Concluding the first leg in South Florida’s premier spectacle, the Gauntlet of Polo, Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, Jesse Bray*, Paco de Narvaez Jr., Adolfo Cambiaso) went head-to-head against La Dolfina (Dillon Bacon, Quinn Evans, Poroto Cambiaso, Tomas Panelo) on Sunday, February 26, in a familial battle for the C.V. Whitney Cup. Delighting spectators on U.S. Polo Assn. Field One at the National Polo Center (NPC) in Wellington, Florida, Sunday’s contest pitted two world-class organizations against each other, with reigning champions Valiente seeking to defend their title against newcomer La Dolfina in their debut season.

Featuring a highly anticipated clash between father and son Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso, Valiente took the early edge to earn a narrow 6-4 lead at the break. Returning the pressure in the fifth, back-to-back efforts from Panelo kick-started a comeback bid that allowed La Dolfina to overtake their competitors in the sixth. Undeterred by the sudden pressure, the physicality and mental resolve of Adolfo Cambiaso was on full display, as the veteran found the posts twice in the final moments to deliver Valiente their sixth C.V. Whitney Cup championship and $50,000.

Competing together in the Gauntlet of Polo until 2023, this year marks the second season the prominent duo has been on opposing teams, and the first time they have met in a high-goal final. Each donning their signature Argentine flag helmets, the 10-goalers contain the unmistakable talent and competitive drive to lead any team to the podium. Despite the gap in age and experience, Adolfo’s mastery as a facilitator and Poroto’s offensive command continue to set them apart from the competition.

For Adolfo, playing against his son and La Dolfina presents a unique challenge, “The truth is that yes, it is very uncomfortable,” said Cambiaso, “but at the same time, being in the final against them is a joy for the Valiente and La Dolfina organizations.” Playing a pivotal role in the creation and development of La Dolfina, Cambiaso continued, “But hey, in turn, the game is going to end and whoever wins, we’re going to be happy all the same and that’s good. That La Dolfina has a place in the final, is great. And it’s the first one we have played in the United States, to get there, is great.”

Sharing the experience of competing against the younger Cambiaso, Jornayvaz added, “Poroto is playing unbelievable right now. You’ve got to focus on trying to shut him down sooner than later. Once he gets that one step, he’s gone. We’re fortunate to practice with him virtually every day– you don’t know what he’s going to do because he can do anything.”

Throughout preliminary play, the one-two punch of La Dolfina’s Poroto Cambiaso and Panelo proved an unstoppable force as they breezed into the semifinals against a formidable Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Kristos “Keko” Magrini*, Pablo “Polito” Pieres, Julian de Lusarreta). Taking a commanding lead in the first half, Coca-Cola edged their way back into contention, but ultimately La Dolfina’s young guns sealed the 13-6 win.

Earning their ticket back to the finals, Valiente faced Park Place (Josh Escapite, Juan Britos, Hilario Ulloa, Jose Meirelles) introducing a line-up that included substitutes Joaquin “Pelo” Vilgre La Madrid and Jesse Bray, filling in for the injured Mariano “Peke” Gonzalez Jr. Playing with Bray for the first time, Cambiaso reflected, “He was very comfortable in the position that I put him in. I think he played an incredible game. He’s going to get even better, although I don’t know how much better he can play!” Establishing early momentum, Bray’s ability to seamlessly adapt to Valiente’s strategy was evident with the 7-goaler contributing four goals in Valiente’s 11-10 semifinal triumph.

Entering the final with a tournament-leading eight goals per game, Poroto Cambiaso broke away from the first throw-in to quickly put La Dolfina on the scoreboard. Following La Dolfina’s initial strike, Valiente managed to stifle the efforts of their opponents for the remainder of the half, containing La Dolfina to just three conversions before the horn. Settling into an offensive rhythm, Valiente relied on the efforts of de Narvaez Jr. and Adolfo Cambiaso to take a 6-4 advantage.

Recalibrating in the break, Evans opened the second half to score La Dolfina’s first field goal since the opening minute of play. Responding for Valiente, Cambiaso earned his first field goal to keep the two teams even in the chukker. Working in tandem, Panelo and Cambiaso kick-started a crucial fifth chukker that included back-to-back goals from Panelo to tie the contest 8-all. Following the three-goal run, Bray sent the ball through the posts to temporarily halt La Dolfina’s surging response and swing the momentum back in Valiente’s favor.

Reflecting on his role on the team, Bray shared, “I just tried to go and play polo, do the best I can, work for everybody and make plays when I have the ball.” Bray continued, “Adolfo figures out the rest. He said from the beginning ‘don’t look at me- just go play, do your thing, and do it with confidence.’”

