Alegria Slips Past Flight Options 7-6 In U.S. Open Play

After the end of the second round of play in the 2014 Maserati U.S. Open Championships, several favorites have begun to emerge.

Valiente (2-0) iced a spot at the top of the leader board in its bracket with last Saturday’s 14-11 win over Orchard Hill, while Alegria (Julian Mannix, Clemente Zavaleta, Mariano Aguerre and Hilario Ulloa) scored its second consecutive win over Flight Options (Melissa Ganzi, Eduardo Astrada, Miguel Astrada and Alejandro Astrada) to remain the only other undefeated team.

In Sunday’s featured match at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, Alegria fended off a late Flight Options rally to secure the 7-6 win.

Ulloa converted a 60-yard penalty shot a minute-and-a-half into the opening chukker to make it 1-0. Miguel Astrada answered with a 30-yard penalty goal just two minutes later, making it 1-1. Mannix put Alegria ahead 2-1 with his first goal of the game. Goals from Alejandro Astrada and his older brother Miguel ended the period with Flight Options on the winning end of a 3-2 score.

Miguel Astrada and Ulloa traded penalty goals in the opening minutes of the second chukker to make it 4-3. Aguerre tied it at 4-4 with 3:17 left in the chukker. Ulloa scored the final goal of the chukker at the 1:20 mark to give Alegria the lead, 5-4.

Mannix blocked a penalty attempt by Flight Options by tapping the ball out of the air and then galloping 260 yards down the field for a goal, making it 6-4. Alejandro Astrada cut the Alegria lead back to a single goal, 6-5, with a goal from the field. The chukker ended with Alegria in possession of a 6-5 halftime advantage.

Goals were scarce in the fifth chukker, with Mannix scoring the only goal on a 90-yard angle shot. With once chukker remaining, Alegria was on top, 7-5.

Both defenses turned in stellar performances in the final seven minutes of the game, with Alejandro Astrada cutting the Alegria lead back to a single goal, 7-6, with five minutes left to play. Flight Options pressed the attack, but the Alegria defense held. Alegria went on to record its second consecutive win, 7-6.

Mannix and Ulloa scored three goals apiece. Aguerre added a goal for the win. Miguel Astrada and Alejandro Astrada scored three goals each in the Flight Options loss.

Mannix earned MVP honors by his voracious offensive efforts and a solid defensive performance. Miguel Astrada’s Arroba Digital was named Best Playing Pony.

Also last Sunday, Audi (Marc Ganzi, Gonzalito Pieres, Rodrigo Andrade and Gonzalo Del Tour) kept its U.S. Open hopes alive earlier in the day by holding on to beat Coca-Cola (Gillian Johnston, Sebastian Merlos, Julio Arellano and Facundo Obregon) 11-10. The victory evens the Audi record at 1-1, with Coca-Cola (1-1) losing their first game of the tournament.

Pieres scored six times (four on penalty goals). Andrade was credited with three goals, and Ganzi scored twice for the win. Merlos scored three of his team-high five goals on penalty shots. Johnston and Arellano scored two goals each, and the Coca-Cola team was awarded one goal on a Penalty 1.

The 110th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship continues this week at the International Polo Club Palm Beach. For more info., visit or call (561) 204-5687.


ABOVE: Alegria remains undefeated after two rounds of U.S. Open play. Photo by Alex Pacheco