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$100,000 World Cup Begins Saturday At Grand Champions Polo Club With Four Games

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$100,000 World Cup Begins Saturday At Grand Champions Polo Club With Four Games

WELLINGTON, Fl., January 31, 2020---The $100,000 World Cup, that showcases polo and players at every level, begins Saturday at Grand Champions Polo Club with the richest prize purse in club history.


One of the sport's most prestigious tournaments returns after a year hiatus and will feature ten teams from 12 to 23 goal rating competing in the single-elimination, winner-take-all tournament.

The 2017 inaugural champion was Palm Beach Illustrated, a 21-goal underdog with players Jared Zenni, Santi Torres, Agustin Obregon and Tommy Collingwood, all young, talented rising stars.

Inaugural $100,000 World Cup champions Jared Zenni, Santi Torres, Agustin Obregon and Tommy Collingwood with Palm Beach Illustrated publisher Terry Duffy.

"The World Cup was a lot of fun, probably one of the most fun tournaments I played in," Zenni said. "I've known those guys forever and we're all friends. We had great chemistry."

"It a great idea," Torres added. "I think it makes it more appealing to play for prize money more than a trophy. There's more incentive to play."

Palm Beach Illustrated repeated as champions in 2018. Only Collingwood returned from the original team. He was joined by teammates Carlitos Gracida, Juan Monteverde and Peco Polledo.

Palm Beach Illustrated's Carlitos Gracida, Juan Monteverde, Peco Polledo and Tommy Collingwood with awards presenter Glenn Straub during 2018 awards ceremony.

Team sponsors and rosters for this year's event are:

Audi (20): TBA 2, Pablo MacDonough 10, Nic Roldan 8.

Beverly Equestrian (12): Bill Ballhaus 0, Poroto Cambiaso 4, Hilario Figueras 3, Tolito Fernandez Ocampo 5.

Casablanca (23): Grant Ganzi 3, Juancito Bollini 4, Rodrigo Andrade 8, Lucas James 8.

Daily Racing Form (17): Jared Zenni 6, Agustin Obregon 6, Tommy Collingwood 5, TBA.

Dundas (17): Sarah Siegel-Magness 0, Diego Cavanagh 9, Guillermo Terrera 8, TBA.

Flexjet (14): Juan Bollini 5, Santos Bollini 1, Juanse Olivera 2, Pablo Spinacci 6.

Gracida Wine (20): Carlitos Gracida 4, Peco Polledo 6, Juan Monteverde 5, Sterling Giannico 5.

Palm Beach Equine (22): Scott Swerdlin 0, Gringo Colombres 8, Gonzalo Ferrari 4, Hilario Ulloa 10.

Santa Clara (14): Michel Dorignac 6, Nico Escobar 4, Santino Magrini 4, TBA.

Valiente (15): Bob Jornayvaz 0, Juan Martin Zubia 8, Santi Torres 7, TBA.

Pablo MacDonough

Four games are scheduled for Opening Day on Saturday: Santa Clara vs. Audi, 10 a.m.; Daily Racing Form vs. Gracida Wine, noon; Valiente vs. Palm Beach Equine, 2 p.m. and Beverly Equestrian vs. Flexjet, 4 p.m.

The tournament continues on Wednesday with two games: Dundas vs. Valiente-Palm Beach Equine winner and Casablanca vs. Beverly Equestrian-Flexjet winner. The semifinals and finals will be determined after the winners are decided.

Juan Martin Zubia

The tournament was resurrected by Grand Champions owner and president Melissa Ganzi. It was last played at Palm Beach Polo and Country Club in the 1990s.

What makes the tournament so unique is the fact it's open to teams 0-40 goal on handicap, similar to the Copa Republica in Argentina where teams of any handicap from 0-to-40 can compete. In 2017, the lowest rated team was Equuleus at four goals and highest ranked teams were Orchard Hill, Audi, Valiente and Flexjet at 26 goals. The 2017 tournament also featured 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso playing with his son Poroto in a U.S. tournament for the first time.

Santi Torres

In Argentina, there are more teams in the 20-goal range that end up winning the tournament.

In 2017, Palm Beach Illustrated won the eight-day tournament with an impressive 13-7 victory over Valiente I. Valiente had entered two teams.

