The finalists were determined Wednesday for the 2017 U.S. Open Polo Championship. Archrivals Orchard Hill and Valiente will compete Sunday at the International Polo Club Palm Beach for the top prize in American polo.
In the semifinal matches Wednesday at IPC, Orchard Hill, the defending champion, claimed a 10-9 overtime win over previously undefeated Flexjet. Meanwhile, 2015 U.S. Open winner Valiente took a 16-6 victory over Travieso, a team that made its U.S. Open debut this year.
The final match takes place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 23 on Engel & Völkers Field at IPC. Orchard Hill and Valiente have frequently faced off in the finals of top international polo tournaments. Each has at least one of the world’s top-ranked players. The Pieres cousins, Facundo and Polito, play for Orchard Hill. Valiente has Adolfo Cambiaso, widely considered the No. 1 player in the world.
The most prestigious polo tournament in the United States, the 26-goal U.S. Open Polo Championship has been hosted at IPC for the past 14 years. The final caps off the “triple crown” of U.S. polo and features megastar players of the sport. Valiente, which won the U.S. Open in 2015, will earn the triple crown if the team wins the final Sunday, having previously won this year’s USPA Gold Cup and C.V. Whitney Cup.
In honor of the final, the afternoon will include pageantry. Stunning black Friesian horses will deliver the legendary trophy in a vintage carriage. Activities and entertainment are scheduled before and after the match. A spectacular 2 p.m. Sunday brunch will be offered at the Pavilion and will be served throughout the game.
Post-awards ceremony the celebration continues with a lively “block party.” The entire polo field will transform into a dance floor, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Spectators are in for a huge treat as Gipsy Sound Revolution is joined by violin supernova Lili Hayden for a wild evening of ecstatic rhythm.
Flying in from the south of France and Rajasthan, India — where polo had its origins — Gipsy Sound Revolution will be there especially for the U.S. Open, fusing the glorious Catalan rumba with sufi beats, filling the air with joy.
Before the game, professional polo players, including Brandon Phillips, will mingle with brunch guests at the Pavilion starting at 2 p.m. One of the world’s most talented polo players, Phillips currently carries a 5-goal handicap and has captured some of the sport’s most coveted trophies. Brunch attendees can learn about the game and bring a polo ball for players to autograph.
The Sunday brunch buffet includes an array of breakfast, lunch and dessert items, and brunch attendees can watch the game fieldside. Veranda seating is $175 per person. For two people and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, the price is $400. A group of six can enjoy brunch and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot for $1,050.
The Coco Polo Lounge offers a specialty food display, a gift item, fieldside lounge seating as well as a welcoming cocktail for $250.
Brunch tickets can be ordered at https://internationalpoloclub.ticketleap.com, or call (561) 891-2988 for reservations. Tickets are subject to availability.
Tickets to watch the polo match on the opposite side of the field are $10 for general admission (standing room only) and can be upgraded for an additional fee based on availability. Self-parking or shuttle service from parking areas is $5, and valet parking is $10. For more information, visit www.internationalpoloclub.com.
The International Polo Club Palm Beach is located at 3667 120th Avenue South in Wellington.
ABOVE: Matias Torres Zavaleta (foreground) of Valiente and Alfredo Capella of Travieso battle for the ball in Wednesdays semifinal action. Photo by Diana De Rosa