WELLINGTON, FL—October 4, 2016—Flexjet won the opening tournament of the fall polo season with an exciting 7-6 victory over Casablanca in the Tackeria Invitational Sunday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
Melissa Ganzi took a pass from Juan Bollini and scored on a cut shot just before the 30-second bell in the final chukker to clinch the win.
Flexjet (Riley Ganzi, Melissa Ganzi, Juan Bollini, Jason Crowder) and Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Jared Sheldon, Carlitos Gracida, Juancito Bollini) battled back and forth throughout the game with Casablanca taking a 3-1 lead after two chukkers and Flexjet a 6-4 lead after four chukkers.
Riley Ganzi, a junior at Boca Raton St. Andrew’s School, was named Most Valuable Player. At 16, she is one of the youngest MVPs in club history.
“I was pretty happy with how I played considering I haven’t played in over a month,” Ganzi said. “I was just going out there to get back into it and get the feel for things. It turned out really well for me.
“It’s kind of surprising. I usually don’t feel as comfortable when I haven’t played for a long time. Being surrounded by my mom, brother and Juan I felt the positive energy which I think helped.”
Ganzi played with her mother, Melissa, a longtime player, and against her brother, Grant, a freshman at Lynn University and rising player in the sport.
The mother-daughter team combined for seven goals with Melissa Ganzi leading with a game-high five goals. Juancito Bollini led Casablanca with three goals.
A third generation polo player, Ganzi started playing polo at age 4 in lead line tournaments. Her mother has been a role model throughout her young career.
“She has honestly taught me everything,” Ganzi said. “She has definitely been a role model my whole life. It’s hard to live up to all she has accomplished in polo. It’s not the same going to the barn when she’s not there. I’m happier when she’s with me. It’s made our relationship special and what it is today.”
Playing with and against top players including Crowder and Sheldon, a Team USPA member, helps Ganzi hone her skills and improve her game.
“They are such great players to learn from,” Ganzi said. “I still have so much room to improve. I do it because I love it, that’s what motivates me. I think keeping at it, practicing all the time and being with people who support me has helped me get to where I am.”
Open Quarzo, an 8-year-old Bay stallion, ridden by Melissa Ganzi and owned by Santa Rita Farm, was named Best Playing Pony.
In the lightning-shortened subsidiary five-chukker game, Palm Beach Equine (Toro Roldan, JJ Celis, Martin Estrada, Guille Aguero) defeated Newport (Nic Roldan, Gene Goldstein, Marc Ganzi, Glenn Straub), 7-5.
Aguero was named Most Valuable Player. Gittle, a 12-year-old Bay mare ridden by Goldstein, was selected Best Playing Pony.
Estrada had three goals and Celis added two for Palm Beach Equine. Roldan and Goldstein each scored two goals for Newport.
The Tackeria Invitational is the first of ten fall tournaments at one of the nation’s busiest polo clubs. The club will host seven medium goal, two 20-goal tournaments, the Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo game and International Cup.
“It’s going to be a busy season,” said Grand Champions co-owner and player Marc Ganzi. “We keep pushing the envelope. We want to keep polo fun and spice it up. This is a fun time and gets us primed and ready for the winter season.”
Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in worldwide polo broadcasting, is live streaming the entire fall season.
The Tackeria, a longtime supporter of polo, is a complete equestrian shop located in the heart of Wellington horse country. It carries one of the most complete selections of equestrian equipment in the world. The Tackeria Invitational is the first tournament Grand Champions hosted when the club opened.
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.
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.
2016 FALL SCHEDULE
Oct. 7-9, US Trust Cup
Oct. 11-16, USPA Fall Classic
Oct. 11-29, USPA North American Cup
Oct. 18-23, USPA Eastern Challenge
Oct. 25-30, Pedro Morrison Memorial
Nov. 1-6, USPA 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 and The Polo School, where all ages and ability levels are welcome. During the season, everyone is welcome to watch 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.