By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Grand Champions Polo Club
The fall polo season is in full swing at Grand Champions Polo Club with the third tournament of the season getting under way on Friday.
The Fall Classic, featuring defending champion Postage Stamp Farm making its’ fall debut, features four top-notch teams.
Action gets under way Friday at 3 p.m. with Postage Stamp Farm playing Flexjet followed by Audi against Casablanca at 4:30 p.m.
The winners advance to Sunday’s Fall Classic final at 10 a.m. while the runners-up play for the Grand Champions Cup at 11:30 a.m. A Grooms Race will be held after the doubleheader.
|Kris Kampsen. Photo by ChiChi Ubina.|
Three familiar faces will make their fall debut at Grand Champions. Annabelle Gundlach and Kris Kampsen of Postage Stamp Farm and Tony Calle of Casablanca will compete for the first time this fall.
The field features three women players. In addition to Gundlach, coming off her East Coast Open debut in Greenwich, season-opening Tackeria Invitational MVP Riley Ganzi and Melissa Ganzi will compete.
Team USPA members Jesse Bray and Jared Sheldon, after competing against each other last weekend in the U.S. Trust Cup, will join forces on Casablanca, the youngest team in the two-day tournament.
Team rosters are:
Audi: Glenn Straub, 0; Marc Ganzi, 1; Nic Roldan, 8; Carlitos Gracida, 4.
Casablanca: Grant Ganzi, 1, Tony Calle, 2, Jesse Bray, 5; Jared Sheldon, 4.
Flexjet: Riley Ganzi, 0, Melissa Ganzi, 0, Jason Crowder, 6, Juan Bollini, 5.
Postage Stamp Farm: Annabelle Gundlach, 0, Gene Goldstein, 1, Guille Aguero, Kris Kampsen, 6.
|Annabelle Gundlach. Photo by ChiChi Ubina|
In last year’s Fall Classic, Postage Stamp Farm (Annabelle Gundlach, Brandon Phillips, Guille Aguero, Leo Mandelbaum) rallied in the final two chukkers to win with a 9-7 victory over Dutta Corp. Phillips was named MVP.
Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting, is live streaming the entire fall schedule locally and worldwide.
ChukkerTV’s state-of-the art technology also features team challenges and instant replay which made their debut at Grand Champions in January, 2014.
Grand Champions, with five well-manicured fields and turnkey facility, expects to have its finest fall season in the ten-year history of the club.
|Jesse Bray. File Photo|
The Fall Classic is the third of nine tournaments during the fall. Flexjet (MVP Riley Ganzi, Melissa Ganzi, Juan Bollini, Jason Crowder) won the season-opening Tackeria Invitational with a 7-6 victory over Casablanca. U.S. Trust (Marc Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, MVP Jared Shelton, Nic Roldan) won the
U.S. Trust Cup with a 5.5-3 win over Flexjet.
The club is hosting seven medium goal, two 20-goal tournaments, in addition to the Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo game and International Cup.
Grand Champions is one of only two clubs in the nation to stage 20-goal tournaments. The club will host the USPA North American Cup and USPA National 20-Goal tournaments.
The remaining medium goal tournaments are: Oct. 18-23 Eastern Challenge; Oct. 25-30Pedro Morrison Memorial; Nov. 1-6 Fall Plates and Nov. 8-13 Polo Gear Challenge.
Roster lineups change from tournament to tournament with evenly-matched teams to help improve player skills and performance.
The schedule also features a world-class doubleheader on November 26th featuring thefifth annual International Cup which has become a holiday weekend tradition marking the end of the fall season.
|Jared Shelton. File Photo|
Team USA has won the first four International Cups against England, Chile, Mexico and South Africa in the featured game.
In the opening game, the legacy of polo great Carlos Gracida continues with the Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo game, featuring some of the sport’s greats.
Grand Champions is one of the busiest and most innovative clubs in North America catering 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.
The Polo School, a 501c3 organization, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November.