The Raleigh wins Miami Beach Polo World Cup


By Alex Webbe

The ninth annual LaMartina Miami Beach Polo World Cup culminated in a tense final matchbetween the tournament’s top two teams, resulting in a closely-fought win bydefending champions The Raleigh/Comcast.

The Raleigh Hotel (Bash Kazi, John Gobin, Juan Monteverde and David Tafuri)trailed by two goals at halftime but exploded with six third chukker goals toride past a talented La Martina foursome, consisting of Santi Torres, CarlosGracida and Guillermo Steta, to win 12-10 in the final afternoon match.

The two teams fought to a 3-3 tie in the opening chukker with La Martina’sSanti Torres scoring the opening goal of the match before converting on atwo-point shot from midfield. The Raleigh scored a pair of goals from JuanMonteverde (one on a penalty shot) and a single goal from John Gobin for the3-3 score.

Polo Hall of Famer Carlos Gracida took the reins in the second period, scoring on a two-point shot from over 50 yards out and a single goal to give La Martinaa 6-4 halftime advantage. Monteverde scored The Raleigh team’s only goal of thechukker. The Raleigh team took control of the game in the third period with sixgoals. Gobin scored twice from the arena and added a 2-pointer. Monteverdescored twice in the chukker for a 10-8 lead. Torres and Gracida scored singlegoals for La Martina who trailed for the first time all day.

La Martina fought to get back in to the game in the fourth and final period, TheRaleigh team’s defense was up to the task. La Martina scored two goals fromTorres but responded with single goals from Gobin and Monteverde for the 12-10victory. Gobin and Monteverde scored six goals apiece for The Raleigh team.Gobin was named MVP for the final match. Santi Torres’ mare “Mary West”received Best Playing Pony honors.

Earlier in the day, Grey Goose scored an 11-9 win over SLH to capture the CarlFisher International Challenge Cup (1920) while Merchant Hub and The JamesRoyal Palm Hotel/Jet Blue fought to a 10-10 draw in competition for theFleischmann Memorial Cup.

Although both Merchant Huband The James Royal Palm Hotel/jet Blue entered the final day with identical0-2 records, both had recovered from opening round losses in impressive secondday efforts. 

The James Royal Palm Hotel/jetBlue led The Raleigh 7-6 at the end of the first half before falling behind12-8 in the third chukker.  Oscar Manciniscored five of is game high 12 goals in the final chukker, but The Raleighmanaged to hold them off for the narrow 14-13 win,

The luck of the draw hadMerchant Hub returning to face La Martina for the second consecutive day, ateam that beaten them soundly, 10-5, just the day before, but Merchant Hub hadother ideas about the outcome of the game.

The two teams were tied 3-3after the first chukker and 5-5 at halftime. Luis Escobar scored a goal from the field and then converted a two-pointshot to give Merchant Hub a narrow 8-7 advantage with one chukker left to play.

Sunday’sefforts resulted in some high-speed beach polo that ended up in a 10-10 tie.  Oscar Mancini scored five times for The JamesRoyal Palm Hotel/jet Blue.  SebastianDawnay added four goals and Neku Atawodi scored once in the loss.  Luis Escobar’s five goals led the MerchantHub attack.  Jamie Morrison was creditedwith three goals while team captain Tommy Kato converted two penalty shots for goals.

“Thisyear’s tournament was the most exciting competition we have had to-date,” saidBruce Orosz, president and co-founder of The Polo Life, LLC. “We thank all ofour patrons, sponsors and supporters for making this year the best ever.”