Executing a strong first half, Antelope (Grant Palmer, Santiago Trotz, Jimmy Wright*, Lucas Criado Jr., substitute for injured Segundo Saravi) hung on to win the Pacific Coast Circuit Constitution Cup Final over Sapa (Igor Seyranov, Jesse Bray*, Marcos Alberdi, Bayne Bossom*) by a final score of 9–8 at Eldorado Polo Club in Indio, California. Having recently won the Carlton & Keleen Beal Cup, Antelope’s victory marked the team’s second 12-goal title of the 2021 season.
Sapa’s Marcos Alberdi keeping the ball out of reach of Antelope’s Jimmy Wright.
Under a cloudless sky in the mid seventies, Sapa was able to take the early lead as Alberdi scored the first goal of the game. Antelope countered on a 60-yard penalty strike from Wright to end the first with a tied scoreboard. Scoring the only goals of the second chukker, Antelope’s Wright and Palmer each added to the tally to take the lead headed into the third chukker 3–1. Starting the third with the throw in about 30 yards out from Sapa’s goal, Criado scored his first of the day at the start of the chukker. Scoring back-to-back goals, Criado left Sapa scoreless for the second time and Antelope headed into halftime up 5–1.
Antelope’s Santiago Trotz taking the ball on the nearside, Sapa’s Jesse Bray close behind.
Antelope carried on in the fourth as they had during the first half, Trotz and Criado each contributing from the field to extend their lead 7–1. Scoring for the first time since the first chukker, Alberdi secured Sapa’s second goal to end the fourth. The fifth chukker featured a much different Sapa as Alberdi scored his third to narrow the deficit to four. Retaliating, Criado made an inspiring shot from 85 yards for Antelope. Launching their strongest chukker yet, Sapa’s Bossom and Alberdi both scored to bring their team within three. Entering the sixth chukker Antelope held onto the lead 8–5.
Sapa came out in the sixth and capitalized on forced Antelope miscues and misses to score twice more off the mallet of Alberdi. Seizing an opportunity, Wright converted a Penalty 4. Still down by two and with time running out, Alberdi scored his seventh goal of the afternoon, but with less than 10 seconds left the game was over. Antelope won the title by a final score 9–8. Kelsea Mannix, daugher-in-law of Rancho Polo team owner Fred Mannix, presented the Richard Roenisch bronzes to the winners along with the perpetual trophy.
Most Valuable Player Lucas Criado Jr., pictured with Kelsea Mannix.
Lucas Criado Jr. earned the title of Most Valuable Player with his ability to play inside the game, set up and complete plays. “Lucas [Criado Jr.] is an awesome teammate and a great young player,” Wright commented.
Lola, a 12-year-old OTTB played by Marcos Alberdi in the first and sixth chukkers, was selected as the Best Playing Pony. “Lola has everything you need in a polo pony! – she has a huge heart, stops quickly and turns on a dime,” Alberdi said. “Whenever you need her she’s always there and her acceleration and speed is different from many other horses.”
B LEAGUE CLAIMS DECISIVE WIN IN 8-GOAL PACIFIC COAST CIRCUIT CONSTITUTION CUP
Pacific Coast Circuit Constitution Cup B-Flight Champions: B League – Quinn Kyle, Virgil Kyle, Pelon Escapite, Alejandro Gonzalez. Presented by Frederick Mannix and pictured with Ella Kyle.
Coming out of semifinal victories, B League (Virgil Kyle, Pelon Escapite, Quinn Kyle, Alejandro Gonzalez sub. for injured Joe Henderson) and Evergreen (Tom Sprung, Ruben Coscia, Carlos Galindo Jr.* , Charles Caldwell) prepared for a competitive final. Completely silencing Evergreen in the first half, B League secured a strong lead that their opponents could not match, winning the trophy 12-6.
From the beginning, B League applied strong and continued offensive pressure on Evergreen. The early force allowed B League three penalty opportunities, Escapite converting two 60-yard shots and Quinn Kyle scoring a 40-yard open goal. Leading 3-0 after the first, B League continued to force the play which resulted in a pair of goals for Escapite. Quinn Kyle added another Penalty 3 conversion to increase B League’s lead to six moving into the third with Evergreen still unable to find the scoreboard. Jumping on the board, Gonzalez scored a field goal which Quinn Kyle followed up with a Penalty 2, giving B League a commanding 8-0 lead at halftime.
