WELLINGTON, Fl., March 31, 2019-—Valiente avenged last weekend’s Molina Cup loss in its opening game of the Triple Crown of Polo.
In front of another good crowd Saturday at Valiente Polo Farm, Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, 2, Santi Torres, 6, Pelon Stirling, 10, Alejandro (Jejo) Taranco, 8) bounced back from its last-minute 11-10 loss with a dominating 12-7 victory over Alegria (Freddie Mannix, 8, Jesse Bray, 6, Gringo Colombres, 7, Juan Martin Obregon, 5).
On Sunday, two games are scheduled. At 10 a.m., Mandarina (Melissa Ganzi, A, Alfredo Bigatti, 8, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 8, Pablo Spinacci, 6) plays Audi (Marc Ganzi, 2, Nic Roldan, 8, Pablo MacDonough, 10, Kris Kampsen, 6) at Jan Pamela Field 3.
In the 4 p.m. feature game at Grand Champions Polo Club Field 2, WPL (Agustin Nero, 6T, Guillermo Terrera, 8, Diego Cavanagh, 9, Poroto Cambiaso, 3) plays Grand Champions (Grant Ganzi, 3, Juancito Bollini, 4, Rodrigo Andrade, 9, Juan Martin Nero, 10).
Team sponsors Mandarina and WPL are making their World Polo League debut. Cambiaso, 13, the youngest player in the WPL tournament, is coming off tournament wins in the $50,000 National 12-Goal for La Dolfina and Patagones Invitational 16-Goal for Patagones/Palm Beach Equine.
In Saturday’s game, Valiente was relentless and never let Alegria into the game maintaining at least a two-goal lead after a close opening chukker (3-2). Alegria was unable to come up with another comeback win like the Molina Cup.
“It was a pity we lost, but that’s sports, every sport is different,” Stirling said. “We had a really good game today. We put Santi in and he played very well. I think the four of us had a very good game. We hit the ball real well and that was the difference from our other game with them. We didn’t quite connect the ball as well as today, we couldn’t run the way we normally like and they managed to close the game down. Today was a different game.”
After leading 6-4 at the half, Valiente shut out Alegria in the fourth and fifth chukkers and didn’t allow Alegria to score until the final five minutes of the game. With Valiente leading 12-4, Juan Martin Obregon scored the first of three goals at the 5:15 mark.
“We were really clicking today,” Jornayvaz said. “We played a lot better than we did in the Molina Cup. It was great to play with Santi again, he played really well.”
Valiente, the world’s best polo organization under the J5 Equestrian umbrella, played on all cylinders and it showed.
“What’s so much fun about this organization is we’ve all played together so much,” Jornayvaz said. “I love playing with Pelon and Jejo. I just can’t tell you how much fun it is. They know what I’m going to do and I know what they are going to do. It’s an organization that clicks. I say repeatedly the organization shows up and today it did.
“What Robertito (Zedda) and Adolfo (Cambiaso) have done to build this organization it shows up like it did today. It was just good fast polo.”
Alegria was unable to get its offense going in the first half.
“They were off, they missed a few early goals and a few early goals can change the whole tempo,” Jornayvaz said. “We were fortunate that we had a few breakaway scores and that makes a huge difference. Once you get the lead, you work on adding to it. We were just a little luckier today.”
Torres returned to the Valiente lineup after playing with Palm Beach Open champion SD Farms. Torres was a member of Valiente’s All Star Challenge Tournament winner and Founders Cup runner-up team.
“It felt great to play today, this is another fun team,” Torres said. “We have the chemistry. We play practices every other day, we are always around the barn together. We were ready today. The team went well, no complaints.”
As the World Polo League’s inaugural season winds down, the accolades from players, fans and sponsors continue to grow for Jornayvaz and his fellow co-founders Marc and Melissa Ganzi.
“It’s been amazing, the polo has been incredible,” Jornayvaz said. “I’m always sad when the Florida season is over because it’s such an incredible place to be.”
Sterling scored a game-high seven goals including three penalty conversions for Valiente. Taranco had four goals and Torres added one goal. Obregon led Alegria with four goals, Bray had two and Colombres added one.
The WPL is being live streamed on ESPN Deportes and ChukkerTV/Horseplay with Gus Whitelaw calling the action. For more information go to www.worldpolo.org.
Co-founded by Grand Champions owners Melissa and Marc Ganzi and Valiente Polo Farm owner Bob Jornayvaz, the World Polo League is the only 26-goal polo in the world outside of Argentina. The WPL is preserving the highest level of polo and its rich, hallowed tradition in the U.S.
The WPL has its own set of simpler fan-friendly rules to improve the flow and action of the game.
The WPL, with world-class fields to play on, features the All-Star Challenge Draw Tournament, Founders Cup, Palm Beach Open and Triple Crown of Polo. The WPL is open to teams that wish to compete in one or more of the tournaments. Games are offered on the flat (Open) and on Handicap.
The World Polo League has attracted a large international field of players from all corners of the world including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Nigeria, New Zealand, Uruguay and U.S.
Grand Champions and Valiente are also launching the U.S. National Mixed Doubles Championship, featuring two men and two women with combined handicaps this month.
In addition to the World Polo League, season highlights for 2019 at Grand Champions are the Sterling Cup, $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament, John T. Oxley Memorial and $100,000 World Cup Tournament, a unique 0-40-goal, winner-take-all single-elimination tournament and WCT Finals.
Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and three polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball with plans to build more polo fields in the future.