The curtain barely came down on the finals of the UPSA Piaget Gold Cup before action got underway in the 2013 Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington.
Two more 26-goal teams joined the mix with Faraway (Bo and Hutton Goodman, Nic Roldan, Santiago Chavanne and Matias Magrini) and Zorzal (Marianito Obregon, Jason Crowder, Mariano Gonzalez and Fred Mannix) signing up for the final two 26-goal tournaments of the season, the Gold Cup and the U.S. Open.
Competition in the U.S. Open got underway last Thursday with Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Sugar Erskine, Julio Arellano and Sebastian Merlos) scoring a hard-fought 12-11 win over Audi (Marc Ganzi, Nico Pieres, Gonzalito Pieres and Jeff Hall), followed by a 10-8 victory by Zorzal at the expense of ERG (Scott Wood, Agustin Merlos, Eduardo Novillo Astrada and Paco de Narvaez).
On Saturday, three more U.S. Open games took place, with Lechuza Caracas (Victor Vargas, Polito Pieres, Juan Martin Nero and Francisco Elizalde) riding past Piaget (Melissa Ganzi, Sapo Caset, Miguel Novillo Astrada and Nacho Badiola) 14-11; Audi scoring a come-from-behind 11-10 overtime win over Zorzal; while Zacara (Facundo Pieres, Lyndon Lea, Magoo Laprida and Mike Azzaro), the 2012 defending champions, defeating Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Rodrigo Andrade, Pablo MacDonough and Matias MacDonough) 12-10 in an exciting stadium matchup that was in doubt until the final minutes of the game.
Early results are favoring Valiente, Zacara and Lechuza Caracas, but with every 10-goal polo player in the world sprinkled among the teams, there are any number of combinations that might step up and make a run for the revered trophy, as was witnessed when Alegria captured the C.V. Whitney Cup.
Five U.S. Open matches are scheduled throughout the week with Audi (1-1) facing Valiente (1-0) on Thursday at 2 p.m., followed by a 4 p.m. showdown between Coca-Cola (1-1) and ERG (0-1). Friday’s 4 p.m. contest will be the only 26-goal competition of the day and will pit Piaget (0-1) against Alegria (1-0). Two games on Saturday will offer Faraway (0-1) against Zacara (1-0) at 2 p.m., followed by Orchard Hill (0-1) meeting Lechuza Caracas at 4 p.m.
Sunday’s action will feature a noon game between Audi (1-1) and ERG (0-1), followed by the IPC stadium game that will showcase Valiente (1-0) and Zorzal (0-1).
Food, drink, entertainment and the excitement of the oldest team sport in the world continue for just three more weeks before the season comes to an end with the finals of the U.S. Open on Sunday, April 21.
Ticket prices for Sunday polo range from $10 general admission to $120 box seating. Tickets for Sunday brunch at the Pavilion and its reception start at $65, upward to $330 for the Veuve Clicquot brunch package for two. Tickets can be purchased online at www.internationalpoloclub.com, or by calling (561) 204-5687. Find IPC on Facebook, follow on Twitter at @SundayPolo or visit www.ipcscoreboard.com for up-to-date scores, schedules, rosters and all other polo info.
Above: Action on the field during Sunday’s featured match between Zacara and Orchard Hill. PHOTOGRAPHY BY LILA PHOTO