On a brisk day, Dundas broke open a close game to win the Aspen Valley 8-Goal Cup season-opener Saturday at Santa Rita Polo Farm.
By Sharon Robb
Dundas (Sarah Siegel-Magness, 0, Hope Arellano, 2, Juan Vidal Dominguez, 2, Roberto Zedda, 4), tied 4-4 at the half, defeated Dundas II (Ramiro Retes, 0, Juanse Olivera, 3, Geronimo Obregon, 5, Cable Magness, 0), 9-6, to open the 2023 winter season at Grand Champions Polo Club.
The lead changed hands ten times with the scored tied 4-4 at the half. Despite the tie, Dundas dominated the first half with 10-5 shots on goal and led in throw-ins, 5-4. Dundas II had six knock-ins. Dundas ended up outshooting Dundas II, 17-12, in the game. Dundas II led in knock-ins, 8-6, and fouls, 5-2.
Dundas II shut out Dundas, 2-0, in the second chukker and Dundas shut out Dundas II, 2-0, in the fifth chukker.
Dundas took control in the fifth chukker. With the score tied 5-5 going into the fifth, Zedda converted back-to-back penalties, 40- and 60-yarders, within a minute to give Dundas a 7-5 lead. Dundas never trailed after that building an 8-5 advantage after Arellano’s goal with 5:27 left in the final chukker.
Cable Magness scored his team’s first goal since the fourth chukker with a 30-yard penalty conversion to cut the lead to two, 8-6, with three minutes left but Arellano scored another goal with 1:40 left to put the game away.
Zedda and Arellano shared top scoring honors with a team high four goals each. Arellano’s goals were all from the field and Zedda converted two clutch penalty shots in the fifth chukker and two others from the field. Sarah Siegel Magness added one goal.
Cable Magness led Dundas II with three goals. Obregon added two goals and Retes had one.
The seven-team, two-week tournament resumes Tuesday with new sponsors Wind Swept (Harrison Reicher, 0, Rufino Merlos, 1, Santos Merlos, 4, Segundo Merlos, 3) against Dracarys (Chetan Krishna, -1, Joseph Schwartz, 1, Leon Schwencke, 3, Brandon Phillips, 4) at 10 a.m. at Santa Rita.
In last year’s Aspen Valley Cup final, Orea Polo (Petra Sobotova, Finn Secunda, Justin Daniels, Santi Torres) won the battle of the unbeatens with a 9-8 overtime win over Dundas (Juan Vidal Dominguez, Hope Arellano, Cable Magness, Roberto Zedda). Torres scored the game-winner with 6:55 left in the eighth chukker at a standstill from 90 yards out. Torres scored a game-high eight goals and stopped a potential goal in OT to earn MVP honors.
During the winter polo season, Grand Champions, the nation’s largest and most innovative USPA-sanctioned polo club nestled in the heart of the world’s winter equestrian capital, is hosting tournaments: 6, 8, 12, 20, and 26-goal leagues, WCT Finals, women’s weekly league play and 26-goal World Polo League tournaments in addition to special events at both Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm.
Grand Champions tournaments attract a large international field of players from all corners of the world including Argentina, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, England, Germany, Uruguay, Azerbaijan, South Africa, Venezuela, Chile and England.
Season highlights for 2023 are the Sterling Cup, $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament, Sieber Memorial, John T. Oxley Memorial and $100,000 World Cup Tournament, a unique 0-40-goal, winner-take-all single-elimination tournament and special events including WPL Polo Pride and Sunset Chukkers and Cocktails.
The biggest highlight of the season is the fifth season of the World Polo League, the nation’s only 26-goal league featuring some of the world’s top players, including 10-goaler Pablo MacDonough, and team sponsors at Grand Champions. The WPL has been filling the void created when the U.S. Polo Association, the sport’s governing body, announced it was lowering high goal polo to 18-22 goals and would not have 26-goal polo.
Grand Champions, the nation’s largest polo club celebrating its 16th anniversary, and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique private 102-acre polo facility in Wellington with 212 stalls in nine self-contained barns, two tracks, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and four polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation and short work arena. The club has 13 well-manicured fields including nine world-class fields at GCPC and Santa Rita Polo Farm.
The winter season will be live-streamed locally and worldwide on Wellington-based ChukkerTV (CTV).
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 Polo School, now located at the former Pony Express facility, operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. The stand-alone USPA-sanctioned polo club, is thriving. It 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 has nurtured several junior, men and women polo players now playing in the pro and amateur ranks since its inception.
For more information on leagues or Polo School contact Directors of Operations Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099 or Cale Newman at 561-876-2930.