Grand Champions Polo Club Opens Season With Two Tournament Finals This Weekend
After Mother Nature delayed last week’s season-opener at Grand Champions Polo Club, polo fans will be treated to two tournament finals this weekend.
By: Sharon Robb
The Tackeria Invitational will be held Friday at 3 p.m. and US Trust Cup Sunday at 10 a.m.
Both will be round robin formats and same teams, Audi, Casablanca and Flexjet, will compete.
Flexjet will play Casablanca in opening round robin action. On Friday, Audi will play the last six chukkers. On Sunday, Flexjet will play the last six chukkers.
There will be a team trophy presentation after each final along with Most Valuable Player and Best Playing Pony awards.
Team rosters are:
Audi (18): Marc Ganzi, Sugar Erskine, Nic Roldan, Pablo Pulido.
Casablanca (17): Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Jason Crowder, Brandon Phillips.
Flexjet (17): Melissa Ganzi, Pablo Spinacci, Kris Kampsen, Juan Bollini.
During the 2019 fall season, the nation’s largest polo club will host both medium goal polo featuring six tournaments and 20-goal tournaments.
The long-running Tackeria Invitational has a special place in club history as the inaugural tournament when the club first opened in 2007.
The fall season serves as a tuneup for the winter season for players and green horses. The winter season will feature the second season of the highly-successful 26-goal World Polo League at Grand Champions and Valiente Polo Farm with the best polo players in the world.
The Tackeria Invitational has a history of exciting finishes.
In last year’s tournament final, Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Julio Gracida, Mariano Gracida) won a hardfought 10-9 overtime game over Flexjet (Santos Bollini, Lucas Escobar, Kris Kampsen, Juan Bollini).
In 2017, Audi (Marc Ganzi, Jason Crowder, Brandon Phillips, Carlitos Gracida) rallied in the final chukker to defeat Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Andres LaPlacette, Pablo Dorignac, Juan Bollini), 11-10, in overtime at Santa Rita Polo Farm.
In 2016, Flexjet (Riley Ganzi, Melissa Ganzi, Juan Bollini, Jason Crowder) defeated Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Jared Sheldon, Carlitos Gracida, Juancito Bollini), 7-6, on Melissa Ganzi’s winning goal just before the 30-second horn in the final chukker.
Last year’s US Trust Cup champion was Sebucan (Pablo Pulido, Juancito Bollini, Whistle Uys, Carlitos Gracida), 9-7 winners over ChukkerTV (Gerardo Patin, Brandon Phillips, Julio Gracida, Juan Bollini). Uys was MVP.
In 2017, Casablanca (Cacho Galindo, Grant Ganzi, Mike Azzaro, Jason Crowder) won a spirited round robin over Team USPA and Audi in the US Trust Cup final. Azzaro was MVP.
The 2019 season is highlighted by the International Cup featuring Team USA against France; Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial, inaugural Wellington Open 20 and USPA National 20.
Grand Champions had its finest fall season in club history last year. It was the only club in the nation to stage two USPA-sanctioned 20-goal fall tournaments and again is hosting 20-goal tournaments this season.
The Grand Champions Fall Invitational League is geared toward improving a player’s polo skills at every level. Roster lineups change from tournament to tournament with evenly-matched teams featuring pro and amateur players.
Club owners Marc and Melissa Ganzi, both accomplished players, take pride in teaching and sharing the exciting sport of polo with anyone interested in learning. The husband and wife team are coming off their most successful and historical summer season at Grand Champions’ sister club Aspen Valley Polo Club.
The fall league features: stick-and-ball sessions during the week; two tournament games every weekend; ambulance and umpires for all tournament games; world-class polo fields; club-sponsored social events every weekend for all players; and top-of-the-line trophies for all teams every weekend. Food and refreshments are available for players and fans after the finals.
Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm cater to men, women and youth polo players at all levels. Its’ expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its’ Polo On Demand program at the turnkey facility.
The Polo School, a 501c3 organization and stand-alone USPA club, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its’ mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. Scholarships are available. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. For more information on the Fall Leagues or Polo School contact Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099.
Wellington-based ChukkerTV will live stream the entire fall season. ChukkerTV’s state-of-the art technology also features team challenges and instant replay which made their debut at Grand Champions in January, 2014.
2019 Grand Champions Fall Schedule
3 p.m. Tackeria Invitational Final
10 a.m. US Trust Cup Final
Oct. 25-27, Polo Gear Challenge
Nov. 1-3, Fall Classic
Nov. 8-10, Fall Plates
Nov. 15-17, Pedro Morrison Memorial
Nov. 13-16, Wellington Open 20
Nov. 20-23, USPA National 20
Nov. 30, Legends of Polo and Carlos Gracida Memorial
Nov. 30, 2019 International Cup, USA vs. France