WELLINGTON, FL., January 11, 2018---Three years ago, Timmy Dutta came to Grand Champions Polo Club with a dream. Today, he is living it.
At 16, Dutta is one of the club's success stories after starting out in its 6-, 8- and 12-goal leagues and now is one of the sport's young rising stars.
On Wednesday, Dutta joined his father and mentor, Tim Dutta and brothers Lucas and Nico Diaz Alberdi for the highly-anticipated 2018 winter season opener at Santa Rita Polo Farm.
Dutta Corp defeated Newport's foursome of Juanse Olivera, Santos Bollini, Lucas Arellano and Tommy Alberti, 12-8, in the Aspen Valley Cup 8-Goal league's opening game. Lucas Diaz Alberdi, 21, led scoring with five goals and Dutta and Nico Diaz Alberdi, 15, each had three goals. Tommy Alberti led Newport with five goals.
Dutta Corp will also compete in the club's Limited Edition 12-Goal League with father and son, former 10-goaler Piki Diaz Alberdi, who has guided and coached the teenager in Wellington and Argentina, and Carlitos Gracida, the son of legendary Hall of Famer Carlos Gracida.
In the next few days, Dutta will compete with Pilot teammates Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres and Curtis Pilot in the Joe Barry Cup against Coca-Cola. The foursome lost their tournament opener to Travieso, another team featuring father and son Teo and Tony Calle, that got its start in the U.S. at Grand Champions. It was Dutta's IPC stadium debut.
"It starts at the bottom at 6-goal, 8-goal, the low goal playing with your friends and your family," said Dutta, who played 20-goal at Grand Champions last year with Piki Diaz Alberdi, Matias Magrini and Gracida. "Then you move up. Every step is a new step for me. Now I need to get to the next step to get better."
Dutta, a sophomore and honors student at #1 Education Place in Wellington, has some lofty goals for the future.
"I want to win, I always want to win," Dutta said. "That's my personality and my attitude. I will do what I have to do to win."
Dutta is continuing to play the medium goal tournaments at Grand Champions to hone his skills and learn from older players.
"I like playing with the Pieres brothers, they are a great bunch of guys," Dutta said. "I am learning their system. They have their own system. It's very interesting. I am having fun and playing polo."
Dutta said it's like comparing apples and oranges when it comes to playing the medium and high goal games.
"Playing with my family is fun for me, we played in Argentina," Dutta said. "Being family you have natural chemistry. You can have fun with the ball and I get to play with my father. For me I am practicing with the ball so when I get to the 20 I don't want to make mistakes. At the end of the day, when you make mistakes it's a goal at that level."
Tim Dutta started playing polo in India. After a 20-year hiatus to raise his family and build a successful company, he returned to the game when his son started playing at age 12 at Grand Champions. Dutta Corp is one of the winningest teams in Grand Champions 11-year history.
"We were working towards this opportunity that Mr. Pilot and Pieres brothers gave Timmy, it's huge," Dutta said. "I have the same attitude about him today when I watch him play high goal. He is a tiger, he fights for the ball. I really love playing with him especially now with Lucas and Nico. We are family."
The Dutta and Alberdi families spent three months playing together in Argentina. The chemistry was evident in Wednesday's game. Dutta Corp took a 7-4 lead and pulled away in the second half.
"These games we use as practice, this is family and the kids play together," Dutta said. "Lucas is captaining the team. Timmy and Nico are the power and I sit in the back and close the door as I usually do. It's a lot of youth. At 52, I am the grandfather.
"We are back on the fitness program. We played a few practice games with Piki and we are looking forward to the season."
While IPC games were rained out on Wednesday, the field played well for players and horses.
"It was a good opening day for the club today," said Grand Champions polo manager Juan Olivera. "We made it happen."
Fifteen teams will compete in this month's 6-goal Metropolitan Cup, 8-goal Aspen Valley Cup and The Limited Edition 12-Goal Series tournaments at the nation's largest and innovative USPA-sanctioned polo club nestled in the heart of the world's winter polo capital.
Six teams, featuring some of the sport's top players, will compete in the Limited Edition 12-Goal Series tournament that begins Friday with a doubleheader. Beverly Equestrian plays Palm Beach Equine at 1 p.m. and Patagones plays Sebucan at 3 p.m.
Five teams are competing in the Metropolitan Cup 6-Goal League which begins Saturday with a doubleheader. Aspen Valley Polo Club plays Deer Ridge at 10 a.m.and The Polo School plays Grand Champions at 11:30 a.m.
The weekly Women's League, created by Alina Carta and Melissa Ganzi and made its debut last year at Santa Rita also got underway on Wednesday and will continue throughout the season every Wednesday. Eight players competed and more are expected in the coming weeks.
Season highlights for 2018 are the Feb. 21-March 17 Sterling Cup, March 1-10 $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament, March 14-31 John T. Oxley 16-20 Goal Memorial and April 1-14 $100,000 World Cup Tournament, a unique winner-take-all single-elimination tournament.
During the 2017 winter season the club attracted a record 72 teams and another 18 teams during the spring season. The club hopes to equal or top that success in 2018.
Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and three polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball with plans to build more polo fields in the future.
Grand Champions 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 Club Hotline is 561-644-5050. It will be updated every day at 8 a.m. for both players and fans.