Many players and sponsors believe the tournament is a great opportunity to showcase the sport's younger players.

Hilario Ulloa

"Not all up-and-coming players have that kind of opportunity to play against the high level teams," Zenni said. "It is a great showcase because everyone can play in it."

Each player receives $25,000 in prize money.

The prestigious World Cup is a tournament steeped in tradition. American businessman and polo player Bill Ylvisaker, then CEO of a Fortune 200 battery company in Chicago, created the Gould World Polo Championship with a prize purse of $150,000.

It was first held in 1976 at the Butler Polo Grounds in Oak Brook, Illinois. Ylvisaker's staff sent out invitations to countries all over the world known to have top-ranked pro polo teams.

Tommy Collingwood

Three teams from the United States were recruited and joined Mexico, India, England and Argentina in the field. The inaugural event was won by Argentina, attracted great crowds and was deemed a success.

In 1977, Ylvisaker bought 2,000 acres to develop a polo resort. The Palm Beach Polo and Country Club was built with 14 polo fields and soon became the polo capital of the world.

The first season at the new club featured the $150,000 Michelob World Cup Polo Championship. Held April 3-15, it was the highlight of the season attracting top players and sponsors from around the world. It was the world's richest and most premier polo event and one of the most significant polo championships.

Rodrigo Andrade

In 1988, Landmark purchased the club for $25 million and continued the club's growth until it was sold at auction in 1993 to Straub.

During the winter season in Wellington, Grand Champions is hosting 19 tournaments, the most of any club in the U.S., including four in January. The highlight of the schedule is the second season of the 26-goal World Polo League, featuring at least 11 teams and most of the best players in the sport.

With 18 safe and well-manicured fields, including 11-tournament grade, the club will host every level of polo for men, women and children including the WPL, the only 26-goal polo held outside of Argentina featuring the best players in the world.

Diego Cavanagh

The club 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 is coming off its finest fall season in the club's 13-year history. It was the only club in the nation to stage two 20-goal fall tournaments in addition to the International Cup and Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial. The club also hosted a full schedule of successful and highly-competitive medium goal tournaments.

Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique polo facility, nestled in the heart of the world's winter equestrian capital Wellington. It features 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and four polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball and new parking lot.

Gringo Colombres

Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm's 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 Melissa Ganzi when the club first opened.

The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA-sanctioned polo club, is thriving at Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm. It 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.
2020 WINTER SCHEDULE

JANUARY

Aspen Valley Cup
Friday 1/31 3 p.m. Aspen Valley Cup Final
     Mashomack vs SD Farms

Sterling Cup
Sunday 2/2 11 a.m.  Sterling Cup Final at GCPC
Valiente vs Santa Clara


FEBRUARY

$100,000 World Cup
Saturday 2/1 10 a.m. Audi vs Santa Clara
Saturday 2/1 12 p.m. Gracida Wine vs Daily Racing Form
Saturday 2/1 2 p.m. Valiente vs Palm Beach Equine
Saturday 2/1 4 p.m. Beverly Equestrian vs Flexjet
Wednesday 2/5 2 p.m. Dundas vs Valiente/PB Equine winner
Wednesday 2/5 4 p.m. Casablanca vs Beverly Equestrian/ Flexjet winner
Semifinals and Final TBA

FEB 1-29            Halo Polo Trophy, 6
FEB 1-29            Top Pony 8 Goal
FEB 1-29            Sieber Memorial Trophy
FEB 6-16            WPL All-Star Challenge
FEB 19-MAR 1    WPL Founders Cup
FEB 25-MAR 8    $50,000 National 12-Goal


MARCH
MAR 1-29             Madelon Bourdieu Memorial
MAR 1-29             Limited Edition 8-Goal Series    
MAR 1-28             Top Pony 12-Goal Series
MAR 4-22             WPL Palm Beach Open
MAR 28-APR 18  WPL Triple Crown of Polo
MAR 31-APR 4    WCT Finals

APRIL
APR 4-19            Las Acacias, 4-8
APR 6-12            U.S. National Mixed Doubles Polo Championship

FEB-APR           WCT Ladies Wednesday League


Polo Hotline 561-644-5050
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 May and September through November. For lessons contact Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099. 


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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