Evergreen’s Charlie Caldwell reaching for the hook on B League’s Alejandro Gonzalez.
Reevaluating their game plan during the break, Evergreen began to find their footing in the fourth, Caldwell and Coscia both scoring a goal. Escapite ended the chukker with a safety of his own for B League. Evergreen continued to outscore B League in the fifth. Coscia picked up consecutive goals and B League answered back with yet another goal from Escapite. Both teams scored twice in the sixth which allowed B League to maintain their lead and claim the 12–6 victory. Frederick Mannix, presented the awards and the winners received Richard Roenisch bronzes.
Best Playing Pony: Kahuna, played and owned by Carlitos Galindo. Presented by Frederick Mannix and pictured with Meaghan Galindo. ©Kerri Kerley
14-year-old Quinn Kyle was named Most Valuable Player, scoring on all his penalty attempts and showing maturity beyond his years to open up play on the front end.
Carlos Galindo Jr.’s 14-year-old homebred, Kahuna, played in the fifth chukker, received Best Playing Pony honors.
LA SALLE PROPERTIES PREVAIL IN PACIFIC COAST CIRCUIT CONSTITUTION CUP 4-GOAL FINAL
Pacific Coast Circuit Constitution Cup C-Flight Champions: La Salle Properties – Bob Gray, Luis Saracco, Santiago Topo Mendez, Micaela Saracco. Presented by Dre Salas.
The final of the 4-Goal Pacific Coast Circuit Constitution Cup at Eldorado Polo Club in Indio, California featured La Salle Properties (Bob Gray, Luis Saracco, Santiago Mendez, Micaela Saracco) against Persyst/K2 (Nicolas Nierenberg, Kim Kelly, Tim Rudy, Dayelle Fargey) in a game that went in favor of La Salle Properties with a six-goal performance from Luis Saracco in the 8-3 victory.
From the opening throw-in, good defensive play by both teams stifled opportunities around goal, but Luis Saracco was able to put La Salle Properties on the scoreboard with the only goal of the first chukker. Luis Saracco put La Salle up by a pair in the early stages of the second chukker, converting a Penalty 4 opportunity. Persyst/K2 came back and sustained forward pressure, resulting in Fargey converting a Penalty 2, cutting the lead in half. La Salle Properties mounted sustained pressure of their own, receiving a Penalty 3 that was converted by Luis Saracco. Mendez, playing a strong and forceful game on the inside, scored from the field to give La Salle Properties the 4-1 lead at halftime.
La Salle Properties Micaela Saracco with a shot down field.
Early in the third chukker, Persyst/K2 came within a pair of goals on an exceptional team play that saw a rideoff from Kelly, followed by a perfectly placed tailshot from Fargey to set up an unopposed run to goal for Rudy. La Salle Properties responded with three unanswered field goals, two from Luis Saracco including a spectacular neckshot from 55 yards to the right of goal to hold a five-goal lead 7-2. In the fourth and final chukker, Luis Saracco’s second Penalty 4 conversion secured the victory for La Salle Properties. Scoring the final goal of the game for Persyst/K2, Fargey conceded the win with a final score of 8-3. The winners were presented with beautiful Richard Roenisch bronzes.
Most Valuable Player Luis Saracco scored six goals in the victory. Presented by Dre Salas.
Responsible for six goals on the day, Saracco was named Most Valuable Player.
Lady, a mare owned and played by Luis Saracco in the third chukker, was chosen as the Best Playing Pony.
Best Playing Pony: Lady, played and owned by Luis Saracco, pictured with Ramon Dameno, Dario Gutierrez and Hugo Alesina.
*Bayne Bossom is an Active Team USPA Member. Jesse Bray is a Graduating Team USPA Member and Jimmy Wright and Carlos Galindo Jr. are Team USPA Alumni. Team USPA is a USPA program 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.
All photos courtesy of ©Kerri Kerley