WELLINGTON, FL-October 24, 2016- On a glorious day for polo, Postage Stamp Farm rallied in the final two chukkers to capture the Palm Restaurant Invitational with a 10-9 victory over Flexjet Sunday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
In front of the largest home crowd of the season and worldwide ChukkerTV audience, Nic Roldan scored the last three goals of the game including the game-winner in the final two minutes for Postage Stamp Farm's first tournament victory of the fall season.
The foursome of Annabelle Gundlach, Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan and JJ Celis, playing together for the first time, dug itself out of an early hole after Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Juan Bollini, Jesse Bray, Glenn Straub) started out with a 3-0 advantage based on handicap to trail by only one at the half, 6-5.
Postage Stamp Farm tied Flexjet, 6-6, with 4:50left in the fourth chukker on Celis' big neck shot and took the lead for the first time when Ganzi beat his defender and angled a goal just inside the goal post for a 7-6 lead.
Flexjet tied (7-7) and then regained the lead with goals from Bray and Straub for a 9-7 advantage before Roldan went on his scoring spree with two goals at the end of the fifth to tie the game at 9-9 and game-winner with 2:04 left in the sixth chukker. Roldan also stopped Bollini's last-ditch scoring attempt.
"I didn't have to do much, to be honest," said Roldan, America's top-rated player at 8 goals. "Marc, JJ and Annabelle all did their job and I kind of cruised in the back.
"It was a fun game for everyone," Roldan said. "It was a good game. The field played great and the weather was unbelievable. Flexjet was a good team and it made for good polo."
Ganzi scored a game-high five goals and was named Most Valuable Player. He finished with eight goals in two games. Rebecca, ridden by Melissa Ganzi in the fifth chukker and owned by Santa Rita Polo Farm, was the Best Playing Pony.
"I call him Captain Ganzi, he whips me into shape," Gundlach said. "It's always great to play with Marc on the same team. He does have that padron experience and always has some good words of wisdom."
Postage Stamp Farm advanced into the final with a hardfought 11-8 win over pre-tournament favorite Casablanca (Tony Calle, Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Jared Sheldon), the tournament's youngest team.
"Our real strategy was getting through Friday's game with the kids, which was tough also starting three goals in the hole," Gundlach said.
"Today was just to play well. I don't have my horses in play, they come in November. The Ganzis were really generous to lend me some really nice horses. It's always great to be here. The fields are unreal, like playing on a carpet and the people here are obviously fantastic."
Gundlach plans to play in Argentina in mid-November in preparation for the winter season. She will make her International Polo Club 20-goal debut with teammates Brandon Phillips, Kris Kampsen and Mariano Aguerre.
Flexjet, winners of the season-opening Tackeria Invitational, was making its fourth consecutive finals appearance.
In the Cardondale Classic final, Casablanca (Martin Estrada, Tony Calle, Juancito Bollini, Jared Sheldon) captured the round robin final with a 6-4 win over Dutta Corp (Tim Dutta, Gene Goldstein, Jason Crowder, Carlitos Gracida) and 7-6 win over KIG (Bash Kazi, Omar Mangalji, Guille Aguero, Kris Kampsen). Estrada and Sheldon each had four goals.
Gene Goldstein of Dutta Corp was named Most Valuable Player. Goldstein's horse, Noche Azul, was named Best Playing Pony.
The Palm Restaurant Invitational was the fourth of nine fall season tournaments. Flexjet (Riley Ganzi, Melissa Ganzi, Juan Bollini, Jason Crowder) won the season-opening Tackeria Invitational with a 7-6 victory over Casablanca. U.S. Trust (Marc Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, Jared Shelton, Nic Roldan) won the U.S. Trust Cup with a 5.5-3 win over Flexjet. Casablanca (Jared Sheldon, Grant Ganzi, Tony Calle, MVP Jesse Bray) won the Fall Classic with an 11-9 victory over Flexjet.
Flexjet has been a member of the Directional Aviation family of companies since 2013. They are committed to creating premium travel experiences and providing access to the most modern, technologically-advanced aircraft in the industry on a daily basis, going above and beyond world-class private travel experiences.
Casablanca, founded by polo players, supplies a wide variety of polo products, equipment and apparel through superior quality, value and service around the world. Casablanca plans to open a new store in December in Wellington located at 3500 Fairlane Farms Road, Unit 5.
Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting, is live streaming the entire fall schedule locally and worldwide.
ChukkerTV's state-of-the art technology also features team challenges and instant replay which made their debut at Grand Champions in January, 2014.
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.
DIRECTOR OF POLO: Juan Olivera, 561-644-5050, juan.olivera @gcpolo.com; hotline 561-373-0073.
2016 FALL SCHEDULE
Oct. 25-30, Pedro Morrison Memorial
Oct. 29, North American Cup
Nov. 1-6, Fall Plates
Nov. 8-13, Polo Gear Challenge
Nov. 12-20, USPA National 20-Goal
Nov. 26, Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo and International Cup
INFORMATION: For spectators, there are great field side views for tournament action and also the Grand Champions Polo Club Boutique. The club is home base for pro teams Audi and Flexjet. Everyone is welcome to watch every level of polo in a relaxed atmosphere that includes a complimentary Argentine asado by Cilantro's during the featured championship games of the winter, spring and fall tournament seasons and other special events. Admission is free except for some special events.