USPA Fall Classic Begins Thursday; Team USPA Completes Training Camp For World Championship This Weekend At Grand Champions

Casablanca's MVP Jesse Bray, Jared Sheldon, Tony Calle and Grant Ganzi with awards presenter Olexa Celine

Casablanca's MVP Jesse Bray, Jared Sheldon, Tony Calle and Grant Ganzi with awards presenter Olexa Celine

WELLINGTON, FL--October 11, 2017---The fall polo season is in full swing at Grand Champions Polo Club with the USPA Fall Classic that begins on Thursday.

The third tournament of the season features six top-notch teams and opens with two round robins at Santa Rita Polo Farm's Buenos Aires and Aspen Fields.

Several familiar faces will make their fall debut including Gene Goldstein, father-and-son Luis and Nico Escobar, Sergio Silvestre, Pablo Pulido and Benjamin Avendano. 

Team USPA is winding up its training at Grand Champions for the Oct. 21-29 XI FIP World Polo Championship in Sydney, Australia. Team USPA is one of eight teams from five world zones competing at Sydney Polo Club. The team is scheduled to depart on Sunday.

On Thursday, two round robins are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. In the opening round robin, Newport, Casablanca and Flexjet will play. In the afternoon round robin, Santa Clara, Patagones/Sebucan and Team USPA will battle.

The top two finishers advance into Saturday's final. Two subsidiary games are also scheduled. Start times are to be determined.

The impressive list of pro players competing during the fall season is headed by legendary American Hall of Famer and former 10-goaler Mike Azzaro.  Azzaro, winner of eight U.S. Open titles and rated at 10 goals for 13 years, was Most Valuable Player in last weekend's US Trust Cup won by Casablanca. 

The USPA Fall Classic team rosters are

Newport (13): Gene Goldstein, Pablo Dorignac, Carlitos Gracida, Sergio Silvestre.

Casablanca (13): Grant Ganzi, Mike Azzaro, Juancito Bollini, Cacho Galindo.

Flexjet (14): Melissa Ganzi, Brandon Phillips, Andres "Lala" LaPlacette, Juan Bollini.

Santa Clara (14): Nico Escobar, Marc Ganzi, Luis Escobar, Kris Kampsen.

Patagones/Sebucan (14): Pablo Pulido, Benjamin Avendano, Jason Crowder, Guille Aguero.

Team USPA (14): Matias Gonzalez, Felipe Viana, Jesse Bray, Jimmy Wright.

Nico Escobar, the oldest son of polo great Luis Escobar, is coming off a successful summer for Farmers & Merchants, winners of the America Cup where he was named MVP, and the coveted Gulfstream Pacific Coast Open. He won four of six tournaments. Luis Escobar, playing for Santa Clara, made it to five finals in six tournaments and won two. 

Escobar, who just turned 17, is a junior at Palm Beach International Academy after transferring from King's Academy, which does not accommodate equestrian schedules. He and his brother Lucas, 15, also play on a soccer travel league team.

In last year's USPA Fall Classic final, Casablanca, the tournament's youngest team (Jared Sheldon, Grant Ganzi, Tony Calle, Jesse Bray) defeated Flexjet (Riley Ganzi, Melissa Ganzi, Jason Crowder, Juan Bollini), 11-9. Bray was named MVP.

In the Grand Champions Polo Club subsidiary, Postage Stamp Farm (Annabelle Gundlach, Gene Goldstein, Kris Kampsen, Guille Aguero) defeated Audi (Glenn Straub, Carlitos Gracida, Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan), 8-5. Star War, an 11-year-old Chestnut mare, owned by Santa Rita Polo Farm, was Best Playing Pony.

Flexjet has been a member of theDirectional 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 who understand the needs of today's polo players, supplies a wide variety of polo products, equipment and apparel through superior quality, value and service around the world. Behind the Casablanca brand is a serious pledge to quality, excellence and elegance.

The USPA Fall Classis is the third of six medium goal tournaments during the fall season. In the first two tournaments of the season, Audi defeated Casablanca, 11-10, in overtime to win the Tackeria Invitational and Casablanca won the US Trust Cup.

Grand Champions is one of only two clubs in the nation to host two 20-goal tournaments, the USPA North American (Oct. 27-Nov. 5) Cup and USPA National 20-Goal (Nov. 8-19) in the fall.

The highlight of the season is the Nov. 25 doubleheader with the Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo and International Cup pitting defending champion Team USA against Brazil.

During the fall season, roster lineups change from tournament to tournament with evenly-matched teams to help improve players skills and performance. The games also give players an opportunity to work young horses.

During fall, winter and spring seasons, Grand Champions Polo Club, the nation's largest club with 11 well-manicured fields, hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal in addition to special events.

Grand Champions Polo Cup attracted a record 72 teams during its 2017 winter season that featured the $100,000 World Cup, $50,000 National 12-Goal, 20-Goal Sterling Cup and 20-Goal Molina Cup, and another 18 teams during the spring season.

The entire fall season will be live-streamed on Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting with cutting-edge technology. ChukkerTV also features team challenges and instant replay which made their debut at Grand Champions in January, 2014.

Grand Champions Polo Club 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 unique program.