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Santa Rita Wins Hall of Fame Cup; Nic Roldan Named Most Valuable Player

WELLINGTON, Fla., April 22, 2024---Santa Rita led from start to finish to win the Hall of Fame Cup for the second time in three  years Saturday at Grand Champions Polo Club.

By Sharon Robb

Photos by Candace Ferreira

Santa Rita (Pablo Spinacci, 5, Nic Roldan, 8, Nacho Novillo Astrada, 8, Juan Bollini 3) defeated Alegria (Cody Ellis, 5, Jason Crowder, 5, Tincho Merlos, 7, Fred Mannix, 7), 13-11.

Nic Roldan, the second highest ranked American player, was Most Valuable Player. Aiken (Ensenada Cuacura), played by Pablo Spinacci, and owned by Santa Rita Polo Farm, was Best Playing Pony.

Behind goals by Roldan and Astrada, Santa Rita jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the opening chukker.

Santa Rita picked up steam in the second and third chukkers for a 7-4 halftime lead. Alegria outscored Santa Rita, 2-1, to trail 8-6 after the fourth chukker. The final two chukkers were deadlocked at 3-3 and 2-2. Alegria outscored Santa Rita, 7-6, in the second half, but could get no closer.

Roldan scored a game-high seven goals, including six penalty conversions. Spinacci and Astrada each had three goals.

Merlos scored a team-high five goals for Alegria. Mannix had four goals and Ellis and Crowder each had one goal.

Roldan, fully recovered from a knee injury, came close to scoring from midfield but Mannix stopped it in front of the goal posts.

In 2022, Santa Rita (Melissa Ganzi, 0, Grant Ganzi, 3, Gonzalito Pieres, 10, Barto Castagnola, 9) defeated Grand Champions (Santos Bollini, 2, Marc Ganzi, 2, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 7, Juan Martin Nero, 10), 11-9.

The Hall of Fame Cup, a former subsidiary game for the U.S. Open created in February, 2000, benefits the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame, the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and sharing the history and traditions of the sport. Philanthropist Melissa Ganzi is on the Board of Directors and President.



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