WELLINGTON, Fl., February 22, 2017---A star-studded lineup of some of the world’s top polo players has been assembled for the revival of the Sterling Cup that begins Sunday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
The Sterling Cup is one of two classic and prestigious tournaments that the nation’s busiest and most innovative polo club is resurrecting after a sixteen-year absence.
Thanks to the generosity of Palm Beach Polo owner Glenn Straub, the Sterling Cup and World Cup have been resurrected by Melissa and Marc Ganzi in hopes of recapturing the legacy and prestige of polo’s hey days.
The Sterling Cup was the second tournament of the 22-goal season at Palm Beach Polo after the January Challenge Cup. It was considered the 22-goal championship and attracted as many as eighteen teams.
It was first played in 1989 with Saniva B.G.K. winning the title. Other past winners include Pegasus, C.S. Brook, Grant’s Farm Manor, Revlon, Calumet Farm, Pony Express, Palm Beach Polo, Isla Carroll and White Birch.
Cali Garcia-Velez won the Sterling Cup in 2002 with Glenn Straub and Palm Beach Polo, where he became director of polo operations in 1995, two years after Straub purchased the 2,000-acre Palm Beach Polo and Country Club at auction in 1993.
“I remember back in the day we had 18 teams,” Garcia-Velez said. “We played it on handicap 18 to 26 goals. I am glad to see it back.
“It’s a great trophy, it has lot of historic names on it,” Garcia said. “It’s good that the tournament has been revived. It’s got a lot of history. All the great players have won it. It will be a great tournament.”
The seven-team tournament begins Sunday with Audi playing Grand Champions/Casablanca at 11 a.m.
Team rosters, representing eight countries, are:
Audi: (20) Marc Ganzi, 2; Nic Roldan, 8; Inaki Laprida, 7; Juancito Bollini, 3.
Dutta Corp: (19) Timmy Dutta, 0; Carlitos Gracida, 4; Piki Diaz Alberdi, 7; Matias Magrini, 8.
Flexjet: (18) Melissa Ganzi, 0; Lucas Lalor, 5; Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 8; Jesse Bray, 5.
Grand Champions/Casablanca: Grant Ganzi, 2; (20) Rodrigo Andrade, 9; Gonzalo Pieres, 9; Harrison Azzaro, 0.
Palm Beach Equine: (20) Gringo Colombres, 6; Juan Martin Zubia, 6; Magoo Laprida, 8, Scott Swerdlin, 0.
Travieso: (20) Tony Calle, 2; Hugo Barabucci, 6; Sebastian Merlos, 9, Torito Ruiz, 3.
Valiente: (19) Rob Jornayvaz, 1; Pablo Spinacci, 6; Diego Cavanagh, 8; Roberto Zedda, 4.
There are two tournament brackets. The Aspen bracket features No. 1 seed Travieso, (2) Valiente and (3) Palm Beach Equine. The Buenos Aires bracket has (4) Flexjet, (5) Dutta Corp, (6) Audi and (7) Grand Champions/Casablanca.
The John T. Oxley Memorial Trophy will serve as the handicap subsidiary for the Sterling Cup.
Oxley, inducted into the Polo Hall of Fame in 1994, started playing polo at age 46, bought the struggling Royal Palm Polo Sports Club and turned it into a success before it was sold. He won several top tournaments and at age 83, became the oldest player ever to win a major tournament when his team won the International Gold Cup.
Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting, will live stream the Sterling Cup worldwide.
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.
The Polo School at Grand Champions, 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.
The USPA 12-Goal Sieber Memorial, Top Pony 8-Goal Series and Halo Polo Trophy 6-Goal Tournament are currently under way this month at Grand Champions.
2017 WINTER SCHEDULE
(Subject to change because of weather and scheduling conflicts).
Santa Rita Final (6 goal): Grand Champions vs. The Polo School, Feb. 25, 10 a.m.
Halo Polo Trophy (6 goal): Feb. 25, Final, Horseware/Aliano at Equuleus, 4:30 p.m.; Feb. 26, Handicap Final, Hawk Hill vs. Pony Express, 10 a.m.
Top Pony 8 Goal Series: Feb. 24, Seacap at Valiente, 11 a.m.; Patagones vs. Hawk Hill, 4 p.m., at GCPC; Feb. 28, Seacap vs. Patagones, 4 p.m.; Handicap and Final, TBA.
USPA Sieber 12-Goal Memorial: Feb. 25, Sieber Memorial Handicap Final, Cria Yatay vs. Audi, 10 a.m.; Final, GSA vs. Patagones, 12:30 p.m.
Celebration of Equine Life, exhibition game, Santa Rita Polo Farm, 2:30 p.m.
Women’s League: February Subsidiary and Final, March 1, 10 and 11 a.m.; League Play Is Every Wednesday, 10 and 11 a.m., at Santa Rita Polo Farm.
MARCH 1-11: $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament (Single-elimination).
MARCH: 1-26: Madelon Bourdieu Memorial (6 goal) and The Limited Edition 8-Goal Series; 1-25, The Top Pony 12-Goal Series; Women’s League, every Wednesday, 10 and 11 a.m.
MARCH 12: Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County, Inc. Celebrity Polo Charity Cup, 10 a.m.
MARCH 15-April 1: National 20-Goal; Santa Rita Abierto (Subs. Handicap).
APRIL 1-15: $100,000 World Cup Tournament (0-26 Goals), winner-take-all single elimination.
APRIL 1-25: Las Acacias (4-8 Goals), Women’s League, every Wednesday, 10 and 11 a.m.
APRIL 5-8: WCT Finals and Women’s Polo Week.
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.
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, Flexjet and first-year team Grand Champions-Casablanca. 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.