Audi Advances Into USPA U.S. Open Semifinals With Victory Over Valiente; Plays Dubai On Wednesday

WELLINGTON, Fl., April 18, 2016----Audi has advanced into Wednesday’s semifinals of the 112th USPA U.S. Open at International Polo Club Palm Beach.

Audi (3-1), the 2009 U.S. Open champion, turned in one of its finest games of the high goal season with a 13-6 victory over Valiente in front of a sellout crowd Sunday at Engel & Volkers Field.

Brazilian Rodrigo Andrade of Audi was named Most Valuable Player. Andrade, the team’s sparkplug, scored three goals in the first half and finished with six. Teammate Gonzalito Pieres also scored six goals.

“We set a goal and we finished good,” said Pieres, a 9-goaler. “It was important to keep winning. We are playing good polo.”

Audi (Marc Ganzi, Rodrigo Andrade, Gonzalito Pieres, Freddie Mannix), playing flawless defense, shut Valiente out in two chukkers and led 7-3 at the half despite converting only 5-of-14 shots from the field.

Audi continued to bombard Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, Santi Torres, Alfredo Cappella, Tomas Garcia del Rio) with 22 field shots, converting 10. Valiente was 5-of-9 in shot conversions. Audi was perfect at the penalty line going 3-for-3 while Valiente was 1-of-3.

Capella and del Rio each had three goals for Valiente.

Foxi, played by del Rio and owned by Valiente, was selected Best Playing Pony.

After losing to Orchard Hill to open the 8-team, 26-goal tournament, Audi, the only team to return its full 2015 season lineup, has won three consecutive games against Flexjet, Lucchese and Valiente.

In Thursday’s Lucchese game, Marc Ganzi took a pass from Andrade to score the winning goal for an 8-7 victory.

Audi will now meet pre-tournament favorite Dubai and Adolfo Cambiaso, the world’s top polo player, in Wednesday’s opening semifinal at 10 a.m. Audi will get an opportunity to avenge its 12-11 USPA Gold Cup finals loss to Dubai, making its U.S. debut this season.

In Sunday’s early game, White Birch defeated Lucchese, 13-12, to advance into the other Wednesday semifinal against Orchard Hill at 4 p.m.

Mariano Aguerre scored the winning goal on a half-shot past a crowd of defenders with two seconds remaining.

White Birch led 9-3 at the half and held Lucchese to 1-of-7 field shot conversions before Lucchese rallied to tie the game in the final chukker.

Hilario Ulloa, coming off an elbow injury, scored a game-high 10 goals including six on penalty shots. Sapo Caset scored eight goals, all on penalty shots, for Lucchese.

On Monday, the Hall of Fame Cup will be held at IPC’s Isla Carroll West field at 4:30 p.m. Grand Champions Polo Club (Alex Webb, Tincho Merlos, Nic Roldan, Juan Bollini) will play Aspen Valley Polo Club (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Gonzalito Pieres, Sebastian Merlos).

Since 1996, the U.S. Open has been held in South Florida. IPC has hosted the event since 2004. In 2005, Julio Gracida added to the Gracida family’s combined record of 36 U.S. Open Polo Championship wins.

Audi, recently rated No. 1 by Consumer Reports as the best auto brand overall, is a valued sponsor with a rich winning tradition in polo. The German automobile manufacturer designs, engineers, produces, markets and distributes luxury automobiles throughout the world including West Palm Beach. Audi, founded in 1909, oversees its worldwide operations from its headquarters in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Germany.

The Audi-Valiente game was live streamed and can be seen on ChukkerTV, worldwide leaders in polo broadcasting.

Wellington-based ChukkerTV is exclusively live streaming International Polo Club Palm Beach and Grand Champions Polo Club games along with other games around the U.S. during the 2016 season with polo broadcasters Toby Wayman and Dale Schwetz calling the action.

Grand Champions Polo Club is the nation’s busiest and most innovative polo club. The USPA-member club hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 20-goal in addition to special events.

The club also features The Polo School, 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 2016 WINTER SCHEDULE

12-Goal, April, Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame Challenge Cup

8-Goal, April, Aspen Valley Cup.

6-Goal, April, Las Acacias

GRAND CHAMPIONS 2016 SPRING SCHEDULE

April 21-23: Grand Champions Cup

April 29-May 1: Spring Challenge

May 6-8: Sun Cup

May 13-15: USPA Eastern Challenge

May 20-22: Polo Gear Challenge Cup

May 26-29: The Memorial

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.

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.