With the fall season beginning to wind down at Grand Champions Polo Club, the best is yet to come.
By Sharon Robb
The club’s second highly-anticipated high goal tournament, the historic USPA National 20 Goal, will be held Monday (semifinals) and Wednesday (final).
The Tackeria Invitational is the fourth medium goal tournament of the eight-tournament fall season (three high goal and five medium goal). The final is Sunday at 10 a.m. with NetJets (Larry Austin, 0, Juan Sanchez Elia, 5, Leo Mandelbaum, 2, Tommy Biddle, 5) taking on Travieso (Teo Calle, 1, Tito Gaudenzi, 2, Tony Calle, 3, Sugar Erskine, 6) at a field to be announced. The 12-goal teams will have a warm-up game on Friday at 11 a.m. at Santa Rita.
In last year’s USPA National 20 Goal Seminole Casino Coconut Creek (Melissa Ganzi, 0, Jason Crowder, 6, Nic Roldan, 8, Juan Bollini, 4) stunned defending champion Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, 3, Kris Kampsen, 6, Jeff Hall, 6, Tommy Biddle, 5) in a wild 12-11 overtime finish with Bollini scoring the winning goal. Roldan was named MVP after winning a record seventh National 20 Goal title.
In the 2021 Tackeria Invitational, La Indiana (Luis Escobar, Jeff Hall, Matthew Gonzalez, Dulio DIaz) rallied in the second half to defeat the Roxbury Raiders (Josh Silverman, Nick Manifold, Brandon Phillips, Tommy Biddle), 11-9, to win the club’s oldest tournament. Hall was MVP.
The Tackeria Invitational has a special place in club history as the inaugural tournament when the club first opened in 2007.
The best news for polo players, trainers, fans and horses will have an extra hour to sleep in before heading out for the games. Daylight Saving Time ends 2 a.m. on Sunday when the clock will “fall back” and now the morning commute will have more daylight.
So far fall season action has been thrilling and fun. In the rain-delayed season-opener on Monday, Barbarossa Leather (Leo Mandelbaum, 2, Jason Crowder, 5, Juan Bollini, 3, Tommy Biddle, 5) rallied for a 4-3 victory over Casablanca (Nick Manifold, 3, Grant Ganzi, 3, Nic Roldan, 8, Juan Sanchez Elia, 5). Mandelbaum was MVP and Rose Quartz, played by Ganzi, was BPP.
NetJets (Jason Crowder, 5, Leo Mandelbaum, 2, Larry Austin, 0, Nic Roldan, 8) rallied to win the Fall Classic with an 8-6 win over Sebucan (Nick Manifold, 2, Grant Ganzi, 3, Juan Sanchez Elia, 5, Tommy Biddle, 5). Austin was MVP and Little Nell, played by Ganzi was BPP.
Sebucan (Jason Crowder, 5, Pablo Pulido, 2, Sugar Erskine, 6, Leo Mandelbaum, 2) won the Fall Plates in the final 40 seconds with a 6-5 victory over NetJets (Larry Austin, 0, Juan Sanchez Elia, 5, Nic Roldan, 8, Marc Ganzi, 1). Mandelbaum earned his second MVP honor.
One of the nation’s busiest and innovative polo clubs celebrating its 16th anniversary, is hosting both medium goal and high goal leagues. Among the highlights of the season are this week’s USPA National 20-Goal Championship and Nov. 12 doubleheader featuring the Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial and International Cup. This year the GCPC-USA team will put its 10-year winning streak on the line against Switzerland.
Last year GCPC-USA ( Grant Ganzi, Jason Crowder, Nic Roldan, Tommy Biddle) defeated Argentina, 10-5, for its tenth win in a row since the tournament’s inception in 2012. Grant Ganzi, making his sixth appearance and at 23 the youngest member of the GCPC-USA lineup, was Most Valuable Player.
In addition to this weekend’s Tackeria Invitational the medium goal season winds up on Nov. 14-20 Banyan Final.
The well-organized fall tournaments attract players from all over the United States and world including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, England, France, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria and South Africa.
The Grand Champions Fall Invitational League is geared toward improving a player’s polo skills at every level. Roster lineups change from tournament to tournament with evenly-matched teams featuring pro and amateur players. It’s also a great opportunity for players and sponsors to prepare for the winter season highlighted by the 26-goal World Polo League, now entering its fifth season at Grand Champions.
The fall league features: stick-and-ball sessions during the week; two medium tournament games every weekend; ambulance and USPA umpires for all tournament games; world-class polo fields; club-sponsored social events every weekend for all players; and top-of-the-line trophies for all teams every weekend.
Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique private 100-acre polo facility in Wellington with more than 150 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.
Wellington-based ChukkerTV is live streaming the entire fall season. ChukkerTV’s state-of-the art technology features team challenges and instant replay which made their debut at Grand Champions in January, 2014.
Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal in addition to special events at its well-manicured fields during the fall, winter and spring seasons.
Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm cater 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 at the turnkey facility.
The Polo School, a 501c3 organization and stand-alone USPA club now located at the former Pony Express compound, 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. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and October through November. For more information on the Fall Leagues or Polo School contact Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099 or Cale Newman at 561-876-2930