By Sharon Robb
WELLINGTON, Fl., March 17, 2018--The John T. Oxley Memorial Tournament kicks off Monday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
The second 16-20-goal tournament of the season features six teams competing over two weeks. Travieso, coming off the Sterling Cup semifinals before losing to Valiente, opens the tournament on Monday morning at 10 a.m. on Field One against Palm Beach Polo, a new team and one of the pre-tournament favorites.
The players and rosters are:
Audi: Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Nico Pieres, TBA.
Dutta Corp: Tim Dutta, Timmy Dutta, Piki Diaz Alberdi, Matias Magrini.
Grand Champions/U.S. Polo Assn.: Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Mike Azzaro.
Palm Beach Polo: Henry Porter, Santino Magrini, Gringo Colombres, Magoo Laprida.
Travieso: Teo Calle, Tony Calle, Sebastian Merlos, Tomas Garcia del Rio.
Valiente: Juan Bollini, Pablo Spinacci, Jesse Bray, Roberto Zedda.
The last John T. Oxley Memorial tournament winner was Postage Stamp Farm in March 2016. The foursome of Annabelle Gundlach, Tommy Collingwood, Brandon Phillips and MVP Jeff Blake defeated Dutta Corp (Timmy Dutta, Mariano Gracida, Carlitos Gracida, Piki Diaz Alberdi), 7-5. It was the new team's first 16-20 goal tournament win.
John T. Oxley was a pioneer in polo. The founder of the now-defunct Royal Palm Polo Sports Club in Boca Raton played polo well into his 80s. He started playing at age 46 and won the U.S. Open twice, Sunshine League, Rolex Gold Cup, Monty Waterbury and Silver Cup.
At age 83, Oxley became the oldest player ever to win a major polo event when his team won the International Gold Cup. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994. Oxley died of a heart attack at his summer home in Tulsa, Okla. in 1996. He was 87.
Oxley made his fortune in the oil business, beginning as a clerk for a Tulsa wildcatter before starting his own business and pioneering the use of natural gas. He later sold Oxley Petroleum to the Allied Chemical Corp.
Oxley saw his first polo match as a youth in Tulsa while courting Mary, the woman who became his wife. The two often rode horseback together and were married in 1935. Mrs. Oxley, known locally as the "first lady of polo," died in 1987 of a stroke.
"[Polo) requires 100 percent concentration and keeps you fit physically and mentally," Oxley said in a 1992 interview. "There's no sport that requires the timing this sport requires. It's an anticipation type of game. You don't wait till the play's made, then try to make it."
Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting, will live stream the John T. Oxley Memorial.
Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique private 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.