By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Grand Champions Polo Club
Grand Champions Polo Club opens its spring season Thursday with the Santa Rita Abierto and Handicap Tournament.
The first of six tournaments kicks off what is expected to be the best spring season in the club’s ten-year history.
Seven teams are entered in the Santa Rita Abierto and Santa Rita Handicap.
The Santa Rita Handicap begins Thursday at Valiente Polo Farm at 4:30 p.m. with a round-robin between Altair, Graff Capital and Valiente.
|Ashley Van Metre Busch. File Photo|
The Santa Rita Abierto begins Friday with two games. At 3:30 p.m. at Everglades Polo Field, Dutta Corp plays Lucchese/La Indiana and at 5:30 p.m. Sonny Hill Polo plays Whitehall Ranch at Patagones.
Several top and up-and-coming players and patrons will compete during the fun and competitive GCPC Spring Invitational League that features six 12-16-goal tournaments.
Rosters for the Santa Rita Handicap are:
Altair: Ashley Van Metre Busch, Brandon Phillips, Alex Webb/Lolly Stanhope-White, Jesse Bray.
Graff Capital: Tommy Graff, Markus Graff, Pablo Dorignac, Juan Bollini.
Valiente: Poroto Cambiaso, Mia Cambiaso, Roberto Zedda, Pablo Spinacci.
|Poroto Cambiaso. Photo by Ramon Casares|
Rosters for the Santa Rita Abierto are:
Dutta Corp: Tim Dutta, Timmy Dutta, Piki Diaz Alberdi, Carlitos Gracida.
Lucchese/La Indiana: John Muse, Michael Bickford, Jeff Hall, Guille Aguero.
Sonny Hill Polo: Curtis Pilot, Gonzalo de La Fuente, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Grant Ganzi.
Whitehall Ranch: Bill Lane, Nic Roldan, Lucas Lalor, Marc Ganzi.
|Piki Diaz Alberdi. Photo by ChukkerTV|
The April 20-23 Santa Rita Abierto is the first of six medium-goal tournaments offered in April and May. The remaining spring tournament league schedule is:
April 28-30: USPA Eastern Challenge
May 5-7: USPA Sun Cup
May 12-14: Spring Challenge Cup
May 19-21: Polo Gear Invitational
May 26-29: The Memorial
During the Grand Champions’ spring season, amateur polo players get the chance to play with and against some of the world’s top professional polo players including former 10-goaler Piki Diaz Alberdi, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Jeff Hall, Brandon Phillips, Nic Roldan and Jesse Bray. It is geared towards improving polo skills and having fun.
The spring league is also a great opportunity for younger players such as Mia and Poroto Cambiaso to develop and hone their skills against their peers and more experienced players.
|Brandon Phillips. File Photo|
The GCPC spring league features:
*Medium Goal practice games at least once a week.
*Stick-and-ball sessions available during the week.
*Teams get two medium goal tournament games every weekend.
*Ambulance and USPA umpires for all tournament games.
*Complete turn-key tournament polo with some of the top professionals in the world.
*Playing polo on some of Wellington’s most prestigious and well-manicured fields.
*Club-sponsored social events every weekend for all players.
*Excellent trophies for all teams every weekend.
Grand Champions hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal in addition to special events at its eleven well-manicured fields during the fall, winter and spring seasons.
The spring season is being live-streamed on Wellington-based ChukkerTV, worldwide leaders in polo broadcasting.
Grand Champions Polo Club caters 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, the only polo club in the U.S. to offer the unique program.
The Polo School at Grand Champions, a 501c3 organization, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November.
2017 GRAND CHAMPIONS SPRING SCHEDULE
(Subject to change because of weather and scheduling conflicts).
APRIL 20-23: Santa Rita Abierto and Handicap Tournament, Thursday, 4:30 p.m., Santa Rita Handicap, Round Robin, Altair vs. Graff Capital vs. Valiente at Valiente Polo Farm; Friday, 3:30 p.m., Santa Rita Abierto, Dutta Corp vs. Lucchese/La Indiana at Everglades Polo Field; 5:30 p.m., Santa Rita Abierto, Sonny Hill Polo vs. Whitehall Ranch at Patagones; Saturday, 10:30 a.m., Santa Rita Handicap; Sunday, 9:30 a.m., Grand Champions Final, at GCPC Field 1, 11:15 a.m. Santa Rita Abierto Final, at GCPC Field 2.
APRIL 28-30: USPA Eastern Challenge.
MAY 5-7: USPA Sun Cup
MAY 12-14: The Spring Challenge Cup.
MAY 19-21: Polo Gear Invitational.
MAY 26-29: The Memorial.
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.