Valiente Team Repeats As Piaget USPA Gold Cup Champions

Bob Jornayvaz’s Valiente team (Bob Jornayvaz, Santi Torres, Sapo Caset and Adolfo Cambiaso) led Alegria (Julian Mannix, Clemente Zavaleta, Mariano Aguerre and Hilario Ulloa) through most of the game, but needed a sixth chukker rally to claim an 11-10 victory in the final of the 2014 Piaget USPA Gold Cup, the team’s third in a row, at the International Polo Club Palm Beach last Sunday afternoon.

An Alegria foul in the opening minute of play sent Valiente’s Caset to the penalty line, where he converted the shot for a goal and an early 1-0 lead. Zavaleta tied it up on a 60-yard penalty conversion. Caset scored the final goal of the chukker on a pass from teammate Torres, and Valiente ended the first chukker ahead of Alegria, 2-1.

Zavaleta tied it up, 2-2, on a goal from the field midway through the second, but Caset gave the lead back to Valiente on a well-executed nearside neck-shot to end the chukker 3-2.

Valiente took control of the game in the third with Caset converting a penalty shot for a 4-2 advantage. Mannix cut the lead back to a single goal, 4-3, with his first goal of the game. Caset added two more penalty conversions and Cambiaso got on the scoreboard as Valiente rode off the field at the end of the first half, 7-3.

Aguerre scored two goals in the opening two minutes of the fourth period for Alegria, making it 7-5, but Valiente responded in kind. Caset scored one goal from the field, then converted a short penalty shot with just 22 seconds on the clock for a 9-5 lead.

However, Alegria staged a one-man rally in the fifth chukker with Ulloa scoring four consecutive goals (three on penalty shots) to tie it up 9-9. Valiente was unable to break through the Alegria defense as they watched their four-goal lead evaporate. The two teams were all even going into the final chukker of regulation play.

Alegria got to work right away, with Aguerre receiving a pass from Ulloa and sending a backhander through the goalposts for Alegria’s first lead of the game, 10-9. Caset tied it up on a 60-yard penalty shot just a minute later, 10-10. Another penalty goal from Caset was all Valiente needed, as they held on to register the 11-10 win.

Caset provided almost all of the Valiente offense, scoring seven of his ten goals on penalty conversions. Cambiaso added the only other goal in the game for Valiente. Ulloa scored four times for Alegria (three on penalty shots). Aguerre added three goals, and Mannix scored once in a losing effort.

Caset was aptly named MVP, while Jornayvaz’s Pipi, played by Sapo Caset, was named Best Playing Pony.

Earlier in the day, Crab Orchard (Kerstie Allen, Facundo Pieres, Magoo Laprida and Inaki Laprida) defeated Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Sebastian Merlos, Julio Arellano and Facundo Obregon) 14-9 to claim the Butler Handicap title.

Pieres scored five of his game-high seven goals on penalty shots. Magoo Laprida added four goals, and Inaki Laprida scored twice. Crab Orchard received one goal by handicap. Merlos and Arellano scored three goals each for Coca-Cola, while Obregon and Johnston added single goals in the loss.

Inaki Laprida was named MVP, while Norma, owned by Pieres, received Best Playing Pony honors.

Underway now at the International Polo Club Palm Beach is the 110th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship. For more information, visit or call (561) 204-5687.


ABOVE: Valiente reclaimed its lead in the final chukker to hold on and win the coveted USPA Gold Cup trophy. Photo by Alex Pacheco