WELLINGTON, Fla., November 4, 2021—The John T. Oxley Memorial Tournament begins Friday at Santa Rita Polo Farm.
By Sharon Robb
The single-elimination, four-team tournament opens with two semifinal games at 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Buenos Aires and Aspen Fields.
In the morning game, Seminole Casino Coconut Creek plays Newport at 10 a.m. In the afternoon game, Audi takes on WPL at 4:30 p.m.
The winners advance Sunday into the championship game. The losers will compete in a subsidiary final.
Team rosters are:
Audi (20): Marc Ganzi, Sugar Erskine, Nic Roldan, Brandon Phillips.
Newport (18): Gene Goldstein, Grant Ganzi, Kris Kampsen, Santi Toccalino.
Seminole Casino Coconut Creek (16): Melissa Ganzi, Jason Crowder, Jeff Hall, Juan Bollini.
WPL (17): Santos Bollini, Pablo Spinacci, Juancito Bollini, Tommy Biddle.
Players and fans will get an extra hour of sleep Saturday night when Daylight Saving Time goes into effect. Clocks are turned back one hour Saturday night.
Hall of Famer John T. Oxley was a pioneer in polo. The founder of the now-defunct Royal Palm Polo Sports Club in Boca Raton played polo well into his 80s. He started playing at age 46 and won the U.S. Open twice, Sunshine League, Rolex Gold Cup, Monty Waterbury and Silver Cup.
At age 83, Oxley became the oldest player ever to win a major polo event when his team won the International Gold Cup. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994. Oxley died of a heart attack at his summer home in Tulsa, Okla. in 1996. He was 87.
Oxley saw his first polo match as a youth in Tulsa while courting Mary, the woman who became his wife. The two often rode horseback together and were married in 1935. Mrs. Oxley, known locally as the “first lady of polo,” died in 1987 of a stroke.
“Polo requires 100 percent concentration and keeps you fit physically and mentally,” Oxley said in a 1992 interview. “There’s no sport that requires the timing this sport requires. It’s an anticipation type of game. You don’t wait till the play’s made, then try to make it.”
Past winners of the John T. Oxley Memorial tournament include Palm Beach Polo/Palm Beach Equine (Henry Porter, Santino Magrino, Gringo Colombres, Magoo Laprida) and Postage Stamp Farm (Annabelle Gundlach, Tommy Collingwood, Brandon Phillips, Jeff Blake).
The John T. Oxley Memorial Tournament is the fourth of five medium goal tournaments. Seminole Casino Coconut Creek won the season-opening Fall Classic; La Indiana won the Tackeria Invitational; and Zahedi Chogan won the Fall Plates last weekend.
Three high goal tournaments are also scheduled for the fall including the Nov. 9-14 USPA North American Cup and Nov. 16-21 USPA National 20 Goal.
The highlight of the fall season is the Nov. 27 doubleheader with the Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo and 10th annual International Cup. Sponsorship packages are available.
During the fall season, roster lineups change from tournament to tournament with evenly-matched teams to help improve players skills and performance. The games also give players an opportunity to work young horses.
The fall season also gives American players who don’t have a chance to go to Argentina an opportunity to improve their polo and keep them playing year-round.
Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique private 100-acre 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 polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation and stick-and-ball fields.
During fall, winter and spring seasons, Grand Champions Polo Club, the nation’s largest club with 13 well-manicured, world-class fields at GCPC and Santa Rita Polo Farm, hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal including the 26-goal World Polo League in addition to special events.
During the winter season, Grand Champions and Santa Rita will host 23 tournaments from Jan. 15 to April 15.
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 operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. For more information on the Fall Leagues or Polo School contact Director of Operations Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099.
The entire fall season will be live-streamed on Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting with cutting-edge technology including 4K TV currently making its’ debut. ChukkerTV also features team challenges and instant replay which made their debut at Grand Champions in January, 2014.
Grand Champions Polo Club caters 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, the only polo club in the U.S. to offer the unique program.