Valiente won its second World Polo League All Star Challenge title Sunday at Grand Champions Polo Club.
By Sharon Robb
Defending champion Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz 2, Poroto Cambiaso 4, Diego Cavanagh 9, Adolfo Cambiaso 10) led for most of the game to defeat SD Farms (Sayyu Dantata 2, Santi Torres 7, Guillermo Terrera 8, Juan Martin Zubia 8), 12-10, in front of a packed house.
Poroto Cambiaso, 14, the only returning player off last year’s winning team, has now won back-to-back tournament titles in the WPL.
Polo great Adolfo Cambiaso was Most Valuable Player of the game.
“It was great fun,” Cambiaso said. “We didn’t play as good as we like but obviously we controlled it. They played well. We couldn’t manage to pass the ball well between us like the semifinals. I think we can improve.”
Bravita Solita, played by Poroto Cambiaso, was the American Polo Horse Association Best Playing Pony of the championship final.
Dolfina Diosa Coronada, played by Adolfo Cambiaso, was the APHA Horse of the Tournament and Argentine Breeders’ Association.
The World Polo League Best Playing Pony for the game was VocHo Mentelolada, played by Juan Martin Zubia.
Both teams, comprised of J5, La Dolfina and Valiente players, were competitive from the opening throw-in.
“The competitiveness is always there,” Jornayvaz said. “We’re going as hard and fast as we can. Just because we’re friends doesn’t mean we don’t play hard. There was as much bumping as always. It was fast and hard. People lose their tempers still, but it was still fun. It really was a good day for us.”
Added Cambiaso, “We play all year-round together at La Dolfina, here and Valiente. We know each other but we play hard in the games. That’s the good thing about polo. We play hard on the field but outside we are old friends and now we are going to party together.”
Valiente jumped out to leads of 2-0 and 3-1 with two goals from Adolfo Cambiaso and one goal from Poroto Cambiaso in the opening chukker.
Behind Zubia’s three goals and one from Torres, SD Farms outscored Valiente, 4-1, to take a 5-4 lead after the second chukker. After that it was all Valiente keeping the upper hand and playing well enough to win. SD Farms could get no closer than two goals in the second half.
“It was fun,” Cavanagh said. “Fun game, fun team and we played so well together.”
Cavanagh scored a game-high six goals. Adolfo Cambiaso had four goals and Poroto Cambiaso added two goals.
For S.D. Farms, Zubia led with five goals, Torres had four and Terrera added one.
In the semifinals, SD Farms defeated Seminole Casino, 12-8, and Valiente defeated Casablanca, 9-6. Two Best Playing Ponies were selected for the semifinal games. Dolfina Diosa Coronada for Valiente and Diana for SD Farms.
It was the second tournament title of the 2020 season for Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz 2, Gonzalo Ferrari 4, Poroto Cambiaso 3, Adolfo Cambiaso 10), winners of the Sterling Cup earlier this month.
“It’s so much fun playing with Adolfo and Poroto,” Jornayvaz said. “We clicked and that’s what’s so much fun, being able to do it year after year. We know each other and what the other is going to do and that’s the fun of a team.”
Last year’s inaugural All Star Challenge winner was Valiente (Agustin Nero, Santi Torres, Pablo MacDonough, Poroto Cambiaso) after defeating Colorado (Rob Jornayvaz, Juan Martin Zubia, Rodrigo Andrade, Jero del Carril), 10-9 in overtime. MacDonough was MVP.
In the Santa Rita Abierto subsidiary game earlier on Sunday, Richard Mille (Melissa Ganzi 0, Nic Roldan 8, Lucas James 8, Alejandro Novillo Astrada 8) defeated J5/La Dolfina (Gonzalo Ferrari 4, Isidro Strada 7, Jero del Carill 7, Robertito Zedda 5), 12-8.
Roldan scored a game-high six goals and was Most Valuable Player. Airbus, played by Zedda in the fourth chukker, was Grand Champions Best Playing Pony. Rikem, played by Novillo Astrada in the fifth chukker, was the APHA Best Playing Pony.
Popular local singer Tom Blake entertained the crowd before and after the game and also sang a soulful rendition of the National Anthem.
Former Washington and Kansas City fullback Donnell Bennett, Jr. was the awards presenter. Fort Lauderdale-born Bennett, 47, was a standout at Cardinal Gibbons High School and University of Miami before playing in the NFL for eight seasons.
Seminole Casino Coconut Creek is the hospitality sponsor for the World Polo League. Open 24/7, 365 days a year, Seminole Casino Coconut Creek presents a fully integrated, energized, stylish and upscale local’s casino experience, world-class dining, including its award-winning steakhouse, NYY Steak and live entertainment.
Tickets, ranging from $15 to $250, for the Sunday featured WPL games at 4 p.m. at Grand Champions Polo Club are on sale now at www.worldpolo.org.
Ticket price breakdown for the new CoCo Cabana Stadium is:
VIP $250, Upper Level (rain or shine, no refunds), includes VIP parking access, exclusive luxury-style bar and lounge seating, gourmet light dinner buffet, exclusive chef station, VIP Open bar (excluding champagne and bottle service) and VIP swag bags.
VIP $100, Lower Level (rain or shine, no refunds), includes VIP parking access, exclusive luxury-style bar and lounge seating, gourmet light bites and Worth Avenue retailer experience.
Valet Parking $15, select quality valet parking and general admission is free for fans who park across the field from the stadium.
Co-founded by Grand Champions owner and president Melissa Ganzi and Valiente Polo Farm owner Bob Jornayvaz, the successful World Polo League is the only 26-goal polo in the world outside of Argentina. The WPL is preserving the highest level of polo and its rich, hallowed tradition in the U.S.
The WPL, with 11 tournament-quality fields to play on, features the Feb. 6-16 All-Star Challenge which ended on Sunday, Feb. 19-March 1 Founders Cup which begins Friday,/. March 4-22 Palm Beach Open and March 28-April 18 Triple Crown of Polo.
The WPL schedule also features the unique April 6-12 U.S. National Mixed Doubles Championship, created by Jornayvaz. It pairs men and women players. There is also the April 9-12 WPL Beach Polo World Cup in Miami Beach.
The World Polo League attracts a large international field of players from all corners of the world including Australia, Chile, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Germany, Uruguay, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, South Africa, Nigeria and England.
Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and three polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball with plans to build more polo fields in the future.
For more information and to watch the games go to www.worldpolo.org for a complete library of WPL first-season games.
2020 WORLD POLO LEAGUE SCHEDULE
Founder’s Cup Feb 19 – Mar 1
Friday 2/21 12 p.m. Scone vs J5 La Dolfina at Valiente
Friday 2/21 2pm Valiente vs Alegria at Valiente 2
Friday 2/21 4pm Seminole vs Richard Mille at Valiente 1
Saturday 2/22 12 p.m. SD Farms vs Casablanca at SD Farms field
Sunday 2/23 10:30am Amala vs Winner Valiente/Alegria at GCPC 1
Sunday 2/23 4 p.m. STM vs Winner Scone/J5 La Dolfina at GCPC 2
Mar. 4-22, Palm Beach Open
Mar. 28-Apr. 18, Triple Crown of Polo
Apr. 6-12, U.S. National Mixed Doubles Polo Championship