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Newport Wins Casablanca Spring Challenge Title; Gene Goldstein Named MVP

WELLINGTON, Fla., May 13, 2024--- Newport won its second consecutive spring polo tournament Sunday at Grand Champions Polo Club.


By Sharon Robb

Photos by Candace Ferreira


Newport (Gene Goldstein, 0, Pablo Spinacci, 6,  Fred Mannix, 7, Tommy Collingwood, 5) clinched the win with an 11-8 victory over SebiLion (Sebastian Mandelbaum, -1, Sugar Erskine, 6, Leo Mandelbaum, 3, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 7).



Newport won the Santa Rita Abierto last weekend.


In other three-chukker round robin matchups, Newport defeated Santa Rita (Rebecca Cohen, -1, Jason Crowder, 5, Nic Roldan, 8, Juan Bollini, 3), 13-8, and SebiLion topped Santa Rita, 9-6. The scores carried over from opening day action on Friday.


Gene Goldstein, who scored five goals during the two-day tournament, was named Most Valuable Player.


Ensenada Cuacura, also known as Aiken, an 8-year-old chestnut mare played by Pablo Spinacci and owned by Santa Rita Polo Farm, was Best Playing Pony.


NEWPORT 13, SANTA RITA 8

Trailing 8-4 Santa Rita knew it would be an uphill battle, but kept it closer in second day action, losing 5-4 in the final three chukkers. Santa Rita outscored Newport, 3-1, in the third and final chukker but Newport continued its dominance behind Mannix's four goals. Cohen led her team with two goals.


SEBILION 9, SANTA RITA 6

SebiLion led 5-4 going in and played with confidence. Led by Sebastian Mandelbaum and Alejandro Novillo Astrada, each scoring two goals, SebiLion never relinquished its lead. Sebastian Mandelbaum finished with six goals over two days. SebiLion shut out Santa Rita, 2-0, in the third and final chukker.



NEWPORT 11, SEBILION 8

Newport entered the final round robin tied with SebiLion, 4-4. The teams battled to a 2-2 opening chukker for a 6-6 tie. Newport, playing well as a team, shut out SebiLion 3-0 in the second chukker, behind Spinacci's two goals, including an outstanding back shot from the near side, and one by Goldstein for a 9-6 lead. Newport scored four unanswered goals over the second and third chukkers. SebiLion was unable to recover in the third chukker with a 2-2 finish.


The final of the Just For The Love Of It Cup featuring Grand Champions (Tito Gaudenzi/Joelle Wyser Pratt, Tomacho Pieres, Juan Bollini, Jonny Castillo) and Aspen (Phil Gutman, Sugar Erskine, Tucu Paz, Pablo Spinacci) is set for Tuesday at 5 p.m. The teams are tied 5-5 after opening day action on Friday.


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.


During the winter polo season, Grand Champions Polo Club, the nation's largest and most innovative USPA-sanctioned polo club nestled in the heart of the world's winter equestrian capital, celebrating its 17th anniversary, hosts a wide range of tournaments: 6, 8, 12, 20, and 26-goal leagues, The Polo School Women's Polo League, WCT Finals, several PTF junior tournaments, World Polo League, World Polo League Pride and Sunset Chukkers & Cocktails at both Grand Champions and Santa Rita.


Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique private 102-acre polo facility in Wellington with 212 stalls in nine self-contained barns, two tracks, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and four polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation and short work arena. The club has 11 well-manicured world-class fields at GCPC and Santa Rita.


Grand Champions Polo Club 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 Polo School, now located at the former Pony Express facility, operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. The stand-alone USPA-sanctioned polo club is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. The Polo School has nurtured several junior, men and women polo players now playing in the pro and amateur ranks since its inception.


For more information on leagues or Polo School contact Director of Operations Juan Bollini at  561-346-1099 or Polo Manager Cale Newman at 561-876-2930.

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