Travieso (Tony Calle, Torito Ruiz, Sebastián Merlos and Hugo Barabucci) put together a total team effort to knock off previously unbeaten Dutta Corp, 11-6, in the opening semifinal of the Sterling Cup on Saturday at windswept Grand Champions Polo Club.
Travieso will meet the winner of Monday’s other semifinal between Casablanca and Valiente, set for 4 p.m. at Valiente Farm. The winners will meet in Wednesday’s final at Grand Champions at 3 p.m.
Travieso led from start-to-finish with offensive firepower and swarming defense, never allowing Dutta Corp (Timmy Dutta, Carlitos Gracida, Piki Diaz Alberdi, Matias Magrini) to find its rhythm or offensive attack.
MVP: Argentine 9-goaler Sebastian Merlos.
Travieso Scorers: Sebastián Merlos (7), Ruiz (2), Tony Calle and Hugo Barabucci each had one goal.
Dutta Corp Scorers: Magrini (4), Gracida (1) and a goal on handicap.
BPP: Pipi, by Sebastián Merlos.
Playing together for the first time as a team, Travieso’s charmed path to the final included a tournament-opening 9-8 loss to Valiente and victories over Palm Beach Equine, 9-8, and Audi, 12-11.
After Dutta Corp took a 1-0 lead on handicap, Travieso jumped on them for a 3-1 advantage after the first chukker. Travieso continued to build its momentum in the first half and shut Dutta Corp out in the third chukker for a 6-3 halftime advantage.
Travieso maintained at least a two-goal advantage in the fourth and fifth chukkers before pulling way in the final chukker after scoring three unanswered points at the end of the fifth and beginning of the sixth.
The Sterling Cup will continue as follows:
Monday 4pm, Semifinal 2: Casablanca vs Valiente, at Valiente.
Wednesday 3pm: Final.
Thursday 3pm: Santa Rita Final.
Great Futures Celebrity Match
For the fourth consecutive year, the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club of Wellington was the biggest winner at the Great Futures Celebrity Match at Grand Champions Polo Club.
The star power of Nacho Figueras, John Walsh and some of the world’s top polo players helped to raise funds for the facility that serves hundreds of children. Defending champion Equuleus repeated as winners of the round-robin tournament.
Equuleus (Joe DiMenna, Martin Pepa, Grant Ganzi and Mariano Gonzalez) finished ahead of Grand Champions (Annabelle Gundlach, John Walsh, Brandon Phillips, Nic Roldan) and Valentine Farm (Olexa Celine, Will Jacobs, Riley Ganzi, Nacho Figueras, Alejandro Novillo Astrada).
MVP: Riley Ganzi.
BPP: Joe DiMenna’s horse Sunbrella.
Walsh, a television spokesman, a passionate children’s advocate, activist and creator of America’s Most Wanted, and now with CNN’s original series The Hunt With John Walsh, was just as popular as Figueras, signing autographs, posing for pictures before and after the game and during the Great Futures Brunch at International Polo Club Palm Beach.