Sebucan dominated the USPA Eastern Challenge Final from start to finish to capture the prestigious title on Sunday, April 29 at Santa Rita Polo Farm in Wellington, Florida.
Playing together for the first time as a team, Timmy Dutta, Pablo Pulido, Lucas Diaz Alberdi and Juan Martin Obregon defeated ChukkerTV’s Josh DuBarry, Piki Diaz Alberdi, Pablo Dorignac and Julio Gracida 16-10.
Pablo Pulido, playing well above his two-goal rating, was named Most Valuable Player. Pulido, a former collegiate player at Cornell, scored four goals and was one of the most dominant players on the field. It was Pulido’s first MVP award since October, 2017, when Sebucan knocked off Casablanca to win the USPA Fall Plates tournament during the fall season at Grand Champions Polo Club.
Cupid, a five-year-old, owned and played by Julio Gracida in the third chukker was selected as Best Playing Pony.
At 13-goals, Sebucan entered the final as the underdog after two close one-goal victories over Newport and Chateau D’esclans in the round-robin qualifier on Saturday. Sebucan started with a three goal lead on handicap and quickly built 6-1 and 7-2 cushions after two chukkers. Chukker TV cut Sebucan’s lead to two behind Gracida’s clutch penalty conversions to trail 8-6 at the half but could get no closer.
During the second half, Sebucan regained their momentum and offensive running attack to extend their lead to13-7 after the fifth chukker. “They were a very tough team with very strong players,” said Pulido. “We just kept on playing. We kept on rotating all the players going in. We all played the ball and scoring the goals and that made the difference. It was just our team’s grit and our day, everybody just kept on going and going the whole time. That helped out and of course me making it to the end of the line making goals made a difference.”
While Pulido was hoping the team could stay together, his three teammates are going their separate ways. Timmy Dutta and Lucas Diaz Alberdi will join their fathers Tim Dutta and Piki Diaz Alberdi on Dutta Corp for this week’s USPA Sun Cup and Juan Martin Obregon will travel to Aiken, South Carolina, for the Pete Boswick Memorial at New Bridge Polo Club. Obregon will join Tristan Hurley, Sayyu Dantata and Peco Polledo on SD Farms.
At 16 years old, Timmy Dutta was the second youngest player in the final and scored a game-high five goals. In addition to Pulido’s four goals, Juan Martin Obregon added three and Lucas Diaz Alberdi had one goal.
Julio Gracida led ChukkerTV with four goals, Piki Diaz Alberdi had three, DuBarry scored two and Dorignac added one. At 12, DuBarry was the youngest player on the field and in the six-team tournament. “I’ve scored in games before but these were my first ones here today,” said DuBarry. “They were a strong team. It was good and it was tough but good experience for me. It was super fun. I’ve been playing my whole life. The first time I was on a horse I was six months old.”
Timmy Dutta was a runner-up in last year’s USPA Eastern Challenge when Clearwater rallied in the second half to defeat Dutta Corp, 12-10, in the final. Dutta Corp (Timmy Dutta, Kris Kampsen, Piki Diaz Alberdi, Tim Dutta), also a 13-goal team, started with a four-goal lead against 17-goal Clearwater (Chip Campbell, Michael Bickford, Ezequiel Ferrario, Jeff Hall) and led until the second half.
“I’m happy Pablo was Most Valuable Player, it was good to play with him and fun,” said Dutta. “For a 13-goal team with this kind of chemistry I think it’s just playing polo. I’ve been playing for four years and learned a lot. Playing against Piki was very interesting.” The student and coach challenged each other throughout the game. Dutta has played with and against Piki and Lucas Diaz Alberdi in Wellington and Argentina. “That was fun,” Dutta continued. “We play every day in Argentina so I am beginning to learn his tricks now. To play with Lucas is always fun, he is like my brother. Today there was rivalry of course. Piki does not like to lose, not even practices.”
In the Aspen Valley Polo Cup subsidiary game Chateau D’esclans (Tony Calle, Juancito Bollini, Grant Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida) won the title. Ashley Busch of Altair Polo was named Most Valuable Player after scoring four goals against Newport and Chateau D’esclans.
All photos ©Chiarofoto.