Alegria Wins On Day Four Of Triple Crown Of Polo; Doubleheader On Thursday
WELLINGTON, Fl., April 4, 2019----Alegria won its first game of the World Polo League's Triple Crown of Polo Wednesday with a convincing win at blustery Jan Pamela Field.
Alegria (Freddie Mannix, 8, Jesse Bray, 6, Gringo Colombres, 7, Juan Martin Obregon, 5) dominated most of the game for a 16-12 victory over Black Watch (Juan Cruz Merlos, 5, Nacho Figueras, 6, Pite Merlos, 8/Lucas Lalor, 5, Tommy Biddle, 5).
Alegria had to dig itself out of a hole early when Black Watch started with a 3-0 lead on handicap. By the end of the first chukker, Alegria trailed by only one (5-4) on Bray's goal with 31 seconds left.
"We had a good team dinner last night at Franco's and we just said we know the style of play we wanted to play but we didn't want to make any more mistakes," Mannix said. "We can make physical mistakes but not try and make mental mistakes. Of course, we made a few but we made less and when you make less you play better."
Alegria tied the game, 6-6, with 4:27 left on another Bray goal. The teams tied twice (7-7 and 8-8) before Alegria went ahead, 9-8 on Obregon's 40-yard penalty conversion and never trailed after that.
"It was a tough start having a 3-0 deficit at the beginning," Obregon said. "But luckily we were able come out strong and maintain our focus and that's not easy to do for six chukkers. It was a game we had to play simple and keep our rhythm going and not let the other team take that from us."
Black Watch cut Alegria's lead to one, 11-10, in the fifth chukker after Figueras scored off a nice long pass from Biddle. But Alegria pulled away for a 13-10 lead behind back-to-back goals from Obregon and Bray. Alegria ended up outscoring Black Watch, 7-4, in the second half.
"The team is performing," Mannix said. "It's a long season. The horses are so fundamental to the game and we played a lot of games in a row. The first game of the Triple Crown we played against Valiente. The horses were a bit flat, we were a bit flat. Valiente is serious business so you have to play awesome to beat them.
"Today you could tell the horses had a little more go in them and we had a little more go," Mannix said. "We have a big game now ahead, nothing is impossible. We will be putting all the guns pointed at that game."
Alegria is 1-1 and Black Watch is 0-2 in Bracket I play.
"This was one of the most important games we had to win to keep our hopes alive," Obregon said. "Our next game is very difficult but we have to go in with a killer attitude and try to keep our rhythm."
Bray led Alegria in scoring with a team-high six goals. Obregon had five goals, Colombres had three and Mannix added two goals.
"I think we are a team with four guys and when we play well we win," Bray said. "We don't have that 10-goal player that everybody else might so for us we all have to play well together and help each other out. Every game we are getting to know each other a little more."
Biddle led Black Watch with six goals including five penalty conversions. Figueras had two goals and Juan Cruz Merlos added one goal.
Two games are scheduled for Thursday. Mandarina plays WPL at 11 a.m. at Grand Champions Polo Club Field One. Colorado and Valiente renew their J5 Equestrian rivalry at 4 p.m. at Valiente Polo Farm Field Three.
Grand Champions and Valiente are launching the U.S. National Mixed Doubles Championship, featuring two men and two women with combined handicaps set for Friday, April 5 at a Valiente Polo Farm Field One at 4:30 p.m.
Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, Mia Novillo Astrada, Mia Cambiaso, Adolfo Cambiaso) will play Audi (Marc Ganzi, Pablo MacDonough/Juan Martin Nero, Nina Clarkin, Mili Sanchez) in the unique event.
The WPL is being live streamed on ESPN Deportes and ChukkerTV/Polo Channel/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, features the All-Star Challenge Draw Tournament, Founders Cup, Palm Beach Open and Triple Crown of Polo. The WPL is open to 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 Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Nigeria, New Zealand, Uruguay and U.S.
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.