On a wind-chilled day, Scone, Valiente and Seminole Casino won their opening games of the World Polo League’s Founders Cup Friday at Valiente Polo Farm.

Scone (David Paradice 0, Poroto Cambiaso 4, Diego Cavanagh 9, Adolfo Cambiaso 10) made a successful season-debut with a 12-8 victory over J5/La Dolfina Breeding (Gonzalo Ferrari 4, Isidro Strada 7, Jero del Carril 7, Robertito Zedda 5). 

Valiente (Joaquin Avendano 2, Gringo Colombres 8, Sebastian Merlos 8, Jejo Taranco 8) knocked off Alegria (Henry Porter 3, Toro Ruiz 7, Nachi du Plessis 8, Freddie Mannix 7), 11-7. 

Seminole Casino (Melissa Ganzi 0, Nic Roldan 8, Lucas James 8, Alejandro Novillo Astrada 8) rallied for an 11-9 win over Richard Mille (Camilo Castagnola 7, Barto Castagnola 7, Pablo MacDonough 10). 

On Saturday, defending champion Casablanca (Grant Ganzi 3, Rodrigo Andrade 8, Hilario Ulloa 10, Juancito Bollini 4) will play SD Farms (Sayyu Dantata 2, Santi Torres 7, Guillermo Terrera 8, Juan Martin Zubia 8) at SD Farms at noon.

The runners-up from Friday and Saturday’s games will advance into the Molina Cup to be played next week. The winners will play the Molina Cup on Sunday, March 1, at 11 a.m. So far, J5/La Dolfina Breeding will play Alegria and Richard Mille will play the loser of Saturday’s game.

Scone 12, J5/La Dolfina Breeding 8

Paradice and his Scone teammates made an impressive season-debut scoring 12 straight goals to take a 12-3 lead going into the sixth chukker.

“We played better, they gave us more room,” Adolfo Cambiaso said. “For the first game that David played I think he did very well. To beat a team with the same handicap, we were winning easy. We were happy to end up winning the way we did. The idea is to get better and better.”

After getting off a plane Thursday night and not playing since October, Paradice was happy to be back on a horse and polo field.

“I haven’t been on a horse since last year,” Paradice said. “It’s either been too dry in Australia or too wet.”

Paradice enjoyed playing with the father-son combination Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso and Cavanagh. 

“It’s fantastic playing with these guys,” Paradice said. “It’s great even though I have been out of the game. I have a long way to go. I’m still learning.”

Cavanagh scored a game-high seven goals. Poroto Cambiaso added three goals and Adolfo Cambiaso had two.

“The team played very well, we connected a bit more than the last tournament,” Cavanagh said. “We made more team plays. I hope we can keep this rhythm.

“David played great, he is a great guy and he’s having fun with us,” Cavanagh said. “We have been playing with David for the last three years. We know him very well and he knows us very well. I think he played really well for arriving last night and not knowing the horses.”

Strada had a team-high four goals for J5/La Dolfina Breeding. Del Carril had three goals and Ferrari added one.

Valiente 11, Alegria 7

The evenly-matched teams played to a 3-3 tie after two chukkers. With goals from Ruiz, du Plessis and Porter, Canada-based Alegria pulled away for a 6-3 halftime lead.

Alegria pulled away for a 7-3 lead on another Porter goal with 5:40 left in the fourth chukker. The momentum swayed with the help of penalties enabling Valiente to score four consecutive goals to tie the game at 7-7 with 1:22 left in the fifth chukker. 

Alegria was unable to recover with Valiente scoring another four consecutive goals to pull away for the stunning win.

Colombres led Valiente with five goals. Merlos added three goals, Taranco had two and Avendano, filling in for Bob Jornayvaz, added one.

Porter led Alegria with three goals. Ruiz, who replaced Matias Magrini (strained back) and du Plessis each had one goal.

Seminole Casino 11, Richard Mille 9

With winds gusting up to 25 miles per hour and temperature plummeting, Seminole Casino jumped out to a 4-0 lead, with three goals on handicap. Richard Mille scored three unanswered goals to trail by  one, 4-3, at the end of the first chukker.

Camilo Castagnola’s 40-yard penalty conversion tied the game at 4-4 with 4:37 left and a minute later, his older brother Barto Castagnola scored on a nice run and neck shot off a broken play for a 5-4 lead. MacDonough added another goal to extend the lead, 6-4, after two chukkers. Penalties marred the third chukker with Richard Mille holding on to a 6-5 lead at the half.

Seminole Casino turned the game around in the second half with its smothering defense. Roldan connected with James who scored with a minute left in the fourth chukker to tie the game, 7-7.

In the fifth chukker, Seminole Casino took the lead, 8-7, for the first time since the first chukker when Astrada scored on a cut shot after a nice run at the 5:07 mark. Camilo Castagnola tied the game at 8-8 in the final minute of the fifth chukker, but it was the closest Richard Mille would get. Seminole Casino scored three unanswered goals on back-to-back Roldan penalty conversions and nice goal by Astrada off the throw-in.

Roldan scored a game-high four goals for Seminole Casino. James and Astrada each had two goals.

Camilo Castagnola led Richard Mille with three goals. Barto Castagnola and Pablo MacDonough each had two goals.

Ten teams are competing in the first of three WPL tournaments offering major prize money. The winner of the Founders Cup will earn $60,000 and winner of the Molina Cup subsidiary game will earn $40,000.

Last year’s Founders Cup winner was Grand Champions. In one of polo’s biggest upsets, Grand Champions knocked off Valiente, 12-11, in overtime to win the Founders Cup at Valiente. 

In front of an overflow crowd, Argentine 10-goaler Juan Martin Nero scored the winning goal in the first two minutes of overtime to upset previously unbeaten Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, 2, Agustin Nero, 6, Santi Torres, 6, Adolfo Cambiaso, 10). Nero was MVP.

Playing together for the first time in the  tournament, Grand Champions finished the eight-team 26-goal tournament undefeated at 4-0. Nero and teammates Rodrigo Andrade, 9,  Grant Ganzi, 3, and Juancito Bollini, 4, earned $60,000 in prize money.

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 successful 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, features the Feb. 6-16 All-Star Challenge which ended on Sunday, Feb. 19-March 1 Founders Cup which begins Thursday, 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.

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