Grand Champions Polo Club has saved its best for the last week of the fall polo season.
Three major games will be held on Wednesday and Saturday to close out a successful 2019 season.
On Wednesday at 3 p.m., Audi will play Sebucan for the USPA National 20-Goal crown.
Audi, led by American 8-goaler Nic Roldan, Sugar Erskine and Brandon Phillips, advanced into the final with a 14-10 win over France’s Louis Jarrige, Julien Reynes, Edouard Pan and 6-goaler and team captain Pierre Henri Ngoumou.
Sebucan, with a balanced team of Pablo Pulido, Jason Crowder, Kris Kampsen, and Tommy Biddle advanced with a thrilling 11-10 victory over Aspen Valley’s Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Horacio Heguy and Jeff Blake.
Audi has dominated the competition with three title wins, including back-to-back victories in 2012 and 2013 led by Roldan, who holds the tournament record with four titles.
Casablanca has won the USPA National 20-Goal title the past two years. In 2018, Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, 2, Whistle Uys, 4, Julio Gracida, 4, Pablo Spinacci, 6) defeated Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, 0, Jason Crowder, 6, Jeff Blake, 6, Juan Bollini, 5), 11-9. Spinacci was MVP. In 2017, Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Mike Azzaro, Jeff Blake) defeated defending champion Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Jason Crowder, Pablo Dorignac, Juan Bollini), 13-6. Blake was MVP.
The USPA National 20-Goal was first played at the Royal Palm Polo Club in Boca Raton in 2007, won by Houston-based team BTA (Chrys Beal, Mariano Gonzalez, Francisco Lanusse, Santiago Trotz) with a 13-12 win over Audi 13-12. The trophy then went on hiatus until 2011. Grand Champions resurrected the tournament where it’s been played ever since.
On Saturday, a star-studded doubleheader highlights the holiday weekend.
In the opening game at 1 p.m., the Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial game will honor the legacy of the Hall of Famer and one of the sport’s greats, who died tragically in February, 2014 at age 53.
Gracida, one of the sport’s most beloved players, started playing when he was 5, reached 10 goals at age 25 and held the sport’s highest possible rating for 15 years. He won the U.S. Open nine times and British Open ten times. He was said to be Queen Elizabeth’s favorite player. He coached Princes William and Harry and played alongside them several times.
His oldest son, Carlitos Gracida, 28, and Argentine Open six-time champion Horacio Heguy head the roster for the game.
In last year’s legends game, Gracida Wine (Julio Gracida, Mariano Gracida, Riley Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida) won 6-2 over American Polo Horse. Carlitos Gracida was MVP.
In the featured match at 3 p.m., GCPC-USA will put its seven-year win streak on the line against France. It is the eighth time Grand Champions will host a major international men’s game.
Other past GCPC-USA team victories and rosters featuring a Who’s Who of polo players are:
2018, U.S. 9, Azerbaijan 7.5, Marc Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, Jeff Blake, Juan Bollini
2017, U.S. 9, Brazil 7, Grant Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida, Julio Arellano, Mike Azzaro
2016, U.S. 6, Uruguay, 3, Marc Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, Julio Arellano, Nic Roldan
2015, U.S. 12, South Africa 7, Marc Ganzi, Jeff Hall, Nic Roldan, Julio Arellano
2014, U.S. 3, Mexico 2.5 and USA 2, Team USPA 1.5, Marc Ganzi, Wes Finlayson, Nic Roldan, Mason Wroe
2013, U.S. 13, Chile 8, Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Jeff Hall, Carlitos Gracida
2012, U.S. 8.5, England 6, Marc Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida, Jeff Hall, Nic Roldan. Roldan is a three-time MVP winner.
One of the event sponsors returning is Perfect Vodka as the official VIP liquor, owned by Dennis Cunningham.
Tickets, ranging from $20 to $1500, are on sale along with various sponsorship packages.
$1,500 VIP Sponsor: Includes one reserved table for eight in the VIP tent, corporate partner signage and parking.
$250 Grand Champions Tailgate Package: Includes a reserved tailgate spot with parking for one car.
$200 VIP Pavilion Tickets: Includes one VIP admission ticket to the VIP tent with a field side view of the game.
$20 General Admission. Field side parking not included.
For tickets, call 561-644-5050 and for sponsorship packages call 561-714-0887.
Proceeds from the doubleheader benefit The Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the development, history and tradition of the sport of polo by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting its collections as well as honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport.
Grand Champions is closing out a successful fall season.
Newport (Gene Goldstein, Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Nic Roldan) made club history winning the first-ever Wellington Open high goal tournament of the fall season.
The winners of the first five medium goal tournaments at Grand Champions were: Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Pierre Henri Ngoumou), Pedro Morrison Memorial; Newport (Gene Goldstein, Jason Crowder, Kris Kampsen, Juan Bollini), Fall Plates Tournament; Sebucan (Santos Bollini, Pablo Pulido, Nic Roldan, Kris Kampsen), Fall Classic; Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Kris Kampsen, Pablo Spinacci, Juan Bollini), Tackeria Invitational; and Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Brandon Phillips, Jason Crowder), US Trust Cup. The Polo Gear Challenge final was postponed by rain.
During the 2019 fall season, the nation’s largest and busiest polo club, hosted both medium and high goal polo. It is highlighted by the International Cup featuring GCPC-USA against France; Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial, inaugural Wellington Open and USPA National 20.
The well-organized fall tournaments attract players from all over the United States and world including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, England, France, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Uruguay, Switzerland, Nigeria and South Africa.
The fall season served as a tuneup for the winter season for players and green horses. The winter season will feature the second season of the highly-successful 26-goal World Polo League at Grand Champions and Valiente Polo Farm with the best polo players in the world.
The club takes pride in teaching and sharing the exciting sport of polo with anyone interested in learning. Grand Champions’ sister club Aspen Valley Polo Club is coming off its most successful and historical summer season.
Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm cater to men, women and youth polo players at all levels. Its’ expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its’ Polo On Demand program at the turnkey facility.
The Polo School, a 501c3 organization and stand-alone USPA club, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its’ mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. Scholarships are available. The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA club, operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. For more information on the Fall Leagues or Polo School contact Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099.