WELLINGTON, Fl.—November 20, 2016---In a much-anticipated showdown, Casablanca and Flexjet will meet Wednesday for the USPA National 20-Goal Championship at Grand Champions Polo Club.
Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, A, Jason Crowder, 6, Nic Roldan, 8, Jared Sheldon, 4) will play Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, 1, Juancito Bollini, 3, Julio Arellano, 8, JJ Celis, 4) in the championship final at 3:30 p.m.
Runners-up Audi and KIG/Dutta Corp will meet in the handicap final at 10 a.m. The popular Grooms Race will also be held.
Flexjet will try to finish the club’s 20-goal season undefeated.
Last Friday Flexjet (Grant Ganzi, Jared Sheldon, Nic Roldan, Jason Crowder) won the USPA North American Cup with a thrilling 11-9 victory over Audi.
Grant Ganzi filled in for his mother in the final of the USPA North American Cup. Now mother and son will be pitted against each other in the USPA National 20-Goal final.
In Sunday’s opening round in front of a good local crowd and worldwide ChukkerTV audience, Casablanca advanced with a 12-9 victory over defending champion Audi. Flexjet advanced with a 10-8 win over KIG/Dutta Corp in the afternoon game.
In the opening game of the doubleheader, Casablanca knocked off a strong Audi team (Marc Ganzi, 1, Jesse Bray, 5, Carlucho Arellano, 5, Jeff Blake, 6), with its wide open, fast-paced offense.
The game pitted older brother Julio Arellano against Carlucho Arellano and father and son Marc and Grant Ganzi.
After an Audi 6-5 first half, the lead changed hands five times before Casablanca took a 10-9 lead on Julio Arellano’s goal at the end of the fifth chukker and controlled the remainder of the game.
It was all Casablanca in the final chukker shutting out Audi’s potent offense while Grant Ganzi scored two goals to put the game away.
Julio Arellano scored a game-high five goals. Bollini had three, Ganzi scored two and Celis added one. Marc Ganzi led Audi with three goals while Carlucho Arellano, Bray and Blake each had two goals.
In the second game, Flexjet rallied after being down two goals against KIG/Dutta Corp (Timmy Dutta, A, Kris Kampsen, 6, Guille Aguero, 6, Carlitos Gracida, 4) after four chukkers. KIG/Dutta Corp led 7-5 at halftime.
Flexjet capitalized on KIG/Dutta Corp’s penalties in the second half. Trailing 7-6 going into the fifth chukker, Roldan converted penalty-three and penalty-four goals to take the lead, 8-7 with 3:03left in the chukker. Kampsen scored a goal from the field to tie the game at 8-8 with 31 seconds left in the chukker.
Flexjet continued its defensive strategy in the final chukker forcing KIG/Dutta Corp into making mistakes and shutting them out in the fourth and sixth chukkers.
Roldan took control with 2:40 left taking the ball from one end of the field to the other to score a goal undefended and give Flexjet a 9-8 lead. With 1:40 left, Roldan scored an insurance goal on a penalty-three.
Roldan scored a game-high six goals. Sheldon and Crowder each added two goals.
Gracida led KIG/Dutta Corp with three goals. Kampsen had two and Dutta added one.
In last year’s USPA National 20-Goal final, Audi (Marc Ganzi, Jeff Blake, Sugar Erskine and Carlucho Arellano) won with an 11-8 win over Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Jason Crowder, Nic Roldan, Juan Bollini). Erskine was MVP.
The regular season fall finale kicked off the biggest week of fall polo at Grand Champions.
A holiday weekend tradition marking the end of the fall season will be Saturday’s doubleheader, one of the biggest social events of the fall in Wellington. The Carlos Gracida Legends of Polo game at 1 p.m. will honor the legacy of Gracida, who died tragically in February, 2014 at age 53.
In the second game at 3 p.m., the fifth annual International Cup will pit Team USA against Uruguay. Team USA is undefeated in International Cup play with wins over England, Chile, Mexico and South Africa.
Grand Champions is the only club in the nation to stage USPA-sanctioned 20-goal tournaments during the fall.
The club has already hosted eight successful medium goal tournaments.
The United States Polo Association® was organized and exists for the purpose of promoting the game of polo, coordinating the activities of its member clubs and registered players, arranging and supervising polo tournaments, competitions, and games and providing rules, handicaps, and conditions for those tournaments, competitions, and games including the safety and welfare of participants and mounts.
Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting, is live streaming the entire fall season 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, with eleven well-manicured fields, is enjoying its finest fall season in the ten-year history of the club.
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 program, the only polo club in the U.S. to offer the uniqueprogram.
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
USPA National 20-Goal: Wednesday, Handicap Final, Audi vs. KIG/Dutta Corp, 10 a.m.; Championship Final, Casablanca vs. Flexjet, 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 26, Gates Open 12:30 p.m., Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo, 1 p.m.; Fifth annual International Cup, Team USA vs. Uruguay, 3 p.m.
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 complimentary food and refreshments during the featured games of the winter, spring and fall tournament seasons and other special events. Admission is free except for some special events.