World Polo League Palm Beach Open Begins Wednesday With Doubleheader, SD Farms Makes Debut
WELLINGTON, Fla., March 4, 2019---After two exciting overtime finishes in the first two tournament finals of the World Polo League's inaugural season, what will the storyline be for the Palm Beach Open that begins on Wednesday?
The World Polo League season continues with Opening Day of the Palm Beach Open featuring SD Farms making its debut in what promises to be another highly competitive tournament.
SD Farms, with team sponsor Sayyu Dantata and teammates Adolfo Cambiaso, Guillermo Terrera and Santi Torres, three of the WPL's hottest players, will make its WPL debut against Black Watch at 4 p.m. at Valiente Polo Farm Field 3.
In the opening game at 11 a.m., Alegria plays Founders Cup champion Grand Champions at Jan Pamela Field 3.
Dantata is passionate about polo. Rated as a 2-goaler in the U.S., Dantata has helped to cultivate the polo community in Nigeria. The Nigerian oil and gas businessman and American-educated (Morris Brown College in Atlanta) mechanical engineer, returned to his native Nigeria to develop the energy conglomerate that became MRS Holdings, Ltd, growing it into one of the nation’s largest companies and leading West African oil marketing firm.
Seven-goaler Gringo Colombres will also make his WPL debut with Alegria. Colombres is coming off an outstanding 20-goal season with Dutta Corp that won the Herbie Pennell Cup, Joe Barry Cup and Ylvisaker Cup with teammates 17-year-old Timmy Dutta, Lucas Diaz Alberdi and Kris Kampsen.
Valiente will have a new 26-goal lineup with Bob Jornayvaz, Alejandro Taranco, Agustin Nero and 10-goaler Pelon Stirling. Taranco and Stirling played for Scone in the first two tournaments that included a Powerhorse Cup subsidiary win in the Founders Cup on Sunday.
Stirling was leading scorer in the Founders Cup with 22 goals followed by Juan Martin Nero with 18 and Adolfo Cambiaso with 16.
With prize money on the line starting in the semifinals, eight teams will compete in bracket play to determine the two finalists for the March 24 championship at Grand Champions Field 2 at 4 p.m.
The top four teams in Bracket A are Grand Champions, SD Farms, Audi and Colorado.
The top four teams in Bracket B are Valiente, Alegria, Black Watch and Flexjet.
The brackets were determined during a fun draw at the iconic Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach. Old world history and prestige combined with the WPL's Palm Beach Open draw was a win-win for the large turnout of players, sponsors and fans.
The WPL is coming off two successful and fun tournaments in front of packed crowds. In the season-opener Valiente topped Colorado, 10-9, in overtime to win the All Star Challenge Draw Tournament at Grand Champions. Team sponsors were able to play with top-rated players that they normally would not play with.
For the second tournament, the Founders Cup, teams returned to their original WPL lineups that will compete in the remaining 26-goal tournaments.
Grand Champions, with two young up-and-coming players Grant Ganzi, 20, and Juan Bollini, 22, knocked off Valiente, 12-11, in overtime in another thriller that was decided in the first two minutes of sudden death with Juan Martin Nero scoring the game-winner.
"We have seen some great polo," WCT Commissioner Dale Smicklas said. "We have seen some thrilling games and some expected results as well as some upsets. And there is so much more ahead of us."
Team rosters are:
Alegria (26): Freddie Mannix, 8, Gringo Colombres, 7, Juan Martin Obregon, 5, Jesse Bray, 6.
Audi (26): Marc Ganzi, 2, Nic Roldan, 8, Pablo MacDonough, 10, Kris Kampsen, 6.
Black Watch (24): Nacho Figueras, 6, Pite Merlos, 8T, Juan Cruz Merlos, 5, Tommy Biddle, 5.
Colorado (25): Rob Jornayvaz, 2, Juan Martin Zubia, 7, Diego Cavanagh, 9, Jero del Carril, 7.
Flexjet (22): Melissa Ganzi, A, Pablo Spinacci, 6, Alfredo Bigatti, 8, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 8.
Grand Champions (26): Grant Ganzi, 3, Juancito Bollini, 4, Juan Martin Nero, 10, Rodrigo Andrade, 9.
SD Farms (26): Sayyu Dantata, 2, Santi Torres, 6, Guillermo Terrera, 8, Adolfo Cambiaso, 10.
Valiente (24): Bob Jornayvaz, 2, Alejandro Taranco, 8, Agustin Nero, 6T, Pelon Stirling, 10.
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 exciting new league, that offers major prize money starting in the semifinals, 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, including no yellow cards, to improve the flow and action of the game.
The WPL, with tournament-quality fields to play on, features the Feb. 19-March 3 Founders Cup, March 6-24 Palm Beach Open and March 27-April 14 Triple Crown of Polo.
The WPL game finals will be held Sundays on Field Two at Grand Champions at 4 p.m. and semifinal games at Valiente Polo Farm. Several games will also be held throughout the week at various times and fields. Admission is free along with food and refreshments at the featured Sunday games.
The World Polo League is open to other teams that wish to compete in one or more of the tournaments. Entries are still open and everyone is welcome to play. 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 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, March 1-31 $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament, March 1-16 John T. Oxley Memorial and March 3-24 $100,000 World Cup Tournament, a unique 0-40-goal winner-take-all single-elimination tournament and WCT Finals.
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.