Dutta Corp Knocks Off Audi To Win First Fall Tournament At Grand Champions
Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Grand Champions Polo Club
Dutta Corp, making its second championship final appearance, won its first fall tournament of the season Sunday at windswept Grand Champions Polo Club.
Playing well together, Tim Dutta, Martin Estrada, JJ Celis and Wes Finlayson dominated Audi for five chukkers to capture the USPA Kay Colee Memorial Cup, one of the nation’s oldest tournaments, with an impressive 11-6 victory.
In front of a packed house and worldwide ChukkerTV audience, Dutta Corp broke open a close game (2-2) against Audi (Timmy Dutta, Marc Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida, Guille Aguero) after the opening chukker to pull away for at least a two-goal lead for the remainder of the game including a 10-5 lead in the fifth chukker.
Veteran player JJ Celis was named Most Valuable Player after an outstanding game on both ends of the field. Celis scored a game-high five goals including three on penalty shots.
Estrada’s 5-year-old dark bay mare, Tapiola, was selected Best Playing Pony.
It was Dutta Corp that ended Postage Stamp Farm’s run in Friday’s opening round with another impressive, 14-8 win. Postage Stamp Farm had made the first three championship finals, winning two tournaments.
Dutta Corp avenged its’ 9-7 loss to Postage Stamp Farm in the final of the USPA Fall Classic.
“We were playing a very balanced and seasoned team,” said Dutta, enjoying polo after a 30-year hiatus for family and business. “It’s a great win. Marc’s team is always hard to beat.
“It wasn’t a physical game, it was more technical. We were smiling, we had Martin, JJ and young Wesley, three old foxes with the young boy on top.”
Dutta said it took him the first two weeks of the season to return to form and also work with his young horses.
“I wanted to get to know my horses and trust them because I want to go to work on Monday morning,” Dutta said.
It was also the first time Dutta played against his son, Timmy, 14, an up-and-coming player.
“This was the first time I played against my son,” Dutta said. “I know all the horses he has. I know what an attacking player he is. My job on defense was to take him wide and not let him run. I may have had a 30-year break but I haven’t forgotten the game.
“I wish Timmy had won, I wanted this for him,” Dutta said. “He is such a talent. It’s nice that dad won with his rejects.”
The younger Dutta took it all in stride while picking up valuable experience playing with and against talented players. He has been playing for less than two years.
“It was a little more competitive because I have to win,” the teenager said. “He’s my father but if he beats me like he did today, I am going to hear about this for three years at least.
“It was a learning experience,” Dutta said. “It’s hard to say if I like it better playing with him or against him because I love him so much. I think I like to play with him because then if I lose, we lose together.
“I am very happy that he won. He’s coming back from his retirement which is fantastic for me. I hope there is much more to come.”
In addition to Celis’ scoring barrage, Finlayson scored four goals and Estrada added two for Dutta Corp. Ganzi led Audi’s scoring with four goals. Gracida had two goals.
“I am very happy to be a part of this,” Estrada said. “All the teams here at Grand Champions are very even and competitive. JJ and I are the classic players. We like to play basic polo. It was a lot of fun and we used everyone on the team.”
In the subsidiary game, Postage Stamp Farm (Annabelle Gundlach, Brandon Phillips, Julio Ezcurra, Nacho Lezica) bounced back with a hardfought 6-5 win over Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Tony Calle, Leo Mandelbaum, Jesse Bray).
Ezcurra scored the winning goal with four minutes left in the sixth chukker. Calle of Lynn University scored a game-high four goals.
The USPA Kay Colee Memorial is named after player-coach Joey Casey’s grandfather, a teammate and friend of polo legend and Hall of Famer John T. Oxley. Started in 1964, the tournament was played at the now-defunct Royal Palm Polo Sports Club in Boca Raton for more than 20 years before moving to Grand Champions Polo Club.
ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting, is live streaming the entire fall schedule worldwide with entertaining polo broadcasters Toby Wayman and Dale Schwetz.
ChukkerTV’s state-of-the art technology also features team challenges and instant replay which made their debut at Grand Champions in January, 2014.
The USPA Kay Colee Memorial Tournament was the fourth of eight fall tournaments. The nine-year-old club is hosting six medium goal and two 20-goal tournaments.
Grand Champions is one of only four clubs in the nation to stage 20-goal tournaments. The club will host the Nov. 1-15 USPA North American Cup and Nov. 11-22 USPA National 20-Goal tournaments.
The medium goal tournaments are this weekend’s five-team Pedro Morrison Memorial and Nov. 3-8 USPA Fall Plates.
The schedule also features a world-class doubleheader on November 28th featuring the fourth annual International Cup which has become a holiday weekend tradition marking the end of the fall season.
Team USA, which has won the first three International Cups against England, Chile and Mexico, will host South Africa in the featured game. This year’s U.S. team features Marc Ganzi, Jeff Hall, Julio Arellano and Nic Roldan. South Africa’s lineup is Selby Williamson, Chris MacKenzie, Gareth Evans and Tom de Bruin.
In the first game of the doubleheader, the legacy of polo great Carlos Gracida continues with the Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo game, featuring some of the sport’s greats.
Grand Champions, with five well-manicured fields and turnkey facility, expects to have its finest fall season in the nine-year history of the club.
For those interested in playing, the club’s expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions.
The Polo School, a 501c3 organization, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November.
2015 FALL SCHEDULE
Friday-Sunday: Pedro Morrison Memorial; Saturday: South Florida USPA Interscholastic Season-Opener, arena, 10:30 a.m.; Nov. 1-15: USPA North American 20-Goal Cup; Nov. 3-8, USPA Fall Plates; Nov. 11-22: USPA National 20-Goal Tournament; Nov. 28: Carlos Gracida Legends of Polo Memorial and International Cup, Team USA vs. South Africa.