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Beverly Equestrian Rallies To Capture Top Pony 12-Goal Series Title; Tolito Ocampo MVP

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Beverly Equestrian Rallies To Capture Top Pony 12-Goal Series Title; Tolito Ocampo MVP
WELLINGTON, Fl., April 2, 2019---In an emotionally-charged game, Beverly Equestrian rallied in the second half to win the Top Pony 12-Goal Series Sunday at Jan Pamela Field.

Top Pony 12-Goal Series champion Beverly Equestrian's Tolito Ocampo, Hilario Figueras, Geronimo Obregon and Bill Ballhaus.


Less than 24 hours after losing a hardfought 13-10 decision to La Dolfina in the $50,000 National 12-Goal, Beverly Equestrian (Bill Ballhaus, 0, Geronimo Obregon, 4, Hilario Figueras, 3, Tolito Ocampo, 5) came back for a thrilling 13-10 victory over Igea (Adam Lipson, -1, Santino Magrini, 4, Toro Ruiz, 6, Johnny Redlich, 3).

Hilario Figueras of Beverly Equestrian tries to avoid Igea's Adam Lipson's hook.

It was the first 12-goal tournament victory in the 2019 winter season finale for Beverly Equestrian. In the last two seasons Beverly Equestrian has made it to five finals and were runners-up four times.

Ocampo, 26, was named Most Valuable Player. Ocampo led Beverly Equestrian with eight goals and Obregon had two. Over two days, Ocampo finished with 14 and Obregon had six. Ruiz led Igea with four goals.

Santino Magrini of Igea battles for possession with Tolito Ocampo of Beverly Equestrian.

"They were the same players and same horses but we gave it our all and the horses gave it their all," Ocampo said. "It was really, really difficult to play back-to-back games."

The Grand Champions Polo Club Best Playing Pony was 8-year-old mare Casita Robada, played by Figueras, out of the Cria Yatay breeding operation.

Toro Ruiz of Igea and Tolito Ocampo of Beverly Equestrian cross mallets going for the ball.

Beverly Equestrian started the game out slowly after the emotional letdown of playing well against La Dolfina but still losing.

"We were waiting for the final of the 50K," Ocampo said. "It was so hard. When you lose, everything comes down. Today we started out sleepy. So Nacho (Figueras) came to us at halftime and talked to us. He said 'come on guys, let's do it, come back, this is the moment to play.' We started talking to each other and supporting each other and that's how we came back. I am super happy."

Hilario Figueras of Beverly Equestrian leans into his shot.

Fighting off fatigue and oppressive heat that was causing players, including Obregon, to cramp up late in the game, Beverly Equestrian rose to the occasion.

The game was close in the first half with the teams tying 1-1 in the opening chukker and Igea taking a 2-1 lead after shutting out Beverly Equestrian, 1-0, in the second chukker. Igea took a 5-3 lead at the half after a 3-2 third chukker.

Geronimo Obregon of Beverly Equestrian hits a back shot past Toro Ruiz of Igea.

Beverly Equestrian roared back in the second half, outscoring Igea, 10-5. Beverly Equestrian frustrated Igea with its quickness to the ball and tight defense. Tied 7-7 going into the final chukker, Beverly Equestrian scored three unanswered goals to clinch the victory.

Hilario Figueras of Beverly Equestrian attempts to ride off Toro Ruiz of Igea.

"It was obviously super tough," Ballhaus said. "We were tired and the horses were tired. We have been playing together all season so our focus for the season has been to get better every game. So even on Saturday I felt like we learned some things and we improved today. 

Grand Champions Top Pony 12-Goal Series Best Playing Pony Casita Robada, played by Hilario Figueras.

"We played even harder today. I think it speaks to the talent we have and the team chemistry that we developed throughout the season playing a lot of games together. That's been my philosophy is to establish teams for the season. It leads to the best chemistry and allows us to focus on getting better so we can finish the season strong and I think we demonstrated that. That was our objective when we put the team together last summer was to have a team that would have good chemistry, work well together, have the right attitude and get better every game. I think that's what we have done this season."

MVP Tolito Ocampo of Beverly Equestrian goes for the back shot.

Ballhaus praised his team captain Tolito Ocampo and his teammates for their Herculean effort.

"MVP was well-deserved," Ballhaus said. "In my opinion, he is the best player in the 12-goal and he is a great team captain, great leader. We played together all season long and I am really proud to have him on the team.

Toro Ruiz of Igea drives the ball downfield for one of his two goals in the third chukker.

"I'm really happy, really proud of the team," Ballhaus said. "I'm really thankful for our grooms and the work they have done with the horses all season especially to get them fit enough to be able to play yesterday and come back today. It's just been a great team effort and speaks to the quality of the organization and the team we put together."

Last year Beverly Equestrian, led by MVP Carlucho Arellano, won the Top Pony 12-Goal Handicap title with an 11-9 victory over Valiente.

Tolito Ocampo of Beverly Equestrian leans out of his saddle for a neck shot.

During the winter polo season, Grand Champions, the nation's largest and most innovative USPA-sanctioned polo club, is hosting 24 tournaments: 6, 8, 12, 20, and 0 to 40 goals, Sunny Hale's Legacy WCT Finals, women's weekly league play and 26-goal World Polo League tournaments at Grand Champions, Valiente Polo Farm and Jan Pamela Field.

Grand Champions tournaments attract a large international field of players from all corners of the world  including India, Mexico, New Zealand, Chile, Costa Rica, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Germany, Uruguay, Azerbaijan, Australia, South Africa, Nigeria, Venezuela and England.

Adam Lipson of Igea defends Bill Ballhaus of Beverly Equestrian.

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.

Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels and ages. 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, created by Grand Champions President Melissa Ganzi when the club first opened in 2007.

The Obregon family dog helps Geronimo Obregon of Beverly Equestrian with his run to goal in the fifth chukker.

The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA-sanctioned polo 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. Headed by Director of Operations Juan Bollini, The Polo School has nurtured several men and women polo players now playing in the pro and amateur ranks since its inception.

Great Champions awards table for the Top Pony 12-Goal Series Final.
Photos by Ramon Casares


APRIL
Mar. 29-Apr. 14, World Polo League Triple 
Crown of Polo, at Grand Champions & Valiente Polo Farm

Sunny Hale's Legacy WCT Finals at Grand Champions Polo Club
Saturday, April 6
Game One, 12:35 p.m.; Game 2, 1:30 p.m.; Awards, 2:45 p.m. 

   

 
THE POLO SCHOOL 

The Polo School at Grand Champions and Director of Operations Juan Bollini are dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. The school's mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November. For lessons contact Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099. 


Chukker TV is live streaming the entire winter polo schedule. ChukkerTV, featuring cutting-edge technology, was the first to introduce state-of-the-art live streaming technology and instant replay in January, 2014 at Grand Champions Polo Club. For advertising opportunities on ChukkerTV please contact Mike Ferreira at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB

WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.

DIRECTOR OF POLO: Juan Olivera, 561-644-5050, juan.olivera@gcpolo.com; hotline  561-644-5050.

INFORMATION: For spectators, there are great field side views for tournament action and also the Grand Champions Polo Club Boutique. The club is home base for pro teams Audi and Flexjet. Everyone is welcome to watch every level of polo in a relaxed atmosphere with food and refreshments during the featured games of the winter, spring and fall tournament seasons and other special events. Admission is free except for some special events.

STAY CONNECTED:
ChukkerTV, 13444 Southfields Road, Wellington, FL 33414
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