It was an afternoon of notable events at the Prince of Wales Field on Sunday, June 25 as Oak Brook’s Polo team defeated Zeralda 14-9 in the Commander’s Cup 12-goal match at Oak Brook Polo Club in Oak Brook, Illinois. Armed Forces serviceman and veterans were honored in a remake of the Black Horse Troop match, and Samantha Falbe served as team Patron and fielder for Team Zeralda.
The pre-match parade was led by the Culver Academy Mounted Color Guard, which is home to the Black Horse Troop that marched in the 2017 Presidential Inauguration and was followed by a 1945 Harley Davidson military motorcycle, and celebrity guest Kristy Swanson.
The Oak Brook team, captained by Chicago business leader Jim Drury included Horacio Onetto (4), Tomas “Toto” Obregon (4), Mariano Gutierrez (4) while Falbe’s Zeralda Polo Team was comprised of Maco Llambias (5) Delmer Walton (3), and Matias Obregon (4). The two officiating umpires were Jack Murphy, and Todd Rackley.
After the ceremonial bowl in by Swanson, the match got underway at a quick 12-goal pace. Walton was the first to score for Team Zeralda in regular game time, and then put another on the board on a penalty 4. Not to be outdone, Onetto shot in a quick runaway goal out of the line-up just before the horn of the end of the first chukker.
For the start of the second chukker, Zeralda came out strong. Walton put in another two successive goals – one on penalty and one in regular game hustle. Llambias, playing defense for Zeralda in the number 4 spot did a great job holding the offense of Oak Brook until the second half. Onetto changed to a fresh pony and quickly fired in three quick goals for Oak Brook – one on a Penalty 4, and two in regular play. Finding his stride, Onetto scored the next three consecutive goals for Oak Brook to lead 7-5 by the half time point.
As the forth chukker got underway, Oak Brook’s Gutierrez and Drury were well positioned to pick up the passes being fed from Obregon and Onetto, who both came up through “traffic” a couple of times to score the eighth and ninth goals of the match. Walton scored one for Zeralda to end the chukker 9-6 in favor of Oak Brook.
As the fifth chukker got underway, a timely back shot from Gutierrez was picked up by Obregon who then passed the ball up to a well-positioned Drury just 30 yards from the goal – the score now 11 for Oak Brook. A moment later, Zeralda’s Llambias lobbed a nice pass to Falbe who took the ball to goal in front of a cheering crowd. For the last chukker, Zeralda came out with their best horses and fired in two goals, one from Matias Obregon, and another from Walton. Oak Brook responded with two goals from Onetto and one from Obregon to secure the win.
Most Valuable Player honors went to Onetto for eleven goals while the “Best Playing Pony” award went to chestnut gelding, Ventu owned by Llambias. “Team Zeralda was strong and enthusiastic!” said Falbe. “We had a few missed opportunities and continued to challenge ourselves until the end.”
The Oak Brook Polo team’s home schedule features seven polo matches and includes the return of “Horses & Horsepower” events in addition to the “International Polo Series.” The team will also be competing in several 8-12 goal competitions and tournaments outside of Oak Brook including matches at Arranmore Farm & Polo Club (Oswego), Morgan Creek (Yorkville), Due West (Chicago), Font Farm (Plano) and other Chicagoland area polo clubs and fields. 2017 marks Oak Brook Polo Club’s 95th season as one of the nation’s oldest polo clubs in operation today and fourth oldest sports property in Chicago. Once considered the “polo capital” of the world Oak Brook was the destination for American Polo players and enthusiasts.
Oak Brook Polo Club is located at 2606 York Road), seventeen miles from Chicago’s Loop. A variety of ticket options are available at www.oakbrookpoloclub.com. For general information, event scheduling, and parking directions, please call 630-368-5095.