The 2023 fall season winds up Sunday with the USPA National 20-Goal Tournament at Grand Champions Polo Club.
By Sharon Robb
It is the second 20-goal tournament hosted by the club, coming on the heels of the USPA North American Cup won by first-year team Maltese Falcons.
Maltese Falcons will try to make it two in a row when they face Audi in the final at 11 a.m.
The team rosters are:
Maltese Falcons (20): Melissa Ganzi, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 7, Nic Roldan, 8, Jason Crowder, 5.
Audi (17): Marc Ganzi, 1, Sugar Erskine 6, Kris Kampsen, 6, Brandon Phillips, 4.
Admission is free and open to the public.
The National 20 Goal was first played at the now-defunct Royal Palm Polo Club in Boca Raton in 2007. Former owner John T. Oxley started playing at the age of 46 and won the International Gold Cup at 83, the oldest player to do so.
The first tournament was won by Houston-based team BTA (Chrys Beal, Mariano Gonzalez, Francisco Lanusse, Santiago Trotz) in a narrow victory over Audi 13-12.
The tournament then went on a hiatus until 2011. Resurrected by Grand Champions Polo Club, the tournament has been played ever since. Audi has dominated the competition with four total wins, including back-to-back victories in 2012 and 2013 with an identical team (Marc Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida, Nic Roldan, Carlos Gracida). Roldan holds the record for most tournament wins with seven titles.
In last year’s tournament, Santa Rita held off Travieso in the final chukker to win. Santa Rita (Gene Goldstein, 1, Juancito Bollini, 4, Nic Roldan, 8, Juan Bollini, 3) defeated Travieso (Tony Calle, 3/Santos Bollini, 2, Sugar Erskine, 6, Pedro Gutierrez, 5, Tommy Biddle, 5), 9-8. Juan Bollini, playing well above his 3-goal handicap, then at age 60, was named Most Valuable Player.
One of the nation’s busiest and innovative polo clubs celebrating its 17th anniversary, hosted both medium goal and high goal tournaments during the successful fall season.
Grand Champions Polo Club 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 exercise tracks, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and four polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation, short work arena and stick-and-ball fields.
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 during the fall, winter and spring seasons.
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 11 fields during the fall season. Admission is free and open to the public.
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. 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.