By Sharon Robb

In what promises to be an exciting final at Aspen Valley Polo Club, Casablanca and Tonkawa will play for the Basalt Handicap title Sunday at Aspen Valley Polo Club.

In Friday’s qualifying round, Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Pablo Dorignac, Mariano Gracida) held on for a 7-5 victory over defending champion La Karina (Brian Boyd, Santos Bollini, Nacho Novillo Astrada and Stewart Armstrong).

Casablanca started off slowly, trailing 2-1 after the first chukker, but picked up steam in the next three chukkers shutting La Karina out in the second, third and fourth chukkers. Casablanca led 6-2 at the half. La Karina rallied for a 3-0 fifth chukker but fell short.

Ganzi and Bollini each had three goals for Casablanca and Dorignac added one. Ganzi converted two key penalty goals in the second and third chukkers. Astrada led La Karina with two goals.

In the second game, Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Jimmy Seward, Lucas Lalor, Carlitos Gracida) defeated Audi (Melissa Ganzi, Marc Ganzi, Mike Azzaro, Juan Bollini) in a defensive battle, 4-2.

Hildebrand led Tonkawa with three goals and Seward added one. Ganzi and Azzaro each had one for Audi. Sunday’s subsidiary at 11 a.m. MST will feature Audi, La Karina and Los Amigos in a round robin followed by the championship game at 1 p.m. MST.

“It’s going to be a great game,” said Casablanca’s Grant Ganzi.

Sunday’s doubleheader has been designated as a WindWalkers Fundraiser benefitting WindWalkers Equine Assisted Learning and Therapy Center.

The non-profit provides a variety of equine-assisted therapies to aid in the development and growth of those with challenges including physical, neurological, emotional, behavioral or psychological.

On Saturday, another busy day will be centered around youth polo with the NYTS qualifier at 11 a.m. MST followed by Kidz Polo at noon. The NYTS game will feature brothers Hunter and Harrison Azzaro playing together competitively for the first time.

Admission is free to club events and the public is welcome to come out and enjoy polo.

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