Answering rapidly from the field to start the sixth, Panelo put another two field goals through the posts to pull his team ahead 10-9. Reflecting on the adjustments of La Dolfina, Jornayvaz noted, “When [Tomas and Poroto] spread out, they surprised us. So, if you notice back in the fourth, they put Tomy and Poroto back together again and it changed the game. That’s what enabled them to come back, that’s the magic we’ve been seeing from throughout the whole tournament.”

Surrendering the lead for the first time in the match, Jornayvaz detailed Adolfo’s unwillingness to let the game slip away, “We kept changing strategy throughout and that’s the magic of playing with Adolfo, he’s got a strategy for everything. You just listen and do what he tells you.” Grinding and driving in the latter stages of the sixth, a hard-fought goal from Cambiaso in traffic was complemented with a Penalty 3 from de Narvaez Jr. to vault Valiente back on top. Thwarting last-second attempts from La Dolfina to force overtime, Adolfo broke away once more from the pack to send one final goal across the line and seal Valiente’s victory, 12-10.

Earning Valiente’s sixth (2012, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2023, 2024) C.V. Whitney Cup championship, Jornayvaz summarized the importance of veteran grit in the finale: “I think this is one of those days where experience kind of beat out over youth. We changed things around, we had a strategy. We had a plan A, B and C, that’s just how Adolfo thinks.”

Guiding his team across the finish line in the final moments to earn his ninth (1991, 1995, 1996, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2018, 2023, 2024), C.V. Whitney Cup title, Adolfo Cambiaso was named Most Valuable Player. Best Playing Pony presented by Palm Beach Equine was awarded to Dolfina Carola (Carla x Dolfina Guitarrero), a 7-year-old mare played by Adolfo Cambiaso in the fifth chukker and owned by La Dolfina.

In partnership with U.S. Polo Assn. Global Licencing, both finalists selected a charity of their choice to receive a $2,500 donation—La Dolfina contributing to the Retired Racehorse Project and Valiente selecting the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame.

When asked if it is more enjoyable winning together or against his son, Cambiaso, ever the competitor answered, “With Poroto, without Poroto, I enjoy winning… [it’s in] my DNA to try to win.” Summarizing another unforgettable chapter in the legendary career of Adolfo Cambiaso, Jornayvaz exclaimed, “We were joking that he’s the only guy to beat every team in the world, including La Dolfina!”

Prior to the C.V. Whitney Cup Sunday showdown, La Fe (Lucas Diaz Alberdi, Jorge “Tolito” Fernandez Ocampo Jr., Jeronimo Del Carril, Louis Devaleix) faced Tamera (Alejandro Poma, Segundo Saravi, Matias Torres Zavaleta, Diego Cavanagh) in the final of the George Miller Memorial, to determine the inaugural champion of the C.V. Whitney Cup subsidiary.

Assembling on NPC Field 6, Tamera’s leading scorer Cavanagh led the way from the field. Featuring two substitutes Del Carril and Ocampo Jr. for injured Roberto Bilbao and Francisco Elizalde, La Fe’s Del Carril found success early at the penalty line. Entering the second half with a 6-4 lead, Tamera’s offense exploded in an impressive fourth chukker, highlighted by back-to-back goals from Poma. With each Tamera teammate reaching the scoreboard, their equally effective defense was able to hold La Fe to four goals in the second half for a resounding 14-8 win.

Contributing three goals in Tamera’s victory, Alejandro Poma was awarded Most Valuable Player. Diego Cavanagh’s 11-year-old mare Dolfina Lan (Dolfina Lapa x Dolfina Cuarteto), played in the third chukker took home Best Playing Pony honors.

Valiente will now set their sights on becoming the second team in history to capture the prestigious Gauntlet of Polo, continuing with the USPA Gold Cup slated to begin on Wednesday, February 28. All games of the USPA Gold Cup will be livestreamed on the USPA Polo Network.

The C.V. Whitney Cup is now available On-Demand. Guest commentator Memo Gracida joins USPA Polo Network’s Toby Wayman and Cody Offen to offer his perspective. Amongst his many accolades, Gracida holds the record for the most U.S. Open Polo Championship victories at 16. In 1997, he became the first active player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. A prominent horse breeder, trainer and coach running La Herradura Polo Club in Santa Ynez, California, alongside his wife Meghan Gracida, Gracida’s insights and knowledge are worth the re-watch!

All Gauntlet of Polo games at NPC will be broadcast by the USPA Polo Network. Livestreamed games will be available on as well as across multiple USPA social media platforms including FacebookX and YouTube. To learn more about 2024 livestreaming on the USPA Polo Network.

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