On a perfect day for polo, U.S. Trust came from behind for the second consecutive year to capture the U.S. Trust Cup at Grand Champions Polo Club. U.S. Trust (Marc Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, Jared Shelton, Nic Roldan) defeated Flexjet (Carlitos Gracida, Jason Crowder, Juan Bollini, Glenn Straub), 5.5-3 in the third and final game of the day.
Because of Hurricane Matthew, the tournament was condensed into a one-day, round-robin format based on net goals. In other round robin games, Flexjet defeated Newport (Guille Aguero, Jesse Bray, JJ Celis, Gene Goldstein), 5-3, and Newport edged U.S. Trust, 4-3.5.
Jared Sheldon, 29, of U.S. Trust was named Most Valuable Player. Sheldon, one of the original members of Team USPA, rallied his team in the final game with three goals. Marc Ganzi added two goals. Piaget, a 10-year-old grey thoroughbred mare played by Sheldon, and owned by Halo Polo, was named Best Playing Pony.
U.S. Trust jumped out early in the first chukka with a quick goal from Marc Ganzi at the 6:12mark for a 1.5-0 advantage and never relinquished the lead. “We had to sit for the first three chukkas and had to play against a team that was warmed up,” said Sheldon, a 4-goaler based in Indio, Calif. “Playing against a team that’s warmed up makes a difference so we were warmed up for the last three and it made things a lot better and a lot smoother.”
U.S. Trust led 4.5-1 after the first two chukkas. “You always got to expect the goals to come. This is a fun team. Everyone is good and everyone worked for each other,” Sheldon said. It was Sheldon’s second MVP award in less than three weeks. Sheldon, a member of Pie Town Javelinas, was named MVP in the Sept. 24 National Sherman Memorial. Pie Town Javelinas defeated NYC Polo, 17-16, to win the title. It wasn’t hard for Sheldon to find chemistry with his new teammates. “They are a very easy group to fit into and have chemistry with,” Sheldon said. “It’s always good to start the season strong. We start off like this and keep it going. That’s the idea, don’t let your foot off the gas.”
Father and son Marc and Grant Ganzi were members of last year’s winning U.S. Trust Cup team that came from behind to defeat Postage Stamp Farm, 11-10, in overtime. “It didn’t hit me until we were up by a few goals and I said wait a second, we have a lot more goals than anyone else, I think we’re going to win this,” said Grant Ganzi, a freshman at Lynn University. “It was a lot of fun, winning again with my dad. Jared played really well. We all worked for each other and played as a good team. It was really nice to win because I didn’t win much silver over the summer so it was nice to capture one here early on and nice to play on my horses. They are getting up for the season and looked really good. Practices this week will help and hopefully, I can come back just as strong next weekend.”
In the opening game, Flexjet took the lead in the second chukka (2-1) on a 30-yard penalty shot by Gracida and never trailed after that. Bollini led Flexjet scoring with three goals including one penalty goal. Celis had two for Newport.
Newport edged U.S. trust, 4-3.5, in the second game. The lead changed hands three times before Celis scored the go-ahead goal with 4:05 left in the third chukka. Grant Ganzi had a game-high three goals. Bray and Celis each had two for Newport.
In a fun, post-game event pitting the grooms against players, Grand Champions grooms Brian Castillo, Joni Castillo and Pedro Nicora won the Grooms Race by a wide margin. Before the tournament started, a moment of silence was observed for watercolor artist Rod Skidmore, 85, who died from pancreatic cancer this past week. The talented artist specialized in polo and horse-related sports in his artwork.
U.S. Trust, founded in 1853, is a wealth management and private banking company designed to address the needs of its clients, regardless of complexity. It provides investment management, wealth structuring, credit and lending services to clients. It is the first and oldest trust company in the U.S.
Further information about Grand Champions Polo Club can be found here www.gcpolo.com