WELLINGTON, Fl., February 18, 2018---Beverly Equestrian won its ninth consecutive game with an impressive 13-5 victory over Goose Creek/GSA in the Sieber Memorial 12-Goal Tournament during Saturday Polo at Grand Champions Polo Club.
By Sharon Robb
On one of the club's busiest days and in front of a good local crowd, Beverly Equestrian (Bill Ballhaus, 0, Hilario Figueras, 2, Tolito Ocampo, 4, Juan Martin Obregon, 5) jumped out to a quick 4-0 advantage after two chukkers against Goose Creek/GSA (Maureen Brennan, 1, Henry Porter, 2, Santino Magrini, 3, Pike Gonzales, 5) and never relinquished the lead.
"We have been playing with the same team at 10-and 12-goal so we have had a chance to get to really know each other and get a system down," said team sponsor Bill Ballhaus. "Over the last nine games we have learned about each other and played well as a team."
Juan Martin Obregon, 26, was named Most Valuable Player. Obregon has filled in for starter Carlucho Arellano in the last three games. Arellano is recovering from a bone bruise on his collarbone and expected to return to the lineup this week. Obregon, the second to youngest, is from a family of six and one of three polo-playing brothers.
"Carlucho has great horses, he is very well-mounted," Obregon said. "It's always easy when you have a good string. Carlucho should be back and I can see this team in the final with him. They have been doing really well even without me when Carlucho was playing. This is their ninth straight win in 12- and 10-goal."
Added Ballhaus, "We are fortunate because Juan Martin fit in exactly the way Carlucho does. It's in the DNA and he just fit well. He knows our system and so when he came in he was able to slide right in and we didn't miss a beat."
Ocampo scored a game-high six goals and Obregon scored four goals. Figueras added three goals. Gonzales led Goose Creek/GSA with four goals and Brennan added one.
Beverly Equestrian led 6-2 at the half and 11-4 to start the sixth chukker.
"We didn't expect that score at all," Obregon said. "Goose Creek/GSA is a really good team. We just happen to start well and played well and that resulted in the score. It's mainly whoever makes the less mistakes is usually the team that wins. I think we dominated on their mistakes a lot and we played our game well."
Beverly Equestrian is 3-0 and has the weekend to prepare for the March 2 semifinals. Beverly Equestrian has also defeated Limited Edition Series 12-Goal champion Palm Beach Equine and Valiente.
"If we keep getting better and if we keep sticking to our system, keep improving and working together as a team, whatever happens, happens," Ballhaus said.
Tormenta, a bay mare ridden by Porter, was named American Polo Horse Association Best registered horse for the game. His groom was awarded $250 by American Polo Horse Association executive director Tiana Smicklas.
The APHA was created in 2006 by the legendary Sunny Hale to recognize polo ponies in America and encourages events that showcase them and hard-working dedication of grooms. Hale was inducted recently posthumously into the Polo Hall of Fame.
The Grand Champions Polo Club Best Playing Pony was Cinco, owned and ridden by Brennan.
The Sieber Memorial 12-Goal Tournament features nine teams. GSA, youngest and one of the most talented teams in club history, won last year's Sieber Memorial 12-Goal title. The foursome of Henry Porter, Santino Magrini, Juan Martin Zubia and Torito Ruiz defeated Patagones (Joaquin Avendano, Tavi Usandizaga, Benjamin Avendano, Santi Wulff, Santiago Avendano), 11-4 in the final. Porter was named Most Valuable Player.
The tournament is named in honor of polo player Rob Sieber, who died in a polo-related accident 32 years ago at Oak Brook, Ill. Members of the Sieber family annually attend the tournament and participate in the awards ceremony.
In the Margaret Sieber Memorial Handicap final, Cria Yatay (Bill Ballhaus, Hilario Figueras, Inaki Laprida, Marcos Garcia del Rio) defeated Audi, 12-10, (Teo Calle, Pablo Pulido, Tomas Pieres, Stewart Armstrong). Laprida was MVP.
Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique 100-acre 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 polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation and stick-and-ball fields.
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.
The club features monthly 6, 8 and 12-goal tournaments and women's weekly league play during the winter season in addition to two 16-20 tournaments, $50,000 National 12 Goal, $100,000 World Cup winner-take-all 0-40-goal tournament, WCT Tournament and USPA National President's Cup.
During the 2017 winter season Grand Champions attracted a record 72 teams and another 18 teams during the spring season.
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.