WELLINGTON, Fl., March 2, 2020–-On a perfect day that featured sky divers, a one armed bandit, and great polo, Scone Polo team won it’s first World Polo League Tournament, The Founders Cup.
This year’s Final was set to be a hot bed of phenomenal polo talent, with players travelling from as far afield as Australia to compete for the coveted $60,000 prize money and honor of lifting the Founders Cup Trophy. Going into the match, both David Paradice’s Scone and Sayyu Dantata’s SD Farms had secured resounding victories against their Semifinal opponents, proving they were more than worthy to have trounced the other eight teams and potentially, each other.
Going into the Final however, it was clear SD Farms had their work cut out, with legendary father/son duo of Adolfo Cambiaso and his 14-year-old son Poroto, ready and raring to show their powerfully intuitive play, backed up by the more than capable Diego Cavanagh and British Queen’s Cup winning David Paradice – quite the force to be reckoned with.
Following the first throw-in from the legendary John Payne,, the one-armed bandit, play ensued with a penalty conversion from Scone’s Cavanagh to put Scone 4-0 ahead within just 30 seconds, adding to their 3 goal handicap advantage. With a somewhat choppy beginning, it took time for the teams to settle into a rhythm, showcasing the very best of international polo talent. Cavanagh, the penalty genius, carried on building the handicap advantage, using the 3 goal spring board, with one conversion success, then another, making it 6-0. SD Farms’ Juan Martin Zubia found the uprights for their first foray onto the scoreboard, but as the chukker closed, SD Farms were flummoxed, trailing 7-1.
Scone didn’t let up the pace in the next two chukkers, playing fast and furious polo, halting any attempt for SD Farms to fall into a goal scoring rhythm. The synergy between the SD Farms players just couldn’t pass muster and with a ninth goal from Cavanagh, the Scone ‘red-wash’ continued towards the half-time break. SD Farms pushed and pushed towards goal, but with the Scone pressure at fever pitch, the grey shirted SD Farms couldn’t convert their efforts.
As the second half got underway, despite having stolen the ball numerous times from the clasps of the Cambiasos, conversion was just not on the cards for SD Farms, as Cavanagh found the uprights once again to make it 10-1. Zubía, who really came out guns blazing for this Final, continued to try with all his might, with his efforts breaking the SD Farms two chukker drought to make it 10-2. With the goal came a much-needed throw-in win, resulting in another SD Farms goal, but as the chukker closed, from 120 yards out, Cambiaso senior found the posts for Scone, upping their already hefty lead to 11-3 and securing himself the Most Valuable Player honors; a huge mountain to climb for SD Farms.
Time was swiftly running out for SD Farms, playing out of their skins, they spent the fifth chukker reacting to the Cambiaso cat and mouse game; the father/son duo using their expert stop and turn tactics to shut down SD Farms’ plays time and time again, and the onslaught continued going into the sixth and final chukker. SD Farms, never keen to back off for a second, needed early goals in this final period, to overcome the 11-5 deficit, and with three minutes to go, there was still a chance, but this chance quickly faded, despite a fantastic goal from Captain Sayyu Dantata, who secured a final goal for SD Farms, proving his team had more than earned their spot in this exciting Final, but it was too little too late.
From the word go, this Final was a lesson in how to ‘red-wash’ a polo match from the under-handicapped Scone side and we are sure, this will be the team to watch in the future – but for now all eyes were on this mighty victory, as Scone left the field the conquerors with an 11-6 win.
Dolfina Antonella played by Poroto Cambiaso , was named The American Polo Horse Associasion Best Playing Pony as well as Best Playing Pony of the entire Founders Cup tournament. The Argentina Association of Polo Best Playing Pony award went to Pintita, also played by Poroto Cambiaso. The World Polo League Best Playing pony went to Dolfina Resta, played by Juan Martin Zubia. All 3 ponies are owned by J5/ LaDolfina Breeding.
Richard Mille vs Casablanca – The Wellington Open Final
In the days earlier game, the might of the young versus the knowledge of the experienced, Casablanca took on Richard Mille, in The Wellington Open, a subsidiary of the Founders Cup.
Casablanca, having not had the best start to the tournament, came back with a vengeance against Alegría to ensure they found themselves in the Final, with Richard Mille and the might of 10 goaler Pablo Mac Donough leading the charge, ready to take on their adversary.
