Stevenson, Wash. for the USPA Board of Governors and annual member, committee and LLC meetings at Skamania Lodge. Coppola, a USPA Governor-at-Large is running against Tom Gose for USPA President. “We are proud to be a returning sponsor,” Coppola said.
The team rosters are:
Audi: Marc Ganzi, Jason Crowder, Carlitos Gracida, Brandon Phillips.
Casablanca: Grant Ganzi, Andres “Lala” LaPlacette, Juan Bollini, Pablo Dorignac.
LaLa LaPlacette
Argentine Andres “Lala” LaPlacette, a 5-goal rated player and coach, is coming off the recent CBC Sport Arena Polo World Cup Azerbaijan in Baku. LaPlacette was head coach of the winning CBC Sport/Elite Horse & Polo Club team based in Baku. In the opening round, CBC Sport/Elite Horse & Polo Club defeated Team Improtex Motors/Grand Champions Polo Club that featured Melissa Ganzi, Juan Bollini and Tito Gaudenzi, 11-6.
In last year’s Tackeria Invitational final, Flexjet (Riley Ganzi, Melissa Ganzi, Juan Bollini, Jason Crowder) defeated Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Jared Sheldon, Carlitos Gracida, Juancito Bollini), 7-6, on Melissa Ganzi’s winning goal just before the 30-second bell in the final chukker.
Riley Ganzi, now a senior at Boca Raton St. Andrew’s School and third generation polo player, was Most Valuable Player. Then 16, she was one of the youngest MVPs in club history. Open Quarzo, ridden by Melissa Ganzi and owned by Santa Rita Polo Farm, was Best Playing Pony.
“It’s going to be a busy season,” said Grand Champions co-owner and player Marc Ganzi, coming off a successful summer season at Aspen Valley Polo Club, Grand Champions’ sister club.
Jason Crowder
“We keep pushing the envelope,” Ganzi said. “We want to keep polo fun and spice it up. This is a fun time and gets us primed and ready for the winter season.”
The Tackeria, a longtime supporter of polo and other equestrian sports, is a complete equestrian shop located in the heart of Wellington horse country. The store carries one of the most complete selections of equestrian equipment in the world. It is a go-to source for equipment, supplies, fashion and gifts for hunter/jumper, dressage and polo disciplines. The Tackeria is located on the corner of Pierson Road and South Shore at 13501 South Shore Blvd.
Rated No. 1 by Consumer Reports as the best auto brand overall, Audi is a valued sponsor with a rich winning tradition in polo. The German automobile manufacturer designs, engineers, produces, markets and distributes luxury automobiles throughout the world including West Palm Beach.
Brandon Phillips
Casablanca, founded by polo players who understand the needs of today’s polo players, supplies a wide variety of polo products, equipment and apparel through superior quality, value and service around the world. Behind the Casablanca brand is a serious pledge to quality, excellence and elegance.
The Tackeria Invitational is the first of six medium goal tournaments during the fall season. Grand Champions is one of only two clubs in the nation to host two 20-goal tournaments, the USPA North American (Oct. 27-Nov. 5) Cup and USPA National 20-Goal (Nov. 8-19).
The highlight of the season is the Nov. 25 doubleheader with the Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo and International Cup pitting defending champion Team USA against Brazil.
Carlos Gracida and Pablo Dorignac
During the fall season, roster lineups change from tournament to tournament with evenly-matched teams to help improve players skills and performance. The games also give players an opportunity to work young horses.
During fall, winter and spring seasons, Grand Champions Polo Club, the nation’s largest club with 11 well-manicured fields, hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal in addition to special events.
Grand Champions Polo Cup attracted a record 72 teams during its 2017 winter season that featured the $100,000 World Cup, $50,000 National 12-Goal, 20-Goal Sterling Cup and 20-Goal Molina Cup, and another 18 teams during the spring season.
The entire fall season will be live-streamed on Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting with cutting-edge technology. ChukkerTV also features team challenges and instant replay which made their debut at Grand Champions in January, 2014.
Grand Champions Polo Club caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels. Its’ expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its’ Polo On Demand program, the only polo club in the U.S. to offer the unique program.