WELLINGTON, Fl., April 9----Deeridge, one of the tournament underdogs, knocked off San Saba, 12-7 on Day 5 of the $100,000 World Cup Saturday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
The seven-goal rated team with 14-year-old Will Jacobs, 16-year-old Santos Bollini, Lucas Lalor and Wes Finlayson, took San Saba’s Dawn Jones, Luis Saracco, Tomas Garbarini and Luis Echezarreta out of its game to win the final game of the first round of the 16-team, winner-take all single-elimination tournament.
Deeridge is one of eight teams to advance into the second round that opens on Monday with three games. At 10 a.m. GSA plays Palm Beach Illustrated on Field One at Grand Champions; at 12:30 p.m. La Dalila meets Orchard Hill on Field Two at Grand Champions and at 4 p.m. Valiente II will meet Sebucan at Valiente Polo Farm.
On Tuesday, Deeridge will face Valiente I, led by 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso, at 11 a.m. at Valiente Polo Farm.
In Saturday’s featured game, Deeridge was spotted a six-goal lead on handicap and added six more, including three by Finlayson, the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Despite shutting out Deeridge in the third, fourth and fifth chukkers, San Saba couldn’t take advantage to erase its deficit.
Five-goaler Tomas Garbarini had three goals and four-goaler Luis Saracco and Jones each had two.
“I am very proud and happy for the team,” saidformer 8-goaler and Deeridge coach Juan Bollini. “I am very proud of the kids and now they are going to play Cambiaso. How many chances are they going to have to play Cambiaso, the best player ever in the game?
“This is fantastic for all of them,” Bollini said. “The strategy for the team was to hold the ball whenever possible. When you have so many goals in your favor, you want to have the ball. The longer the ball is with you, the other team is not going to score.
“I think the strategy between Lucas and Wes was very smart to hold it and then release it when they saw Santos and Will.”
Jacobs, a minus-one player, held his own against more experienced players. Jacobs, a product of The Polo School at Grand Champions, iced the victory carrying the ball 200 yards past defenders to score the final goal after a two well-hit approach shots.
“The goal he scored was incredible. For Will to play at this level of polo is amazing and I think he was in the game,” said Bollini, Director of The Polo School. “He has been playing for two years only. He stepped up to play this level of polo. I think he got a lot of confidence stick-and-ball riding with Lucas and Jesse Bray. I think our program is working and paying off and I am very proud of the organization.”
Deeridge outscored San Saba, 2-0 in the second chukker and 3-1 in the final chukker and led 9-3 at the half.
“I was really happy,” Jacobs said. “From the start I knew we would probably pull through. I knew it would be tough. This is definitely one of my bigger wins. I have been putting in the practice time. I am just going to enjoy playing Valiente. Cambiaso is pretty big.”
Canela, an 8-year-old gray mare, ridden by Echezarreta and owned by Dawn Jones of San Saba, was named American Polo Horse Association Best Playing Pony. Her groom Marvy earned $250.
Created in 2006 by legendary polo pioneer Sunny Hale, the association recognizes polo ponies in America and encourages events that showcase them.
In each World Cup game, a horse that is registered with the APHA, will be selected BPP and its groom given $250. For theApril 15 final, a BPP for the final and BPP for the overall tournament, will be selected and each groom will earn $2,500.
Canela was ridden by Hale, competing for San Saba with Jones, Melissa Ganzi and Clarissa Echezarreta at the 2016 USPA U.S. Women’s Open in Texas last November and was one of her favorites.
The World Cup is the second of two classic and prestigious tournaments that Grand Champions owners and high goal polo players Melissa and Marc Ganzi are reviving thanks to the generosity of Glenn Straub of Palm Beach Polo, where they were last played in the late 1990s. The first tournament they revived was the Sterling Cup.
The prestigious World Cup is a tournament steeped in history. American businessman and polo player Bill Ylvisaker, then CEO of a Fortune 200 battery company in Chicago, created the Gould World Polo Championship with a prize purse of $150,000.
It was first held in 1976 at the Butler Polo Grounds in Oak Brook, Illinois.
Ylvisaker's staff sent out invitations to countries all over the world known to have top-ranked pro polo teams.Three teams from the United States were recruited and joined Mexico, India, England and Argentina in the field. The inaugural event was won by Argentina, attracted great crowds and was deemed a success.
In 1977, Ylvisaker bought 2,000 acres to develop a polo resort. The Palm Beach Polo and Country Club was built with 14 polo fields and soon became the polo capital of the world.
The first season at the new club featured the $150,000 Michelob World Cup Polo Championship. Held April 3-15, it was the highlight of the season attracting top players and sponsors from around the world. Back then it was the world’s richest and premier polo event and one of the most significant polo championships.
In 1988, Landmark purchased the club for $25 million and continued the club’s growth until it was sold at auction in 1993 to Straub.
The tournament is being live-streamed on Wellington-based ChukkerTV, worldwide leaders in polo broadcasting.
Grand Champions Polo Club, with 11 polo fields, 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 in all walks of life opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November.
2017 GRAND CHAMPIONS WINTER SCHEDULE
(Subject to change because of weather and scheduling conflicts).
APRIL: $100,000 World Cup Tournament (0-26 Goals), APRIL 4-15: $100,000 World Cup Tournament (0-26 Goals), single- elimination: Monday, 10 a.m., GSA vs. Palm Beach Illustrated, GCPC Field 1; 12:30 p.m., La Dalila vs. Orchard Hill, GCPC Field 2; 4 p.m. Valiente II vs. Sebucan at Valiente Polo Farm; Tuesday, 11 a.m., Valiente I at Deeridge at Valiente Polo Farm.
APRIL: Las Acacias (4-8 Goals).
APRIL 21-23: GCPC Abierto.
APRIL 28-30: USPA Eastern Challenge.
MAY 5-7: USPA Sun Cup
MAY 12-14: The Spring Challenge Cup.
MAY 19-21: Polo Gear Invitational.
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.
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 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.