Play began with Casablanca holding a 2 goal handicap advantage, one they were not only keen to hold onto, but fully take advantage of. 10 goal powerhouse Hilario Ulloa was first on the play, passing it to his back Rodrigo Andrade, who perfectly placed to forward the ball to a waiting Juancito Bollini, and so the first goal of this exciting Wellington Cup match was scored in Casablanca’s favor, with just 20 seconds on the clock. This was the sign of things to come in the first half, with Casablanca keen not to let the two 7 goalers, Barto and Camilo Castagnola, loose on the ball. But, with a, “Wham, bam, thank you ma’am” from Pablo Mac Donough, Richard Mille were back in the game, 4-2, but with a third goal for Bollini, courtesy of a converted penalty 3, Casablanca held 5-2 in the lead with all to play for at the end of the first period.
The second chukker continued in Casablanca’s favor, despite a perfectly placed pass from the Castagnola brothers right into Mac Donough’s pocket for a third goal. Hilario Ulloa, however, proving his 10 goal worth, passing to and fro to teammate Rodrigo Andrade, ultimately put the boys in black 6-3 ahead.
Before half-time, Richard Mille had a point to prove and, much to Casablanca’s consternation, Richard Mille took advantage of a penalty situation to bring themselves, once again, back into contention, with a perfect penalty conversion from their Captain, to bring the scores to 7-5. But, with plenty of time remaining in this exciting match, it was all to play for, with a goal from Ulloa putting the teams at 8-5 going into the break.
Mac Donough fired through a sixth and very quickly seventh goal at the beginning of the second half, bringing Richard Mille to within just a goal of their rivals, followed by the Captain, who put Richard Mille well and truly back in the game, evening the scoreboard eight goals apiece, rattling the young Casablanca players, with just two minutes to go in the fourth.
To and fro the play flew up and down the field in the second half, the teams scored tit for tat, with the players climbing the scoreboard on an even keel, but, following a mistake from Casablanca, Richard Mille jumped ahead for the first time in the match, 11-10, the 12-10. With one chukker to go, could Casablanca pull it back?
Despite bringing the score to 13-13, with the power and pressure on and only a minute to go, Casablanca just couldn’t overcome the now empowered Richard Mille. ‘The Cobra’ was the one that put the proverbial nail in Casablanca’s coffin, with a beautiful neck shot in front of goal to find the posts and with it a 14-13 win for Richard Mille in The Wellington Cup Final, and the Most Valuable Player honors in the process. The Best Playing Pony was awarded to Maruca, owned by injured 10 goaler Juan Martín Nero and played by Hilario Ulloa.
Seminole Casino Coconut Creek is the hospitality sponsor for the World Polo League. Open 24/7, 365 days a year, Seminole Casino Coconut Creek presents a fully integrated, energized, stylish and upscale local’s casino experience, world-class dining, including its award-winning steakhouse, NYY Steak and live entertainment.
Tickets, ranging from $15 to $250, for the Sunday featured WPL games at 4 p.m. at Grand Champions Polo Club are on sale now at www.worldpolo.org.
Ticket price breakdown for the new CoCo Cabana Stadium is:
VIP $250, Upper Level (rain or shine, no refunds), includes VIP parking access, exclusive luxury-style bar and lounge seating, gourmet light dinner buffet, exclusive chef station, VIP Open bar (excluding champagne and bottle service) and VIP swag bags.
VIP $100, Lower Level (rain or shine, no refunds), includes VIP parking access, exclusive luxury-style bar and lounge seating, gourmet light bites and Worth Avenue retailer experience.
Valet Parking $15, select quality valet parking and general admission is free for fans who park across the field from the stadium.
Co-founded by Grand Champions owner and president Melissa 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, with 11 tournament-quality fields to play on, featured the Feb. 6-16 All-Star Challenge won by Valiente; Feb. 19-March 1 Founders Cup, March 4-22 Palm Beach Open and March 28-April 18 Triple Crown of Polo.
The WPL schedule also features the unique April 6-12 U.S. National Mixed Doubles Championship, created by Jornayvaz. It pairs men and women players. There is also the April 9-12 WPL Beach Polo World Cup in Miami Beach.
The World Polo League attracts a large international field of players from all corners of the world including Australia, Chile, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Germany, Uruguay, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, South Africa, Nigeria and England.
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.
For more information and to watch the games go to www.worldpolo.org for a complete library of WPL first-season games.