Alegria, Valiente Play Sunday For World Polo League Palm Beach Open Molina Cup At Valiente Polo Farm

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WELLINGTON, Fl., March 23, 2019---Alegria and Valiente, two talented teams with unlikely losing records, will meet Sunday at 11 a.m. for the Molina Cup at Valiente Polo Farm.

On a perfect day for polo, Alegria and Valiente advanced with victories on Friday at Grand Champions Polo Club and Jan Pamela Field.

"It's going to be fun," said Valiente's Bob Jornayvaz. "Freddie is playing well and that whole team with Gringo on it is a great team. It's going to be a fun game. I can't wait to play those guys."

Added Freddie Mannix of Alegria, "Let's do it, I'm ready to lift some silver."

At Jan Pamela Field, Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, 2, Agustin Nero, 6, Pelon Stirling, 10, Alejandro Taranco, 8) won its first game of the  Palm Beach Open with a hardfought 14-10 victory over Black Watch (Juan Cruz Merlos, 5, Nacho Figueras, 6, Pite Merlos, 8, Tommy Biddle, 5), coming off its stunning victory over Colorado.

"It's nice to win," Jornayvaz said. "We lost some close games. We had some fun, wide-open games and games we should have won. That's the way it works. That's why you play the game."

Valiente scored five goals (three from Stirling and two from Taranco) in the sixth chukker, including four unanswered goals in the last 3:22 minutes to clinch its long-awaited win. 

"The end was nice," Jornayvaz said. "We all came out on good, fresh horses and talked about what everyone was going to do. Everybody had a job to do. We came back and really got ourselves organized and played as a team. We missed some easy goals early-on. I think we should have been ahead but we weren't. You have to score those easy ones to make it count."

Valiente was led in scoring by Pelon Stirling with a game-high six goals. Alejandro (Jejo) Taranco added four goals, Agustin Nero had three and Bob Jornayvaz had one.

Nacho Figueras and Tommy Biddle shared scoring honors with three goals each. Pite Merlos added one goal. The team also received three goals on handicap.

"Finally, finally a win," Stirling said with a smile. "A win is a win. This is a good team but we were a little bit unlucky in the draw that we got the four teams that play the semis today. I think we gave them a good run. We lost a couple of good games. It was nice polo and we enjoyed it but we were unlucky with the results. It was a little frustrating.

"Today before the game we said hopefully today is the day that we are going to get a win," Stirling said. "It was a tough win. Black Watch played good polo. They are a tough team but at the end we managed to score the goals which was good. We are looking forward to Alegria, a tough four-man team, four strong professionals. We're going to give them a good run and hopefully get another win."

After knocking off Founders Cup champion Grand Champions in its tournament-opener, Alegria (Freddie Mannix, 8, Jesse Bray, 6, Gringo Colombres, 7, Juan Martin Obregon, 5) won its second game of the tournament with an 11-7.5 victory over Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, 0/Gussie Busch, 1, Alfredo Bigatti, 8, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 8, Pablo Spinacci, 6) at Grand Champions Polo Club.

"We are back in the win column," Mannix said. "We did what we had to do today to win. We've had quite a few games together and quite a few practices so we are in rhythm. We just ran into big old chain-saws (SD Farms, Colorado, Audi).

"We have a very energetic team," Mannix said. "Gringo is a powerful player, Jesse is coming into his own, Juan Martin is finding his position in the back and now I'm starting to score a few goals. The team is performing better."

Alegria overcame Flexjet's five-goal handicap lead outscoring Flexjet 8-5 after two chukkers. Alegria controlled the game in the first half not allowing Flexjet a goal from the field or penalty line. Flexjet found its offense in the second half but was unable to claw its way back.

With 4:02 left in the fourth chukker, Gussie Busch replaced Melissa Ganzi, who left the game with an elbow injury.

Juan Martin Obregon and Freddie Mannix shared scoring honors for Alegria with four goals each. Bray added two goals and Colombres had one goal. Alejandro Novillo Astrada led Flexjet with three goals.

The WPL is being live streamed on ESPN Deportes and ChukkerTV/Horseplay with Gus Whitelaw calling the action. For more information go to www.worldpolo.org.

Co-founded by Grand Champions owners Melissa and Marc Ganzi and Valiente Polo Farm owner Bob Jornayvaz, the World Polo League is the only 26-goal polo in the world outside of Argentina. The WPL is preserving the highest level of polo and its rich, hallowed tradition in the U.S. 

The WPL has its own set of simpler fan-friendly rules to improve the flow and action of the game.

The WPL, with tournament-quality fields to play on, includes the All-Star Challenge Draw Tournament, Founders Cup, Palm Beach Open and Triple Crown of Polo.

The World Polo League is open to other teams that wish to compete in one or more of the tournaments. Games are offered on the flat (Open) and on Handicap.

The World Polo League has attracted a large international field of players from all corners of the world  including Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Nigeria, Uruguay, New Zealand and U.S.

Grand Champions and Valiente are also launching the U.S. National Mixed Doubles Championship, featuring two men and two women with combined handicaps this month.

In addition to the World Polo League, season highlights for 2019 at Grand Champions are the Sterling Cup, $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament, John T. Oxley Memorial and $100,000 World Cup Tournament, a unique 0-40-goal, winner-take-all single-elimination tournament and WCT Final.

Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique 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 three polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball with plans to build more polo fields in the future.


Candace Ferreira