The much-anticipated league play gets under way Thursday at Santa Rita Polo Farm with the Aspen Valley 8-Goal Cup.
By Sharon Robb
Four teams are entered in the two-week tournament.
Two games are scheduled for Thursday. At 11 a.m. at Jan Pamela Field, Orea Polo plays Rafool Polo and at 2 p.m. at Santa Rita Polo Farm, Dundas meets Santa Rita.
Two more rounds are set for Sunday and Thursday, Jan. 27 with the championship final on Sunday, Jan. 30 at 11 a.m.
Team rosters are:
Dundas (8) Cable Magness, 0, Hope Arellano, 2, Juan Vidal Dominguez, 2, Roberto Zedda, 4.
Orea Polo (8) Petra Sobotova, -1, Justin Daniels, 2, Santi Torres, 7, Finn Secunda, 0.
Rafool Polo (7) Ray Rafool, -1, Gussie Busch 2, Nico Harriott, 2, Henry Porter, 4.
Santa Rita (8) Tommy Biddle, 5, Martin Munoz, 2, Antonio Aguerre, .5, TBA.
Arellano, 18, is coming off her first Argentine season. She was third in her first Women’s Argentine Open with La Irenita Polo and competed in the first Women’s Copa de las Naciones. She was raised to a handicap of 9 in the Argentina women’s rankings and is the youngest woman to ever win the Women’s U.S. Open in 2017 at the Houston Polo Club at 14.
Biddle, one of the biggest hitting players in the sport, will be inducted into the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame 2022 Class and Arellano’s father, Julio, will be inducted in the 2021 Class next month. The 2021 inductions were rescheduled because of the pandemic.
Biddle is also tuning up for the Jan. 28-30 Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz where he will compete for Team World Polo League.
In addition to 8-goal play, the Metropolitan 6-Goal and Limited Edition 12-Goal Series will get under way on Jan. 25.
In last year’s Aspen Valley 8-Goal Cup final, Dundas (Sarah Siegel-Magness, Fran Spinacci, Mariano Fassetta, Roberto Zedda) defeated Bushwood (Nick McClelland, Nick Manifold, Kris Kampsen, Michael Armour), 12-9. Zedda was Most Valuable Player.
Grand Champions, the nation’s largest polo club coming off its most successful fall season, hopes to build off that success when it hosts 23 tournaments from January through April.
The 26-goal World Polo League, co-founded by Marc and Melissa Ganzi, returns for a fourth season. The All-Star Challenge opens the high goal season Feb. 4-20 followed by the Tommy Hitchcock Legacy Memorial, Feb. 16-27; Founders Cup, Feb. 23-March 13; Palm Beach Open, March 9-27; Triple Crown of Polo, March 23-April 16 and Beach Polo World Cup Miami Beach, April 22-24.
The high goal club tournaments feature the Sterling Cup, $100,000 World Cup and Santa Rita Abierto.
The 16-goal league play includes the Grand Champions Cup, Power Horse Invitational and Pedro Morrison Memorial.
The 12-goal league will be the Limited Edition 12-Goal Series, Sieber Memorial Trophy, $50,000 National 12-Goal and Top Pony 12-Goal.
In addition to the Aspen Valley Cup, the 8-goal tournament lineup is the Top Pony 8-Goal and Limited Edition 8-Goal.
The 6-goal schedule features the Metropolitan Cup, Halo Polo Trophy and Madelon Bourdieu Memorial.
There is also the Polo School Grand Champions Women’s League, co-founded by Melissa Ganzi and Alina Carta, for all ages and playing ability held Wednesdays at 10 a.m. at Santa Rita Polo Farm.
Grand Champions has also added Sunset Chukkers and Cocktails, presented by Seminole Casino Coconut Creek held Tuesday late afternoon on Field One for players and guests.
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 several 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.
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.
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.