Valiente Captures Sterling Cup In Historical Game; Mia Cambiaso Game MVP; Adolfo Cambiaso Tournament MVP

 Sterling Cup champion Valiente players Adolfo, Poroto and Mia Cambiaso and Magoo Laprida.

Sterling Cup champion Valiente players Adolfo, Poroto and Mia Cambiaso and Magoo Laprida.

By Sharon Robb

WELLINGTON, Fl., March 24, 2018---On a perfect day for polo at Valiente Farm, history was made in the much-anticipated final of the prestigious Sterling Cup.

For the first time, the world's No. 1-ranked polo player Adolfo Cambiaso, 42, and two of his children, 15-year-old Mia and 12-year-old Poroto, won their first-ever high goal tournament together.

Valiente (Poroto Cambiaso, 1, Mia Cambiaso, 1, Magoo Laprida, 8, Adolfo Cambiaso, 10) knocked off one of the pre-tournament favorites Audi (Marc Ganzi, 2, Henry Porter, 2, Nic Roldan, 8, Nico Pieres, 8), 10-4, Friday in the 20-goal championship tournament.

"It was great fun," Adolfo Cambiaso said. "It was amazing. It was a good thing they played well and played safe. It's always the dream of a father to play with your kids as long as they enjoy it and have fun.

"I am just living in this moment. We have never played together anywhere like this in a competitive tournament. I don't know how good they are going to be, but at least today we had fun and enjoyed it and that's the main thing."

Mia Cambiaso was named the game's Most Valuable Player and Adolfo Cambiaso was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.

Valiente got balanced scoring. Adolfo Cambiaso and Laprida, making his Valiente team debut in the Sterling Cup, each had three goals. Mia and Poroto Cambiaso each scored two goals. Roldan led Audi with three goals, including two penalty conversions, and Pieres added one goal.

"This was really fun playing with my father and brother and honor to be MVP," said Mia Cambiaso, after winning her second MVP award in a U.S. tournament. "I do enjoy polo and I like horses. I have been playing a long time since I was a baby."

Mia Cambiaso was also MVP of the Santa Rita Handicap where she and her brother played for Valiente and won their first tournament as teammates in the U.S. in April 2017. Mia Cambiaso was also a member of La Dolfina, winners of the first Argentine Women's Open last November.

Poroto Cambiaso is a two-time MVP for Argentina in the 2017 and 2018 PTF International Cup at Grand Champions.

Mia and Poroto Cambiaso are believed to be the youngest players to win the Sterling Cup. No one was prouder of her family than wife of 17 years and mother of three Maria Vazquez watching the game from the players' tent.

"I am proud just to be their mother, that's my role here to watch that they are safe and happy," Vazquez said. "They are having their moment on the field but I have nothing to do with that.

"I am very proud of them as a mother. I think they are good kids. They are responsible and respectful to others. For me this is very normal because I see them play together at our farm. They have been playing together since they were very little. 

"For me it is not a big deal, but I know for them in the future if they decide to do this it is very important to remember at 12 years old he won a 20-goal final. 

"For Adolfo, as a father, he should be very proud because he had the opportunity to win it with his son and daughter. They just did their thing and enjoyed themselves. That's the good thing about polo. Family in polo is very important no matter the role whether you play or not, as long as they enjoy what they do and share time with us."

Like his son, Adolfo Cambiaso, then one-goal rated, won his first 20-goal tournament at age 12 with his father, Adolfo Sr. playing with La Martina in the Eduardo Heguy Cup in Argentina.

"It was the same for me, I was 12," Adolfo Cambiaso said. "I played with Rodrigo Rueda, my father and my brother. It was fun and that was my father's dream and now this is my dream.

"For them I really believe that people don't understand, the higher goal you play, it is easier and safer to play because of the quality of polo," Adolfo Cambiaso said. "People when in low goal they don't know where to go. You play against Nico and Nic, they know where to go, you don't need to crash anybody to play good polo. I know that the kids are going to be safe. Many patrons should understand that. You play higher, you are more safer, that is the way I see it.

Valiente never let Audi into the choppy game. Valiente led 1-0 and 3-1 in the first two chukkers. After a scoreless third chukker, Valiente led 4-1 at halftime. 

Valiente outscored Audi, 4-2, in the fourth and fifth chukkers for an 8-3 lead going into the final chukker. Audi, plagued with penalties, missed scoring opportunities and unforced errors, could never find its rhythm.

"I want to thank Magoo for playing with us today and Bauti Panelo who played pretty much the whole tournament with us," Adolfo Cambiaso said. "Bauti had the bad luck fall the other day and couldn't play for a week and that gave me the opportunity to play with my daughter." 

Laprida was impressed with his young teammates.

"It was a unique experience to play with the three of them," Laprida said. "They played amazing. I am really happy for them. I wasn't playing like that when I was 12, I was playing Nintendo. I am thankful I got the opportunity to play and that we won. It's nice to be part of history."

The Cambiaso family also swept all three polo pony honors.

The American Polo Horse Association best registered horse of the game was Bionica, played by Mia Cambiaso and owned by J5 Equestrian. The horse's groom received $100 from APHA executive director Tiana Smicklas.

The APHA was created in 2006 by the legendary Polo Hall of Famer Sunny Hale to recognize polo ponies in America and encourages events that showcase them and hard-working dedication of grooms. 

The Grand Champions Polo Club Best Playing Pony for the game was Dolfina El Boeing, a stallion played by Adolfo Cambiaso.

The Grand Champions Polo Club Best Playing Pony for the tournament was Julieta, played by Poroto Cambiaso.

The Sterling Cup is one of two historical tournaments that Grand Champions, the nation’s busiest and most innovative polo club, resurrected last year by club owners Melissa and Marc Ganzi after a 22-year absence in hopes of recapturing polo's glory days.

The Sterling Cup was the second tournament of the 22-goal season at Palm Beach Polo after the January Challenge Cup and last played in 1995. It was considered the 22-goal championship and attracted as many as eighteen teams.

It was first played in 1989 with Saniva B.G.K. winning the title. Other past winners include Pegasus, C.S. Brook, Grant’s Farm Manor, Revlon, Calumet Farm, Pony Express, Palm Beach Polo, Isla Carroll, White Birch and Travieso.

Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting, live-streamed the entire Sterling Cup.

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.