Grand Champions Polo Club Opens Spring Season Friday With Palm City Open
With the high goal polo season ending on Sunday, the spring season for medium goal polo is just gearing up at Grand Champions Polo Club.
The Palm City Open is the first of six tournaments of the 2013 spring schedule for polo players and fans.
Five teams will compete on Friday in the opening qualifying games.
Jajalpa, PowerHorse and ELG will play a round-robin format at 10 a.m. followed by a match between Elangani and Merchant Hub at 11:30 a.m.
Jajalpa is rated 15 goals with Marc Ganzi, who just finished the high goal season with Audi despite a broken thumb and knee injury; Guillermo Steta; 10-goaler Gonzalito Pieres and Carlitos Gracida.
Gracida suffered a broken foot in the Joe Barry Memorial Cup final while playing for Audi and is fully recovered.
PowerHorse is also rated at 15 goals with Walter Scherb, 10-goaler Miguel Astrada, Hannah Buchan, the only woman entered in the tournament; and Brandon Phillips.
ELG is a 13-goal team with Avery Chapman, Andrew Siebert, Kris Kampsen and Jeff Hall, at 7 goals one of the highest ranked American players. Hall just finished the high goal season with Audi.
Elangani is rated at 13 goals with Brian Street, Joey Casey, Diego Coscio and Carlucho Arellano.
Merchant Hub, rated at 13 goals, features Tommy Kato, Bob Daniels, Tomas Goti and Luis Escobar.
The winners advance into the final at a day and time still to be determined.
The other spring tournaments are the April 26-28 Polo Gear Cup; May 3-5 USPA Spring Challenge; May 10-12 USPA Sun Cup; May 17-19 USPA Eastern Challenge; and May 24-27 Memorial by Piaget.
“It’s going to be really competitive,” Casey said referring to the Palm City Open, named after Casey’s polo club in Boca Raton. “We played it last year and the year before. It will be good polo.
“It’s gotten a lot more competitive since I was running the tournament,” Casey said. “Melissa Ganzi has made the tournament more competitive. They are all USPA tournaments.”
Casey said he used to play with friends Juan Badiola, Martin Zubia, Hector Galindo and Jeff Blake.
“We were all younger then and all 6, 7, and 8 goals,” Casey said.
Casey developed most of the tournaments in the early 1990s. He first developed the league in 1994 in Oklahoma where it was played for two years before Casey moved it to Florida and started playing it in the spring.
Before the Boca club closed, Casey, Juan Bollini and Marc and Melissa Ganzi played the spring league there. When the Ganzis bought the two polo fields and built Grand Champions, Casey moved everything to the Wellington site and helped the Ganzis run the tournaments.
During the fall season, there are two 20-goal tournaments and Casey is trying to add a third, the Piaget Silver Cup for the 2014 season to enable the club to host the Triple Crown of polo for 20 goals.
GRAND CHAMPIONS SPRING SCHEDULE
Friday, April 19: Palm City Open, 10 a.m. Jajalpa vs. PowerHorse vs. ELG, round robin, Field 1; 11:30 a.m., Merchant Hub vs. Elangani, Field 2
April 26-28: The Polo Gear Cup
May 3-5: USPA Spring Challenge
May 10-12: The USPA Sun Cup
May 17-19: USPA Eastern Challenge
May 24-27: The Memorial by Piaget