WPL Founders Cup Begins Thursday With Doubleheader

After successful All-Star Challenge and Tommy Hitchcock Legacy Memorial Tournaments, the World Polo League resumes Thursday with the Founders Cup.

The two-week, nine-team tournament opens at 10 a.m. with Seminole Casino Coconut Creek playing Audi. The second game at 1 p.m. features Brookshire Polo against Pampa Norte Biotricity.

After five days of bracket play (Thursday-March 8), the semifinals are March 10 at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. with the championship final on March 13 at 4 p.m.

Pampa Norte Biotricity with patron Waqaas Al-Siddiq, 8-goaler Inaki Laprida and 7-goalers Pipe Vercellino and Pedro Falabella will make its 2022 WPL season-debut.

The eight remaining teams and sponsors are:

Alegria (+26)
Juancito Bollini (+4)
Clemente Zavaleta (+7)
Tincho Merlos (+8)
Freddie Mannix (+7)

Audi (+26)
Marc Ganzi (+2)
Jeta Castagnola (+9)
Barto Castagnola (+9)
Paco de Narvaez (+6)

Brookshire Polo Team (+23)
Scott Wood (0)
Rufino Bensadon (+8)
Nic Roldan (+8)
Pancho Bensadon (+7)

Catamount (+26)
Scott Devon (+1)
Polito Pieres (+10)
Toro Ruiz (+7)
Nacho Novillo Astrada (+8)

NetJets (+24)
Nacho Figueras (+6)
Tomacho Pieres (+6)
Pablo Spinacci (+6)
Sugar Erskine (+6)

Pampa Norte Biotricity (+22)
Waqaas Al-Siddiq (0)
Inaki Laprida (+8)
Pipe Vercellino (+7)
Pedro Falabella (+7)

Richard Mille (+25)
Santos Bollini (+2)
Grant Ganzi (+3)
Pablo MacDonough (+10)
Juan Martin Nero (+10)

Seminole Casino Coconut Creek (+26)
Melissa Ganzi (0)
Juan Martin Zubia (+8)
Gonzalito Pieres (+10)
Alejandro Novillo Astrada (+8)

White Birch (+22)
Chris Brant (0)
Lerin Zubiaurre (+7)
Santi Toccalino (+8)
Mariano Aguerre (+7)

In the season-opening 26-goal tournament, powerhouse Audi (Marc Ganzi, 2, Jeta Castagnola, 9, Barto Castagnola, 9, Paco de Narvaez, 6) defeated White Birch (Chris Brant, 0, Lerin Zubiaurre, 7, Mariano Aguerre, 7, Santi Toccalino, 8), 17-12. Jeta Castagnola was MVP.

Seminole Coconut Creek Casino (Melissa Ganzi, 0, Gonzalito Pieres, 10, Juan Martin Zubia, 8, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 8) defeated Brookshire Polo (Scott Wood, 0, Rufino Bensadon, 8, Nic Roldan, 8, Pancho Bensadon, 7), 10-9, to capture the Tommy Hitchcock Legacy Memorial. Pieres was MVP.

Founders Cup defending champion is Richard Mille (Marc Ganzi, Jeta Castagnola, Pablo MacDonough, Paco de Narvaez) which defeated Hawaii Polo Life (Santi Torres, Gringo Colombres, Jejo Taranco, Chris Dawson), 12-6. MacDonough was MVP. 

During the 2021 WPL season, Richard Mille qualified for a record four championship finals, winning three of them. In the Palm Beach Open, Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Barto Castagnola, Juan Martin Nero) defeated Richard Mille (Marc Ganzi, Jeta Castagnola, Pablo MacDonough, Paco de Narvaez), 12-9. Barto Castagnola was MVP.

The World Polo League, now in its fourth year, is the only 26-goal polo played outside of Argentina. It has attracted a large international field from around the world.

The world-class league will run through April 16. The World Polo League is preserving the highest level of polo and its rich tradition in the U.S. 

The remaining WPL tournaments are the Palm Beach Open; Triple Crown of Polo and Beach Polo World Cup Miami Beach. 

The WPL‘s new Coco Cabana features polo fare, open bar, rose bar, cigar experience with Montecristo, Worth Avenue retail Pop-Up, Seminole Casino Coconut Creek giveaways and unique photo opportunities. Guests have the opportunity to purchase individual tickets at $250 per person inside the air-conditioned tent or a patio lounge for four guests at $1,000 which includes a bottle of Veuve Clicquot.

The 12-goal league is currently underway with the Sieber Memorial Trophy; $50,000 National 12-Goal and  Top Pony 12-Goal.

The 16-goal league play includes the Grand Champions Cup, Power Horse Invitational and Pedro Morrison Memorial.

The high goal club tournaments feature the Sterling Cup, $100,000 World Cup and Santa Rita Abierto.

Grand Champions, the nation‘s largest polo club, celebrating its 15th anniversary, is coming off its most successful fall season. Club officials hope to build off that success when it hosts 23 tournaments from January through April.

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.

After January‘s successful Aspen Valley Cup, the 8-goal tournament schedule continues with the Top Pony 8-Goal and  Limited Edition 8-Goal.

The 6-goal schedule, after a successful Metropolitan Cup, continues with the 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 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, now located at the former Pony Express facility, 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 or General Manager Cale Newman at 561-876-2930.

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.

By Sharon Robb
Photos by Candace Ferreira

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