By Sharon Robb
WELLINGTON, FL—May 12, 2018----Dutta Corp will play for its third tournament title of the spring season on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Grand Champions Polo Club.
Standing in its way for the Spring Challenge Cup is Aspen Valley (Melissa Ganzi, 0, Javier Herrera, 1/Marc Ganzi, 2, Grant Ganzi, 2, Nacho Novillo Astrada, 8) winners of Friday afternoon's round robin with a 5-3.5 victory over Sebucan (Josh DuBarry, 0, Pablo Pulido, 2, Julio Gracida, 4, Pablo Dorignac, 5) and 5-5 tie with Grand Champions (Jeff Desich, 0, Carlitos Gracida, 4, Lucas Lalor, 5, Juan Bollini, 5).
Dutta Corp (Timmy Dutta, 1, Lucas Diaz Alberdi, 5, Piki Diaz Alberdi, 7, Tim Dutta, 0), the club's most dominant team during the spring season, defeated Newport (Juancito Bollini, 4, Gene Goldstein, 1, Brandon Phillips, 5, Kris Kampsen, 6), 11-8, Friday morning. Dutta Corp has already won the Santa Rita Abierto and Sun Cup. Sebucan won the other tournament, the USPA Eastern Challenge.
It will be a special Mother's Day weekend for Grand Champions President and USPA Florida Circuit Governor Melissa Ganzi, the only woman in the tournament. Ganzi teamed up with her husband, Marc, and son, Grant, for the first time in competitive tournament history. Melissa Ganzi scored a tournament-high six goals in six chukkers. Marc Ganzi scored two goals and Nacho Novillo Astrada added one goal.
Aspen Valley played well to earn its appearance in the championship final. In the third and decisive game, Aspen Valley took an early lead in the opening chukker and never relinquished it. Grant Ganzi and Astrada both turned away goal attempts by Dorignac
DuBarry's goal to open the third chukker cut the lead to 4-3.5 but Melissa Ganzi scored an insurance goal late in the chukker.
In the opening game, Dutta Corp got balanced scoring and never trailed in the game after opening with a three-goal lead on handicap.
Newport came within one goal, 7-6, when Goldstein scored early in the fifth chukker but Dutta Corp regained its offensive composure behind back-to-back goals by Piki Diaz Alberdi. Newport could get no closer than two goals for the remainder of the game.
"It was a tough game for us, they played very well," Piki Diaz Alberdi said. "They played as a team very well. They used Gene a lot and he scored a lot of goals.
"But we are happy. We knew we had three goals on handicap and it helped our confidence. We tried some new plays with Tim and Timmy. Of course, we want to win but for us we also wanted to learn how to play as a team. The field played fantastic and we are in the final so we are happy."
Piki Diaz Alberdi scored a game-high four goals. Lucas Diaz Alberdi and Timmy Dutta each had two goals.
"This is the time to put to use everything we learned all season," Timmy Dutta said. "Taking knock-ins, hitting penalties, playing with the ball making mistakes and learning from mistakes. It's very important for me to learn."
At 16, Dutta will be the youngest player in the final.
"We are an underdog team, but we come with power," Dutta said. "We may be like a little chihuahua but we have big bites. I want to win. I am very hungry. Whenever I play polo I don't want to be just there to play, I want to win. I also enjoy playing the sport. I would really like to win it for my mom for Mother's Day."
For Newport, Gene Goldstein scored a game-high five goals including three consecutive goals.
The Mother's Day Cup subsidiary game is scheduled for Sunday at 11 a.m. with ChukkerTV (Josh DuBarry, Nacho Novillo Astrada, Pablo Dorignac, Julio Gracida), Grand Champions (Jeff Desich, Juan Bollini, Carlitos Gracida, Lucas Lalor) and Newport (Gene Goldstein, Juancito Bollini, Brandon Phillips, Kris Kampsen).
The Spring Challenge is the fourth of six tournaments and halfway point of the season.
Last year Audi (Marc Ganzi, Guille Aguero, Lucas Lalor, Pablo Dorignac), playing together as a team for the first time, won the Spring Challenge Cup title. Audi defeated Newport (Gene Goldstein, Rich Desich, Julio Arellano, Juancito Bollini), 10-8, to win its first tournament of the spring season. Desich was named MVP.
Dutta Corp (Carlitos Gracida, Timmy Dutta, Piki Diaz Alberdi, Tim Dutta) won the subsidiary game with an 8-5 victory over Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Jason Crowder, Grant Ganzi, Mariano Uranga). Alberdi was MVP.
Several top and up-and-coming players and patrons compete during the fun and competitive GCPC Spring Invitational League that features six 12-16-goal tournaments in April and May.
During the Grand Champions’ spring season, amateur polo players get the chance to play with and against some of the world’s top professional polo players.
The GCPC spring league features: medium goal practice games at least once a week; stick-and-ball sessions available during the week; teams get two medium goal tournament games every weekend; ambulance and umpires for all tournament games; complete turn-key tournament polo with some of the top pros in the world; playing polo on some of Wellington’s most prestigious and well-manicured fields; club-sponsored social events every weekend for all players; and excellent trophies for all teams every weekend.
The spring season is being live-streamed on Wellington-based ChukkerTV.
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 10 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 0-26 goal tournament, Sunny Hale's Legacy WCT Final 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.
2018 Spring Schedule
(Subject to change because of weather and scheduling conflicts).
Spring Challenge Cup Final, Saturday, 11 a.m., Dutta Corp vs. Aspen Valley.
Mother's Day Cup, Sunday, 11 a.m., subsidiary round robin, ChukkerTV, Grand Champions and Newport.
May 18-20: Polo Gear Invitational.
May 25-28: The Memorial