WELLINGTON, FL—October 27, 2016—New faces and teams highlight the seventh annual Pedro Morrison Memorial that begins Friday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
The biggest medium goal tournament of the fall season that celebrates the life of a great friend to polo features five teams. They are Audi, Flexjet, Newport, Palm Beach Polo & Country Club and Riverview.
Virginia Ingram and her Nashville, Tenn.-based Riverview team are making their Grand Champions fall season debut.
Ingram is the daughter of Orrin H. Ingram II, former chairman of the USPA and Polo Training Foundation, where he still serves as an honorary director. Virginia Ingram is an accomplished equestrian and polo player and has competed during Grand Champions’ winter and spring seasons.
A familiar face making his fall debut is 5-goaler Carlucho Arellano, coming off a summer season in Big Horn, Wyoming, playing with his older brother Julio Arellano, one of America’s top players.
Action opens Friday with Flexjet playing Newport at 11 a.m. on Field 3. At 4 p.m., Audi, Palm Beach Polo & Country Club and Riverview will play a round-robin on Field 1.On Sunday, the finals are 10 a.m. on Field 2 followed by the subsidiary game at 12:30 p.m.on Field 1.
Team rosters are:
Audi (12): Grant Ganzi, 1, Marc Ganzi, 1, Tony Calle, 2, Nic Roldan, 8.
Flexjet (12): Melissa Ganzi, A, Juan Bollini, 5, Juancito Bollini, 3, JJ Celis 4.
Newport (13): Gene Goldstein, 1, Nacho Lezica, 1, Jesse Bray, 5, Guille Aguero, 6.
Palm Beach Polo & Country Club (12): Carlucho Arellano, 5, Carlitos Gracida, 4, Glenn Straub, A, Martin Estrada, 3.
Riverview (13): Wes Finlayson, 3, Virginia Ingram, A, Jason Crowder, 6, Jared Sheldon, 4.
Bray, Sheldon and Finlayson are members of Team USPA.
In last year’s Pedro Morrison Memorial, Flexjet’s Melissa Ganzi, Leo Mandelbaum, Juan Bollini and Martin Estrada came from behind to defeat Travieso (Grant Ganzi, Tony Calle, JJ Celis, Jesse Bray), 8-7, on Estrada’s winning goal in the final two minutes of the game. In the semifinals, Flexjet knocked off Postage Stamp Farm in overtime, 11-10.
Pedro Morrison, born in Spain and University of Miami alum, died Dec. 11, 2003 in Wellington at age 49. He was an avid polo player, patron of The Sympatico Polo team and helped develop Wellington into a thriving community.
Morrison was active in several local and area charities and businesses and touched countless lives. He remains an inspiration. His work on behalf of the YMCA of the Palm Beaches continues on through Polo with Pedro. The tournament is played in honor of Morrison in a casual, laid-back and fun atmosphere.
“This tournament is always very special,” Grand Champions Polo Club President Melissa Ganzi said. “When we bought our first barn at South 40 we played polo with Pedro at Palm Beach Polo. He had one of the most contagious laughs. I just think of Pedro laughing, smoking his cigars and sitting on the boards. It was one of my wonderful polo memories.”
Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting, is live streaming the entire fall season worldwide with polo announcer Dale Schwetz calling the action.
ChukkerTV’s state-of-the art technology features team challenges and instant replay which made their debut at Grand Champions in January, 2014.
Grand Champions, with nine well-manicured fields, is enjoying its finest fall season in the ten-year history of the club.
The club has already hosted four successful tournaments. Flexjet (MVP 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, MVP 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. Postage Stamp Farm (Annabelle Gundlach, MVP Marc Ganzi, JJ Celis, Nic Roldan) won the Palm Restaurant Invitational with a 10-9 win over Flexjet.
Grand Champions is the only club in the nation to stage USPA-sanctioned 20-goal tournaments during the fall. The club is hosting the USPA National 20-Goal and North American Cup.
In addition to the 20-goal tournaments, Grand Champions is hosting seven medium goal, the Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo game and fifth annual International Cup featuring Team USA against Uruguay.
The remaining medium goal tournaments are: Nov. 1-6 Fall Plates and Nov. 8-13 Polo Gear Challenge.
Roster lineups change from tournament to tournament with evenly-matched teams to help improve player skills and performance. It also serves as a tuneup for polo players for the winter season.
Grand Champions caters 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, the only polo club in the U.S. to offer the unique program.
The Polo School, a 501c3 organization, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November.
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.
2016 FALL SCHEDULE
FRIDAY: Pedro Morrison Memorial, Flexjet vs. Newport, 11 a.m., Audi vs. Palm Beach Polo & Country Club vs. Riverview round robin, 4 p.m.; SATURDAY: Kids Coaching League, 11 a.m., Mt. Sopris Cup, 3 p.m., both at Santa Rita Field; SUNDAY: Final, 10 a.m., subsidiary 12:30 p.m.
Nov. 1-6, Fall Plates
Nov. 8-13, Polo Gear Challenge
Nov. 12-20, USPA National 20-Goal
Nov. 16-23, USPA North American Cup
Nov. 26, Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo and fifth annual International Cup, Team USA vs. Uruguay.
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 games of the winter, spring and fall tournament seasons and other special events. Admission is free except for some special events.