The Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, together with the United States Polo Association(USPA), the national governing body for the sport of polo, have announced the start of the 2019 Silver Air Pacific Coast Open (PCO), Aug. 15-Sept. 1.
Tournament games will take place Thursdays and Sundays at the Polo & Racquet Club, which is five miles south of Santa Barbara. The semifinals will take place at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, culminating in the championship final at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1.
The club will host a Happy Hour after each public match with drink specials and Happy Hour appetizers available for purchase in the grandstand. For the championship final, the club will revive the tailgating tradition, inviting guests to come early, set up a tailgate and picnic.
For fans who can’t attend the games in person, the USPA Polo Network will livestream all matches on uspolo.org, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Standing at a striking height of five feet, the silver-and-gold trophy for the Pacific Coast Open is crowned with an eagle supporting a globe and adorned with semiprecious stones, and is mounted on a redwood base with side panels depicting lively polo scenes.
The cup was commissioned in 1908 by friends and members of the Coronado Country Club in California. First competed for the following year, it was initially called the All American Polo Trophy.
Over the last 109 years, the trophy has resided at many clubs. Throughout the late 1920s until the early ’40s, the tournament was hosted by numerous California clubs, often landing at each club for no more than a few years before switching to another.
After World War II, the PCO moved to the posh Beverly Hills Polo Club until 1952 when it took permanent residency at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club.
Last year, Klentner Ranch redeemed its 2017 double-overtime loss. Despite being defeated by Lucchese once in bracket play and losing team owner Justin Klentner to a hand injury, Klentner Ranch was determined to make its second chance count, ultimately earning its first Pacific Coast Open title 8-6.
“I’m excited for the seven great teams set to compete in the 2019 Silver Air Pacific Coast Open which culminates another successful high-goal polo season at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club,” said USPA CEO Robert Puetz. “We are anticipating thrilling games with fierce competition throughout the tournament.
“The club continues to do an outstanding job with sponsors and spectators which supports our goal of growing awareness for the sport of polo, particularly on the West Coast.”
Seven teams will take to the field to compete for the largest title on the Pacific Coast, an increase from five teams in 2018. Defending champions Klentner Ranch will seek to reclaim the title joined by two new members this year, Geronimo Obregon and Marcos Alberdi.
Winning the title in 2016 and 2017, Farmers & Merchants Bank are returning for another chance at the trophy, along with four-time winners and 2018 finalists Lucchese, and Sol De Agosto. The remaining teams competing this year include Bensoleimani.com, Santa Clara and 2019 Belmond El Encanto Robert Skene Trophy champions FMB Too!
Santa Clara’s roster represents three generations of the Escobar family with the youngest member Lucas Escobar playing against them on Farmers & Merchants Bank.
Sibling rivalry will also be at the forefront of the competition with brothers Facundo, Geronimo and Mariano Obregon, each playing on a different team, the latter the 2018 U.S. Open Polo Championship winner.
Additionally, two of the competing teams feature Team USPA members, including Klentner Ranch’s Geronimo Obregon and Jesse Bray, and Bensoleimani.com’s Tomas Alberdi.
Team USPA is a USPA designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher-rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.
2019 Silver Air Pacific Coast Open Schedule
Sunday, Aug. 18
10 a.m. Field 3 Lucchese vs. FMB Too!
Noon Field 1 FMB vs. BenSoleimani.com
3 p.m. Field 2 Sol de Agosto vs. Klentner Ranch
Thursday, Aug. 22
11 a.m. Field 3 Sol de Agosto vs. BenSoleimani.com
2 p.m. Field 1 Lucchese vs. Klentner Ranch
4 p.m. ET Field 2 FMB vs. Santa Clara
Sunday, Aug. 25
10 a.m. Field 3 FMB vs. FMB Too!
Noon Field 1 Sol de Agosto vs. Santa Clara
3 p.m. Field 2 Lucchese vs. BenSoleimani.com
Thursday, Aug. 29
1 p.m. Field 3 Semifinal #2 ranked team vs. TBA
4 p.m. Field 2 Semifinal #1 ranked team vs. TBA
Sunday, Sept. 1
3 p.m. Field 2 Silver Air Pacific Coast Open Final
— Jennifer Zacharias for Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club.