WELLINGTON — Audi, Orchard Hill and White Birch will join top-seed Lucchese in this week’s semifinals of the C.V. Whitney Cup at International Polo Club Palm Beach.
The C.V. Whitney is the first 26-goal tournament of polo’s Triple Crown in the U.S.
After a slow start, Audi rallied for a 9-7 victory over Coca-Cola in the teams’ tournament opener at Lechuza Caracas.
Trailing 5-2 at the half, Audi scored six unanswered goals, shut out Coca-Cola in the fourth and fifth chukkers and outscored them 7-2 in the second half to advance into Thursday’s semifinal game against White Birch at 11 a.m.
“At halftime we said let’s start over 0-0,” Audi’s Marc Ganzi said. “We went back to playing the most simplest of fundamental Audi polo that we know how to play.”
Coca-Cola unveiled a new 26-goal team linep with the addition of former teammate Miguel Novillo-Astrada who joins Gillian Johnston, Sugar Erskine and Julio Arellano.
“It was important to win this first game,” Audi 9-goaler Gonzalito Pieres said. “We haven’t been playing the 20-goal. Our rhythm was not there early in the game. We came back quick in the fourth chukker and fifth chukker was amazing.”
Pieres scored a game-high seven goals including four from the penalty line. Ganzi added two. Erskine led Coca-Cola with four goals, all in the first half.
In the other C.V. Whitney semifinal, top-seed Lucchese, which received a bye in the opening round, will play Orchard Hill on Wednesday at 1 p.m.
Orchard Hill advanced with an 11-8 victory over Valiente and White Birch defeated Valiente II, 13-11, in Friday’s opening games.
On Sunday, the 20-goal Ylvisaker Cup finalists were decided after several rain delays and rescheduling. Orchard Hill will play Valiente for the title on a day and time still to be determined by club officials.
Orchard Hill defeated Dubai, 4-3, in overtime at Engel & Volkers Field. It was the lowest scoring game in IPC history.
The first goal wasn’t scored until 1:10 left in the second chukker by Dubai’s Alejo Taranco. Dubai led 2-1 at the half.
Peke Gonzalez, 16, was named MVP after scoring two goals including the game-winner. Wembley, ridden by Taranco, was named Best Playing Pony. Ten-goaler Facundo Pieres of Orchard Hill injured his right leg in the fourth chukker but returned to the game.
In the fast-paced game, Orchard Hill converted only four of 21 shots from the field. Dubai converted one of 10.
At Valiente’s home field, the other semifinal resumed between Valiente and Palm Beach Illustrated/TechnoGym continued in the third chukker after being suspended because of rain on Wednesday.
Valiente, leading 6-1 before the game was called after two chukkers, went on to win 13-10. Adolfo Cambiaso led scoring with seven goals and Felipe Viana added six. Facundo Obregon had eight goals for Palm Beach Illustrated/TechnoGym.
George Haas Cup 20-Goal: Horseware/5Star/Tackeria 13, La Indiana 12, Former 10-goaler Mike Azzaro led the winning team with seven goals, including four from the field. Brazilian Joao Paulo Ganon of La Indiana scored a game-high nine goals and was named MVP. Hugo Lloret’s horse Barbie was named Best Playing Pony.
Iglehart 20-Goal Cup: Tonkawa 13, Enigma 12, Tonkawa won its third Iglehart Cup in tournament history behind Gonzalo del Tour’s five goals. Carlucho Arellano of Enigma was named MVP after scoring a game-high 10 goals. Matias MacDonough’s horse Farista was named Best Playing Pony.