Inaugural Gauntlet of Polo Series launches February 2019
Purse of $1 Million Entices World’s Best Players and Horses in Unprecedented Feat of Athleticism
The United States Polo Association (USPA), USPA Global Licensing (USPAGL) and International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) are elated to announce a thrilling new high-stakes tournament series for the sport – the GAUNTLET OF POLO™. This heart-pounding competition is a true survival of the fittest, where the world’s preeminent teams, most skilled athletes, and finest horses will come together for three months at the U.S. Polo Assn. field at IPC in Wellington, Florida where they will battle head-to-head for the coveted C.V. Whitney Cup, the USPA Gold Cup®, and the U.S. Open Polo Championship®. In this competition, there is more on the line than trophies and titles. The GAUNTLET is the ultimate test and the team that wins all three tournaments will be crowned GAUNTLET Champion and take home a total prize of $1 million – the largest purse in the history of the sport.
The GAUNTLET OF POLO™ is anticipated to bring in tens of thousands of fans from around the world and should break attendance records, creating an immediate positive effect for the Palm Beach community and surrounding areas. The 2019 tournament series begins with the C.V. Whitney Cup held February 13-24, 2019 and continues with the USPA Gold Cup®, February 24-March 24, 2019 culminating with the U.S. Open Polo Championship® March 27-April 21, 2019. The games will be livestreamed on the USPA Polo Network each week, with the final match aired to millions of viewers on CBS Sports on April 28 at 2:00pm EDT. The final match will also be replayed globally in Latin America, Europe, Asia and India.
“The GAUNTLET will challenge the world’s top players and horses to strive for the most prestigious trophies in the United States and provide a new platform for athletes, teams, sponsors and polo fans,” said Robert Puetz, CEO of the USPA. “Vying for $1 million dollars in prize money over the course of three months, the strongest teams and most talented players in the game will arise, elevating both their preparation and horses for the chance to etch their names in American polo history as the GAUNTLET Champion.”
The GAUNTLET brings the passion and drive of this esteemed sport to the foreground, testing the players’ mental and physical acumen as they compete in the most challenging and most valuable polo tournament in the continental U.S.A.
“In order to expand interest in the sport, it is essential that emerging players, as well as new teams, have the opportunity to participate in elite tournaments,” said Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of the Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEP) and owner of IPC. “Supported by the immense and historic addition of prize money this season and our unprecedented partnership with the USPA and USPAGL, we will ensure a change in the trajectory of polo in this country.”
For the first time in the sport, the tournament series will include a “Winner Take All” prize money format guaranteeing $125,000 to each of the winning teams of the C.V. Whitney Cup and the USPA Gold Cup®, and a $250,000 prize for the winner of the U.S. Open Polo Championship®. A $500,000 bonus for any team that wins all three tournaments in consecutive order will serve as an additional incentive, yielding $1 million in total prize money and recognition as the GAUNTLET Champion.
“The idea of the GAUNTLET OF POLO™ is to create something new and different that will draw attention to the tournament series and emphasize the difficulty of a team winning the sport’s ultimate test – three tournaments, but only one champion,” said David Cummings, chairman of USPAGL. “As the first event held in partnership between the USPA, IPC and USPAGL, the GAUNTLET OF POLO™ will elevate not only the spectator experience but will display the raw power and refined athleticism of the players and their horses.” And we are proud to have the field name home of U.S. Polo Assn., the official licensed brand for the USPA.”
For polo, the GAUNTLET OF POLO™ represents the challenge created by linking the C.V. Whitney Cup, the USPA Gold Cup® the U.S. Open Polo Championship®. The GAUNTLET will be the sport’s ultimate test and greatest prize.
Tickets for all GAUNTLET OF POLO™ events will be available for purchase on Monday, November 26, 2018 at www.internationalpoloclub.com.