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Audi, Park Place Play For Triple Crown Of Polo Title Saturday At Grand Champions Polo Club

WELLINGTON, Fla., April 19, 2024---In what promises to be one of the best finals in World Polo League history, Park Place will take on defending champion Audi for the Triple Crown of Polo title Saturday at Grand Champions Polo Club.

By Sharon Robb

Photos by Candace Ferreira

The game begins at 4:15 p.m. after pre-game festivities.

In the opening semifinal, Audi (Marc Ganzi, 1, Paquito de Narvaez, 5, Jeta Castagnola, 10, Pablo MacDonough, 10) defeated Travieso (Teo Calle, 1, Mackie Weisz, 6, Nic Roldan, 8, Juan Martin Zubia, 9), 10-9, to remain undefeated.

In the second semifinal, Park Place (Andrey Borodin, 0, Juan Britos, 9, Hilario Ulloa, 10, Joaquin Panelo, 6) topped Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, 3, Hilario Figueras, 6, Rufino Bensadon, 8, Sapo Caset, 9), 11-8.

Audi, the only remaining undefeated team in the tournament, is going for its second WPL title. Audi won the All-Star Challenge with a 16-13 win over Kaia Polo. Park Place is also looking for a second win after capturing the Founders Cup with a 17-14 victory over La Irenita. Casablanca finishes the 2024 season with one title winning the Palm Beach Open with an 11-8 win over Travieso.

It will be a tournament rematch between the teams. Audi defeated Park Place, 10-9, in overtime in bracket play.

Audi played a high level of defense to control most of the game. After 2-2 and 3-3 first and second chukkers, Audi outscored Travieso, 5-1, behind balanced scoring in the third chukker for an 8-4 halftime lead.

Travieso outscored Audi, 5-2, in the second half including a fifth-chukker shutout, taking advantage of Audi's penalties and missed scoring opportunities.

Castagnola opened the sixth chukker with an 80-yard goal for a 10-7 lead. Travieso closed the gap to one goal with back-to-back penalty conversions from Roldan. Travieso ran out of time to rally with de Narvaez and MacDonough running out the clock.

Castagnola led scoring with a game-high five goals. Marc Ganzi had three and de Narvaez and MacDonough each had one goal. Roldan led Travieso with four goals. Weisz had two goals and Calle added one goal. Travieso picked up two goals on handicap.

At the half, Audi led shots on goal, 13-5 and throw-ins 6-5. For the game, Audi led in shots on goal, 22-14, and throw-ins 14-7. Travieso led knock-ins, 12-7. Audi committed nine fouls and Travieso had five.

It was the second game of the day for Ganzi. Audi (Milo MacDonough, 0, Dig Singh, 1, Martin Jauregui 6/Tomacho Pieres 6, Marc Ganzi, 1) defeated Riverview, 10-8, to advance into the National President's Cup final against (Dana Barnes, 0, Finn Secunda, 1, Cacu Marcos, 3, Lucas Escobar, 4) Sunday at noon at the National Polo Center.

After a 2-2 opening chukker, Park Place kept the pressure on and was in control of the next five chukkers.

With a great rotation Park Place led 5-4 after the second chukker and 7-4 at the half. While the teams played to a 4-4 second half, Casablanca's offense sputtered and went scoreless in the fifth chukker.

Park Place maintained a lead of two or three goals and even four goals (11-7 with 4:31 left in the game) for much of the second half. Bensadon scored a final goal with 32 seconds half. Unlike past games, Casablanca, a second-half team, could not claw its way back against Park Place's pressure defense.

Ulloa scored a game-high five goals for Park Place. Britos had three goals and Panelo added two. The team was awarded one goal on handicap. Caset led Casablanca with four goals and Bensadon had three. The team was also awarded a penalty-one.

At the half, Park Place led shots on goal, 7-3 and throw-ins, 7-4. Casablanca led fouls, 6-3. For the game, Park Place led shots on goal, 18-10, and throw-ins, 10-9. Casablanca led knock-ins, 8-3, and fouls, 8-5.

The crown jewel and fourth and final 26-goal tournament of the season, attracted eight teams for the two-week tournament.

In last year's Triple Crown of Polo, Audi (Marc Ganzi, 1, Jeta Castagnola, 10, Gonzalito Pieres, 9, Paco de Narvaez, 6) knocked off defending champion Pampa Norte Biotricity (Waqaas Al-Siddiq, 0, Facundo Llosa, 7, Gringo Colombres, 8, Pedro Falabella, 7), 18-14.

Castagnola was MVP for the second time in two tournament finals. Castagnola scored a game-high 11 goals and finished with 26 for the tournament. Audi finished the tournament undefeated at 5-0. The combined 32 goals broke the previous record of 31 for most goals scored in a single game this season.

The Triple Crown of Polo trophy is comprised of three separate trophies that fit perfectly together to create an entire polo scene that is breathtaking in sterling silver. The WPL tournament winners will be inscribed on the trophy.

The WPL, the winter season's biggest highlight, continues to make history as the only 26-goal polo played outside of Argentina.



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