In a much-anticipated showdown, Casablanca and Flexjet will meet Wednesday for the USPA National 20-Goal Championship at Grand Champions Polo Club.
Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, A, Jason Crowder, 6, Nic Roldan, 8, Jared Sheldon, 4) will play Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, 1, Juancito Bollini, 3, Julio Arellano, 8, JJ Celis, 4) in the championship final at 3:30 p.m.
Runners-up Audi and KIG/Dutta Corp will meet in the handicap final at 10 a.m. The popular Grooms Race will also be held.
Flexjet will try to finish the club’s 20-goal season undefeated.
Last Friday Flexjet (Grant Ganzi, Jared Sheldon, Nic Roldan, Jason Crowder) won the USPA North American Cup with a thrilling 11-9 victory over Audi.
Grant Ganzi filled in for his mother in the final of the USPA North American Cup. Now mother and son will be pitted against each other in the USPA National 20-Goal final.
In Sunday’s opening round in front of a good local crowd and worldwide ChukkerTV audience, Casablanca advanced with a 12-9 victory over defending champion Audi. Flexjet advanced with a 10-8 win over KIG/Dutta Corp in the afternoon game.
In the opening game of the doubleheader, Casablanca knocked off a strong Audi team (Marc Ganzi, 1, Jesse Bray, 5, Carlucho Arellano, 5, Jeff Blake, 6), with its wide open, fast-paced offense.
The game pitted older brother Julio Arellano against Carlucho Arellano and father and son Marc and Grant Ganzi.
After an Audi 6-5 first half, the lead changed hands five times before Casablanca took a 10-9 lead on Julio Arellano’s goal at the end of the fifth chukker and controlled the remainder of the game.
It was all Casablanca in the final chukker shutting out Audi’s potent offense while Grant Ganzi scored two goals to put the game away.
Julio Arellano scored a game-high five goals. Bollini had three, Ganzi scored two and Celis added one. Marc Ganzi led Audi with three goals while Carlucho Arellano, Bray and Blake each had two goals.
In the second game, Flexjet rallied after being down two goals against KIG/Dutta Corp (Timmy Dutta, A, Kris Kampsen, 6, Guille Aguero, 6, Carlitos Gracida, 4) after four chukkers. KIG/Dutta Corp led 7-5 at halftime.
Flexjet capitalized on KIG/Dutta Corp’s penalties in the second half. Trailing 7-6 going into the fifth chukker, Roldan converted penalty-three and penalty-four goals to take the lead, 8-7 with 3:03left in the chukker. Kampsen scored a goal from the field to tie the game at 8-8 with 31 seconds left in the chukker.
Flexjet continued its defensive strategy in the final chukker forcing KIG/Dutta Corp into making mistakes and shutting them out in the fourth and sixth chukkers.
Roldan took control with 2:40 left taking the ball from one end of the field to the other to score a goal undefended and give Flexjet a 9-8 lead. With 1:40 left, Roldan scored an insurance goal on a penalty-three.
Roldan scored a game-high six goals. Sheldon and Crowder each added two goals.
Gracida led KIG/Dutta Corp with three goals. Kampsen had two and Dutta added one.
In last year’s USPA National 20-Goal final, Audi (Marc Ganzi, Jeff Blake, Sugar Erskine and Carlucho Arellano) won with an 11-8 win over Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Jason Crowder, Nic Roldan, Juan Bollini). Erskine was MVP.
The regular season fall finale kicked off the biggest week of fall polo at Grand Champions.
A holiday weekend tradition marking the end of the fall season will be Saturday’s doubleheader, one of the biggest social events of the fall in Wellington. The Carlos Gracida Legends of Polo game at 1 p.m. will honor the legacy of Gracida, who died tragically in February, 2014 at age 53.
In the second game at 3 p.m., the fifth annual International Cup will pit Team USA against Uruguay. Team USA is undefeated in International Cup play with wins over England, Chile, Mexico and South Africa.