Forbes Plunkett, Goose Creek Make Fall Debut In Pedro Morrison Memorial At Grand Champions Polo Club

 Maureen Brennan

Maureen Brennan

WELLINGTON, FL--October 26, 2017---Six teams, including Forbes Plunkett and Goose Creek making their fall debut, will compete in the eighth annual Pedro Morrison Memorial at Grand Champions Polo Club.

The fun and emotionally-charged three-day tournament continues the legacy of Pedro Morrison, a great friend of polo.

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," Florida Circuit Governor and 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."

Brandon Plunkett of Franklin, Tenn. is a Nashville-based realtor and developer who is part of Forbes Plunkett Development. The company's developments include build-to-suits for national restaurant chains in Tennessee and Florida, apartment communities and traditional residential projects. Plunkett is also a realtor with Fridrich & Clark Realty LLC along with his wife Cheryl Forbes Plunkett. He has played polo in Florida including Port Mayaca and Santa Clara Polo Clubs.

Brennan, one of the sport's top veteran woman players, has been playing since 2001 after transitioning from show jumping. Recently, she represented Goose Creek in the Palermo Women's Open and in late June was a member of Team USA that lost to England in the Kings Head Hotel Ladies International Test Matches in the United Kingdom. Brennan is rated six goals in the USPA women's outdoor handicap rankings.  

The three-day tournament begins Friday with two round robins at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Santa Rita Polo Farm's Buenos Aires and Aspen Fields 

The fifth medium goal tournament of the season also features Casablanca, which has won two medium goal tournaments and made four finals.

Friday's opening round robin at 11 a.m. features Newport, Forbes Plunkett and Flexjet. The second round robin at 4 p.m. features Sebucan, Casablanca and Goose Creek.

The winners of each game advance into Sunday's final. The game order and game times will be determined after Friday's round robins. The first subsidiary game is Saturday at 11 a.m.

The impressive lineup of pro players competing during Grand Champions' 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 for Casablanca in both the US Trust Cup and USPA Fall Classic.

The Pedro Morrison Memorial rosters are:

NEWPORT (13): Gene Goldstein, 1; Sergio Sylvestre, 3; Pablo Dorignac, 5; LaLa Laplacete, 4.

FORBES PLUNKETT (15): Brandon Plunkett, 0; JJ Celis, 4; Luis Escobar, 5; Kris Kampsen, 6.

FLEXJET (12): Melissa Ganzi, 0; Charlie Armstrong, 2; Brandon Phillips, 5; Juan Bollini, 5.

SEBUCAN (13): Pablo Pulido, 2; Benjamin Avendano, 2; Carlitos Gracida, 4; Guille Aguero, 5.

CASABLANCA (13): Grant Ganzi, 2; Marc Ganzi, 2; Mike Azzaro, 6; Juancito Bollini, 3.

GOOSE CREEK (14): Maureen Brennan, 1; Jason Crowder, 6; Lucas Escobar, .5; Mariano Gonzalez, 7.

In last year's Pedro Morrison Memorial final, Flexjet (Riley Ganzi, Juan Bollini, Juancito Bollini, JJ Celis) defeated Audi (Grant Ganzi, Marc Ganzi, Tony Calle, Nic Roldan), 7-6, in overtime to win. Juan Bollini took advantage of an Audi broken play to shake loose from defenders and scored the winning goal with 4:58remaining.

Juan Bollini was named MVP and Luna, a 9-year-old dark bay mare played by Calle and owned by Santa Rita Polo Farm, was Best Playing Pony.

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.

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 Pedro Morrison Memorial is the fifth of six medium goal tournaments during the fall season. In the first four tournaments of the season: Audi defeated Casablanca, 11-10, in overtime to win the Tackeria Invitational; Casablanca bounced back with wins in the US Trust Cup and USPA Fall Classic; and Sebucan knocked off Casablanca to win the USPA Fall Plates.

Grand Champions is one of only two clubs in the nation to host two 20-goal tournaments, the upcoming USPA North American  Cup and USPA National 20-Goal in the fall.

The highlight of the fall season is the Nov. 25 doubleheader with the Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo and International Cup pitting defending champion Team USA against Brazil. Sponsorship packages are available and tickets are on sale.

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.