WELLINGTON, Fl., February 25, 2018---Dutta Corp was determined not to lose another big lead in the Top Pony 8-Goal Tournament during Saturday Polo at Grand Champions Polo Club.
By Sharon Robb
Dutta Corp (Nico Diaz Alberdi, 1, Timmy Dutta, 2, Lucas Diaz Alberdi, 5, Tim Dutta, 0) jumped out to 3-0, 5-2 and 8-2 leads in the opening three chukkers and never relented for a 14-7 victory over Smithfield.
Dutta Corp's only loss in the tournament was to Patagones which they also had a big lead only to lose late in the second half.
"Today we kept the lead all the time, never once did we fold," Timmy Dutta said. "From the beginning we wanted to jump on them early. We came back with a different plan. We practiced it a couple days before and focused what we were weak on. We came out stronger this time."
Timmy Dutta, 16, was named the game's Most Valuable Player. Dutta scored a team-high eight goals. Lucas Diaz Alberdi added three goals and Nico Diaz Alberdi had two goals. Santi Wulff led Smithfield with four goals and Julio Escurra added three.
"This was a huge win, we had to win to go to shootout," Dutta said.
Playing 8-goal is helping Dutta prepare for this week's Iglehart Cup. Dutta is the youngest member of Pilot that features brothers Gonzalito and Facundo Pieres and Curtis Pilot. Pilot plays La Indiana on Thursday at noon.
"This is a level where I have to have more of the ball and be a team player, instead of making space for my team in the high goal," Dutta said. "Here I have to slow it down and really play polo like the old times. I enjoy playing with my father, that is a big thing to me and family with the Alberdis because they are my family, too."
Dutta swept the game's top honors. Dutta's horse, Chelsea, a 9-year-old bred mare and previously ridden by Hall of Famer and former 10-goaler Memo Gracida, was named American Polo Horse Association Best registered horse for the game. Her groom was awarded $250 by American Polo Horse Association executive director Tiana Smicklas.
"Chelsea has been playing the high goal with me at IPC and here for a couple of years," Dutta said. "She has been playing amazing. I believe she is climbing and people are recognizing her. It's nicer getting Best Playing Pony because there are more horses on the field than players. There are a lot of quality horses out there especially here in Wellington. I'm happy she performed and was recognized."
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 Pepper, a 10-year old black thoroughbred ridden by Julio Escurra in the fourth chukker.
Dutta Corp improved to 2-1 and Smithfield is now 2-1. With Smithfield's loss, the only remaining undefeated team in the eight-team tournament is Altair Polo (2-0).
Also on Saturday, Altair Polo (Ashley Busch, Keko Magrini, Brandon Phillips, Henry Porter) defeated Valiente (1-2) (Kareem Rosser, Joseph Manheim, Mariano Gracida, Rob Joynavaz), 15-13. Phillips and Porter each had six goals. Magrini had three goals. Mariano Gracida scored a game-high nine goals.
Porter, the hero of GSA's 9-8 overtime victory over Colorado with the winning goal to send his team into Sunday's Ylvisaker Cup final against Valiente, turned hero again scoring two goals in the final chukker to lead his team.
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.