By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Grand Champions Polo Club
Memo Gracida, one of polo’s all-time greats, heads the field for the USPA 12-Goal Sieber Memorial Cup that gets under way Saturday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
The Hall of Famer heads La Herradura, one of sixteen teams in one of the most competitive fields in tournament history.
The tournament begins Saturday at 10 a.m. with Newport playing Altair.
Also on Saturday, the finals of the Limited Edition 12-Goal Series between Goose Creek and Palm Beach Equine will be held at 11:45 a.m.
Gracida, a former 10-goaler now rated six goals, will play with his son, Julio Gracida, family friend Alvaro Fernandez of Monterrey, Mexico, and Nico Escobar, son of polo great Luis Escobar.
“Before it was always about the winning,” Gracida said. “Now it’s about having fun, playing with family and friends and showcasing my horses that I produce and train.”
Gracida, a 10-goaler for 21 consecutive seasons beginning in 1982, won a record 16 U.S. Open championships.
La Herradura opens play on Sunday at 10 a.m. against Whitehall Ranch, one of five games scheduled at Grand Champions.
The remaining teams in the field are:
Altair (12) Ashley Van Metre, Wes Finlayson, Brandon Phillips, Cris Nevins.
Dutta Corp (11) Tim Dutta, Timmy Dutta, Carlitos Gracida, Pike Alberdi.
Flexjet (12) Leo Mandelbaum, Malcolm Borwick, Stuart Armstrong, Charley Law.
Goose Creek (12) Maureen Brennan, Marc Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Mariano Gonzalez.
High Ground/GSA (12) Joe Meyer, Henry Porter, Facha Valent, Juan Zubia.
La Herradura (12) Alvaro Fernandez, Julio Gracida, Memo Gracida, Nico Escobar.
Mt. Brilliant/Faraway Polo (12) Bo Goodman, Hutton Goodman, Julian Daniels, Juan Monteverde.
Newport/Heathcote (12) Gene Goldstein, Oak Thorne, Michel Dorignac, Tatin Zubiaurre.
Palm Beach Equine (12) Agustin Arellano, Ezequiel Zubiaurre, Gringo Colombres, Scott Swerdlin.
Palm Beach Polo (12) Glenn Straub, Matt Coppola, Tommy Biddle, Alejandro Gonzales.
Pony Express (12) Bob Daniels, Benji Daniels, Tomas Goti, Bautista Urbina.
SD Farms (12) Sayyu Dantata, Peco Polledo, Cody Ellis, Bautista Micheletti.
Skaneateles (12) Marty Cregg, Cesar Gimenez, Costi Caset, Mariano Obregon.
Travieso (12) Teo Calle, Tony Calle, Pedro Falabella, Felipe Viana.
Valiente (12) Rob Jornayvaz, Juan Obregon, Facundo Obregon, Lucas Arellano.
Whitehall Ranch (12) Bill Lane, Marcos Alberdi, Miguelito Torres, Whystle Uys.
Northern Trust won last year’s tournament. The team of Maureen Brennan, Peke Gonzalez, Mariano Gonzalez and Steve Krueger defeated Catamount (Rodolfo Ramos, Scott Devon, Patrick Uretz and Memo Gracida) 12-7 to win the title in front of a packed house and worldwide ChukkerTV audience. At 15, Peke Gonzalez was named MVP.
The tournament is named in honor of polo player Rob Sieber, who died in a polo-related accident 30 years ago at Oak Brook, Ill.
Tournament officials have added a subsidiary handicap tournament, the Margaret C. Sieber Handicap in honor of Sieber’s mother, Marge, who passed away last year.
ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting, is exclusively live streaming International Polo Club Palm Beach and Grand Champions Polo Club games during the 2016 season with polo broadcasters Toby Wayman and Dale Schwetz calling the action.