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Newport Early Leader After Day One Of Casablanca Spring Challenge

WELLINGTON, Fla., May 11, 2024--- Newport, looking for its second consecutive spring tournament victory, took the early lead Friday in the Casablanca Spring Challenge at Grand Champions Polo Club.

By Sharon Robb

Newport (Pablo Spinacci, 6, Gene Goldstein, 0, Fred Mannix, 7, Tommy Collingwood, 5) defeated Santa Rita (Rebecca Cohen, -1, Jason Crowder, 5, Nic Roldan, 8, Juan Bollini, 3), 8-4, and tied SebiLion (Sebastian Mandelbaum, -1, Sugar Erskine, 6, Leo Mandelbaum, 3, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 7), 4-4.  In the other three-chukker match, SebiLion edged Santa Rita, 5-4.

The scores will carry over into Sunday's championship final at 10 a.m.


Newport, which won last weekend's Santa Rita Albierto, came out strong. Newport broke open a close game (2-2) with a 4-2 second chukker for a 6-4 lead and went on to shut out Santa Rita, 2-0, in the third and final chukker. Spinacci and Mannix each had three goals, including two each in the second chukker. Mannix also converted a safety-60.


Led by teenager Sebastia Mandelbaum, SebiLion rallied in the third chukker for the win. Mandelbaum led with four goals including three in the final chukker. Santa Rita was leading 3-2 behind Cohen's two goals but was outscored 3-1 by SebiLion. Leo Mandelbaum added one goal.


With both teams playing well in the third and final round robin matchup, it was inevitable the teams would tie. Goldstein converted a 30-yard penalty in the final seconds to tie the game. Mannix had two goals and Goldstein and Collingwood each had one. Astrada had two goals and Erskine and Sebastian Mandelbaum each had one.

In the Just For The Love Of It Cup, Grand Champions (Tito Gaudenzi, Tomacho Pieres, Juan Bollini, Jonny Castillo) and Aspen (Phil Gutman, Sugar Erskine, Tucu Paz, Pablo Spinacci) tied, 5-5, in a four-chukker round robin. Spinacci and Gaudenzi each had three goals. The scores also carry over into Sunday's final at 12:30 p.m.

In last year's final, Casablanca (Melissa Ganzi, 0, Riley Ganzi, 0, Nic Roldan, 8, Grant Ganzi, 3) held on for a thrilling 14-13 victory over Newport (Gene Goldstein, 0, Tomacho Pieres, 6, Marc Ganzi,1, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 7). Riley Ganzi was named Most Valuable Player. Mother and daughter combined for 12 of Casablanca's 14 goals.

Title sponsor Casablanca is recognized as the world's foremost producer of leading edge polo equipment and luxury clothing, worn by polo players around the world. Whether it's on the polo field or beyond the sideboards, its' goal is to have you look and feel your best through each of life's many chukkers. Grant Ganzi is Brand Ambassador for Casablanca, one of Grand Champions most supportive sponsors.

Casablanca's distinctive logo is the flight of two pony's tails, charging the field in pursuit of victory, a true symbol of the joy and exhilaration experienced by both players and spectators.

Several top and up-and-coming players and patrons are competing during the fun and competitive spring league. It is geared towards improving polo skills and having fun.

The remaining spring schedule (subject to change because of weather) is: May 17-19, Eastern Challenge and May 24-27, The Memorial.



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