SD Farms Captures World Polo League Palm Beach Open; Adolfo Cambiaso Most Valuable Player
|In front of a record crowd, SD Farms won its first 26-goal tournament in team history in the World Polo League Palm Beach Open final Sunday at windswept Grand Champions Polo Club.
By Sharon Robb
|SD Farms (Sayyu Dantata, 2, Santi Torres, 6, Guillermo Terrera, 8, Adolfo Cambiaso, 10) jumped out to a 7-1 lead after two chukkers against Audi (Marc Ganzi, 2, Nic Roldan, 8, Pablo MacDonough, 10, Kris Kampsen, 6) and went on to win, 11-6.
It was the first 26-goal tournament title for Nigerian Sayyu Dantata in his World Polo League debut. Dantata, playing above his 2-goal rating, scored two goals and defended 10-goaler Pablo MacDonough well. He earned the Catena Fair Play Award.
“This is the thrill of my life and playing with the best player in the world is a bonus,” Dantata said. “This feels amazing. I am very, very happy and very excited. My family came here to watch and I am sure the guys back home in Nigeria are excited, too.”
SD Farms finished the tournament undefeated at 5-0 and earned $75,000 in prize money. Audi’s foursome, winless in the Founders Cup, finished 4-1 after a remarkable turnaround.
“This is a dream team,” Dantata said. “I don’t think any 26-goal team any where in the world can beat us and that is a challenge to any one who wants to put a 26-goal team together to play us.”
Argentine 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso was Most Valuable Player after scoring a game-high five goals, all on penalty conversions.
“We played well,” Cambiaso said. “Sayyu had a great game and did well against Pablo. I think it is the best game we played as a team. We all did a good job. This is a very good team.”
Dantata, a veteran of 30 years in polo, praised Cambiaso’s coaching on the field.
“When you have the king telling you what to do, it doesn’t matter what handicap player I have to play,” Dantata said. “I have known Pablo for a long time. I went with Adolfo’s instructions and followed through.
“We have had so many games and practices we knew it would not be very hard if we stuck to the plan,” Dantata said. “When you have the best coach and best player in the world it is absolutely nothing for me to follow up. I have a very good teacher.”
Terrera was SD Farms second-leading scorer with four goals including an incredible 90-yard neck shot through the air in the third chukker.
“I am very happy,” Terrera said. “The first three chukkers we had really good rhythm. We had a six goal difference and we kept it up. Maybe in the last two chukkers we made a couple of fouls that allowed them to get close in the score but they didn’t have enough time.
“This is the best I have seen our team play,” Terrera said. “It was a mixture of rhythm, focus and chemistry. I am happy for Sayyu, he played well every second of the game and I hope he enjoys this.”
Grand Champions Best Playing Pony was Libanella played by MacDonough.
The American Polo Horse Association Best Playing Pony of the game was Miami played by Cambiaso.
The American Polo Horse Association Best Playing Pony of the tournament was Open Medallon played by Terrera.
The American Polo Horse Association was created in 2006 by the legendary Polo Hall of Famer Sunny Hale to recognize polo ponies in America and encourages events that showcase them and hard-working dedication of grooms.
SD Farms led 9-3 at the half and never let Audi back in the game in the second half. Audi was off-balance and error-prone for most of the first half. In the second half, Audi tried to claw its way back but fell short.
“This was a huge game for us,” Torres said. “The team played really well today. It was a tough game, this Audi team is good. This is the best win of the season so far.”
MacDonough led Audi scoring with three goals. Roldan had two and Ganzi ahhded one.
The WPL is being live streamed on ESPN Deportes and ChukkerTV/Horseplay with Gus Whitelaw calling the action. For more information go to www.worldpolo.org.
Co-founded by Grand Champions owners Melissa and Marc Ganzi and Valiente Polo Farm owner Bob Jornayvaz, the 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 has its own set of simpler fan-friendly rules to improve the flow and action of the game.
The WPL, with tournament-quality fields to play on, includes the All-Star Challenge Draw Tournament, Founders Cup, Palm Beach Open and Triple Crown of Polo.
The World Polo League is open to other teams that wish to compete in one or more of the tournaments. Games are offered on the flat (Open) and on Handicap.
The World Polo League has attracted a large international field of players from all corners of the world including Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Nigeria, Uruguay, New Zealand and U.S.
Grand Champions and Valiente are also launching the U.S. National Mixed Doubles Championship, featuring two men and two women with combined handicaps this month.
In addition to the World Polo League, season highlights for 2019 at Grand Champions are the Sterling Cup, $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament, John T. Oxley Memorial and $100,000 World Cup Tournament, a unique 0-40-goal, winner-take-all single-elimination tournament and WCT Final.
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.
2019 WORLD POLO LEAGUE SCHEDULE
March 27-April 14, Triple Crown of Polo
Games at Grand Champions Polo Club, Valiente Polo Farm and other local fields.