AJT Polo Captures PTF Sunset Polo Cup, Artemio Figueras Named MVP; Prestonwood Polo Club Wins Buzz Welker Memorial, Benjamin Obregon MVP

AJT Polo won its second consecutive Polo Training Foundation tournament Monday at Santa Rita Polo Farm.

By Sharon Robb

Two months after winning the season-opening Tackeria Cup, AJT Polo (Aspen Tinto, Sailor Schwaber, Harrison Reicher, Artemio Figueras) won the second annual Sunset Polo Cup.

AJT Polo held off Mayer Ranch (Ramon Caro, Ava Rose Hinkson, Milo MacDonough, Amelia Massey), 4-3, in the final round robin to clinch the title.

Figueras scored a tournament-high seven goals, won the game’s final throw-in and regained possession of the ball to preserve the win.

Figueras, the youngest son of polo ambassador Nacho Figueras, was named Most Valuable Player. Caro was given the Sportsmanship Award. Reicher’s horse Carpeta earned Best Playing Pony honors.

In the Buzz Welker Memorial, Prestonwood Polo Club (Silver Novillo Astrada, Celestino Merlos, Benjamin Obregon, Inaki Wulff) defeated CTV Sports (Cruz Bilbao, Tomas Caro, Santos Teves, Maddie Ulery) in the final. Obregon was MVP and Wulff earned the Sportsmanship Award. Cruz Bibao of CTV Sports earned was Best Playing Pony honors with Ritz.

Santos Valent of The Polo School was presented the Matthew Cohen PTF Unsung Hero Award for his true sportsmanship on and off the field. Cohen, a former player, had his life cut short at age 15 from complications with his lifelong battle with diabetes. His mother Melinda presented the award.

Other award recipients were:

Leadline: GJ Racing (Ryan Castillo, Patton Limehouse McBride, Magdalena Zedda) won. Castillo was MVP. Jackson Mannix, Sportsmanship Award. Cira LaPrida Loza of Santa Rita earned BPP honors with Rosillita.

Field 2, Noon Game: Port Mayaca Polo Club (Antonio Dorignac, Marcos Lisioli, Pedro Lisioli, Beltran Nero) won. Marcos Lisioli was MVP. Milo Vilche of Prestonwood Polo Club, Sportsman Award. Dorignac, Best Playing Pony honors for Medialuna.

Field 2, 11 a.m. Game: CTV Sports (Carmen Aguerre, Rafa MacDonough, Charlotte Peponis, Azu Pieres) won. Freddie Mannix of Mayer Ranch was MVP. Aguerre, Sportsmanship Award. Mia Pieres of Grand Champions, Best Playing Pony honors with Graycliff, owned by Santa Rita.

Field 1, Noon Game: Red Barn (Alessandro Garcia, Inaki Gonzalez, Florencio Merlos, Javda Link) won. Marek Sutherland of Alex Photo was MVP. Emilia Wulff of The Polo School, Sportsmanship Award. Florencio Merlos, Best Playing Pony, Petaca from Adolfo Cambiaso.

Several World Polo League players were award presenters including Pablo MacDonough, Gonzalito Pieres, Mariano Aguerre, Magoo Laprida, Tincho Merlos, Freddie Mannix and Nacho Figueras.

The tournament, started in 2012, was named in honor of Buzz Welker, a former polo player who shared his love for the game with everyone. Before his life ended, Welker played in 16 countries and played with several celebrities including King Charles, the Sultan of Brunei and actor Tommy Lee Jones. Welker died in 2006 at age 69. He was the founder and leader of the Franklin Polo Association and headed major polo clubs in Texas, Florida and Dominican Republic.

The event sponsors were: Grand Champions Polo Club, Santa Rita Polo Farm, AJT Polo, World Polo League, ChukkerTV, Prestonwood Polo Club, Everglades Polo, Port Mayaca Polo Club, GJ Racing, Mayer Ranch, The Tackeria Complete Equestrian Shop and Red Barn Feed & Supply.

The remaining PTF winter circuit tournaments are the rescheduled Avendano Memorial and Tackeria Cup on Monday, April 15 and rescheduled Johnston Cup and Jimmer Newman on Saturday, April 20.

Grand Champions Polo Club President and PTF Chairman Melissa Ganzi is a longtime supporter of grass roots polo and PTF that is celebrating its 57th anniversary in 2024.

The Polo Training Foundation is dedicated to the future of polo in the U.S. The PTF has been instrumental in the growth of junior and youth polo players by encouraging the sport‘s development with training programs, lessons and tournaments for boys and girls.

The PTF was created in 1967 by Palm Beach Polo and Country Club founder and former 7-goal amateur Bill Ylvisaker to teach the game of polo to youth by promoting youth clinics, interscholastic and intercollegiate competition, good sportsmanship and good will through friendly competition.

The Polo Training Foundation is a 501(C) 3 organization and relies on tax deductible donations for financial support. The PTF has an annual budget of $600,000 of which $400,000 is funded yearly by tax-deductible donations. For more information go to www.polotraining.org.

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