Polo returns to Grand Champions Polo Club for the fall season that gets under way Friday with the Fall Classic.
The nation‘s largest and most innovative polo club, is celebrating its 17th anniversary.
The season-opener will feature three teams: Maltese Falcons, Casablanca and Aspen Valley Polo Club. Opening day action is Friday at 10 a.m. at Santa Rita Polo Farm. The final is Sunday, also at 10 a.m. The games are free and open to the public.
The team rosters are:
Maltese Falcons (16): Melissa Ganzi, Jason Crowder, 5, Nic Roldan, 8, Juan Bollini, 3.
Casablanca (15): Marc Ganzi, 1, Grant Ganzi, 3, Tomacho Pieres, 6+, Martin Jauregui, 6.
Aspen Valley Polo Club (17/15): Santos Bollini, 2/Govinda Quish, Sugar Erskine, 6, Pablo Dorignac, 5, Patricio „Tucu“ Paz, 4.
The Maltese Falcons, the club‘s newest sponsor, is named after the 1941 film The Maltese Falcon, featuring Humphrey Bogart playing Sam Spade, Mary Astor and Peter Lorre, seeking a stolen statuette made of gold and jewels by the 16th century Knights of Malta as a gift to the King of Spain.
In last year‘s Fall Classic, NetJets (Jason Crowder, 5, Leo Mandelbaum, 2, Larry Austin, 0, Nic Roldan, 8) led from start to finish in the final round robin game to defeat Sebucan (Nick Manifold, 2, Grant Ganzi, 3, Juan Sanchez Elia, 5, Tommy Biddle, 5), 8-6. Austin was named MVP, his second MVP honor since returning to play in 2021 after a 10-year break.
Grand Champions will host both medium and high goal tournaments this season.
Among the season highlights are the Nov. 7-15 USPA North American Cup and Nov. 11-21 USPA National 20-Goal Championship and Nov. 25 doubleheader featuring the Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial and International Cup featuring GCPC USA putting its undefeated 11-game win streak on the line against Spain. Grand Champions has been the only club in the nation to stage two USPA-sanctioned 20-goal tournaments in the fall.
In last year‘s International Cup, GCPC USA won its 11th consecutive title with a 6-5 win over Switzerland. Tomas Ruiz Guinazu, 39, a member of the 2022 Swiss National Team, was named Most Valuable Player after dominating the game.
Since 2012, the U.S. has beaten England, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, Uruguay, Brazil, Azerbaijan, France, Argentina twice and Switzerland in the annual battle for the coveted cup.
The fall medium goal schedule features six tournaments. In addition to the Fall Classic the others are the Oct. 10-15 Tackeria Invitational, Oct. 17-22 Pedro Morrison Memorial, Oct. 24-29 Banyan Cup, Nov. 1-5 Fall Plates and inaugural Nov. 8-12 Casablanca Fall Cup.
The well-organized fall tournaments attract players from all over the world including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, San Salvador, England, France, India, Mexico, Azerbaijan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Uzbekistan, South Africa and United States.
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 sixth 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 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.
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.
Wellington-based ChukkerTV (CTV Sports) will live stream the entire fall season worldwide. Grand Champions is the only USPA club that is live streaming all its games. ChukkerTV‘s state-of-the art technology also features team challenges and instant replay which made their debut at Grand Champions in January, 2014.
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.
Grand Champions Polo Club is located at 13444 Southfields Road in Wellington. For more information about the upcoming season visit www.gcpolo.com.
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.