Although not the best of season, weatherwise – Newport Polo kicked off the final match of the 32nd season without a hitch with the Insperity Newport Cup on October 7th, 2023! Despite the earlier poor conditions fans and athletes alike were ready to enjoy the final days of the second summer. Miraculously the storms parted and provided Aquidneck Island with enough sunshine and crisp temperature to play the game.
The building anticipation could have been cut with a knife. After being rescheduled from September 23rd, the age-old battle between youth and elders ensued and put on a show! Commentator Agnes Keating began the festivities by introducing the Star-Spangled Banner followed by the ceremonial coin toss. Representing Team Masters in red at number 1 was Peter Friedman, Felipe Rojas at #2, legend, Dan Keating at #3, and Georgia Markell holding it down at #4. The Hotshots in blue had Anna Dwyer at #1, the previous week’s MVP, Jair Zenteno at #2, Newport Polo Queen, Minnie Keating at #3, and Stweart Odell at #4.
Minnie Keating kicked off the jamboree with a brilliant effortless goal one minute into the match to establish the youth are not new. Feeling the heat, Dan Keating followed up by scoring one for the Masters tying the score at 1 a piece. Jair, after a masterful previous game showed that age is only a number and threw one between the wickets to give the Hotshots the lead as the bell rang to mark the end of the first chukker. After a brief timeout and a water break, Jair did not let the elders off easy as he scored his second goal on a brilliant shot to establish a convincing lead. Dan Keating feeling the pressure broke out of a midfield scuffle to put one in to make the match 3-2. Not one to sit back and spectate, Odell followed suit and scored a masterful goal to extend the lead for the Hotshots. Zenteno kept the hot streak alive and netted one final goal before halftime.
At halftime, fans flooded the Pro Shop to purchase the stylish new items 25% off and the patio bar to enjoy the specialty cocktail of the day, the Glen Farm Sangria, handcrafted by The Cocktail Guru. Various food trucks cranked out libations to famished fans. After fans returned to their seating areas after the traditional stomping of the divots, Agnes Keating announced the commencement of the 2nd half to the roar of the crowd.
The second half commenced with an early goal by Zenteno again only to be rebutted by Dan Keating. The back and forth continued as they both netted two a piece in the fourth chukker. The fifth chukker began but Zenteno could not be stopped. 3 goals later put the game into full control for the Hotshots at 10-4. Dan Keating scored once again but it was too little too late as Minnie and Odel put two more in as the final bell rang to mark the Hotshots as victors 12-5!
The battle was followed by the ever-popular victory lap, led by The Hotshots, as fans congratulated the victors along the boards that line the field with high-fives and shouts of encouragement.
The trophy presentation took place shortly after in the Modern Luxury Lounge, where players were presented the trophy and prizes from Providence Diamond. A traditional champagne toast was made to celebrate the end of another successful and exhilarating match between Newport’s elite polo talent. Fans, players, and staff alike shared stories of the unforgettable 2023 season at Newport Polo.
Photo: John Lincourt Photography
Live audiences can enjoy the Newport International Polo Series polo matches every Saturday as they have for 32 years to witness the timeless sport unfold on the manicured, emerald green at Glen Farm, home of the Polo Series, in a classic exhibition of horsemanship and valor, with host, the Newport Polo Club, where the home team – Newport/USA – meets challengers each season from around the world as well as teams representing major US cities and regional rivals in one of Newport’s unique traditions & renowned attractions.
The Polo Series is scheduled to continue every Saturday through September. The schedule of teams is subject to change without notice, as per RI State mandates and US travel bans which may impact travel and Adult Sports. Stay current with the 2023 team lineup & stats, latest news, events, and more by e-scription to the Gameday Briefing (sign up) and weekly eMagazine (sign up). Both subscriptions are private and spam-free.
The Polo Grounds’ favorable proximity to the shores of the island’s Sakonnet east passage provides reliably cool coastal effects, moderating afternoon temperatures and providing a dependable breeze for the late afternoon polo matches all summer. Minutes from the bustling Newport waterfront, the International Polo Grounds are located on the acreage of Glen Farm, 250 Linden Lane (off of Rte. 138) in Portsmouth, RI. This bucolic setting is the last 100 acres of a pre-colonial settlement from the 1600’s that became the Town of Portsmouth’s original gentlemen’s farm, an 800-acre manorial estate established during a Gilded Age movement of retreat from the high life into pastoral country acres, to become the future home of polo in the next century. Its classical 19th-century stone barns and its park-like grounds were rehabilitated by Polo Series founder, Dan Keating in the early 1990’s and continue to thrive as an equestrian & community recreational property, and home of the Polo Series.
The Newport International Polo Series is proud to name its 2023 sponsors including Brenton Hotel, BD, TD Bank, Turkish Airlines, Modern Luxury Boston, Herb Chambers Exotics, Vanderbilt International Properties, Hotel Viking, The Vanderbilt, The Chanler at Cliff Walk, Newport Life, Providence Diamond, Veuve Clicquot, ABSOLUT, Clarke Cooke House, CCE Golf Cars, BMW of Newport, Atria Senior Living, Northwestern Mutual, Charles Schwab, Insperity, AAA Northeast | Viking, A-1 Roofing, US Polo Assn, Stella Artois, Visit Jamaica, Goslings, ROCKSTAR Limo, and Classical 95.9 WCRI; and promotional partners including Newport Helicopter Tours, The Cocktail Guru, Newport Jaguar Tours, Picnic Charters, Island Adventures, On Watch Sailing, International Tennis Hall of Fame, Newport Vineyards, Newport Mansions, Island Surf and Sport, Newport Picnic Co. and Audrain Automobile Museum.
“Our sponsors have been with us since the beginning. Without their support, the Series would not be as extensive as it is,” explains Dan Keating, Polo Series founder.
This is the 32nd season of the Newport International Polo Series, which has hosted teams from 36 nations including, Ukraine, Colombia, Ireland, Germany, Spain, England, Argentina, France, Egypt, India, Australia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Canada, Chile, Jamaica, Nigeria, Portugal, New Zealand, Barbados, Scotland, South Africa, Hungary, Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Kenya, Brazil, China, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, Singapore, Monaco, Morocco, Peru, Poland, and Switzerland.
Gilded Age Legacy. Polo is, without a doubt, the oldest ball game in the world today. First recorded in the 6th-century b.c. when the Turkomans beat the Persians in a diplomatic tournament, the alluring game caught on with equestrian royalty and cavalry, and took off with globalization, withstanding the tests of time. Arriving on Newport’s shores during the Gilded Age, the sport had evolved for nearly 2500 years, steeped in tradition, captivating newcomers like Newport’s summer sporting set who embraced the new pastime, establishing America’s first polo club in 1876. A charter member of the United States Polo Association, the club today is still a trailblazing model polo club, hosting the Newport International Polo Series public exhibition matches, supporting philanthropic causes, organizing tournaments, polo club member services, and polo instruction year-round. Experience the king of games in its American landing at Newport Polo.