12 Teams Will Compete In The Gauntlet Of Polo Series At NPC In Wellington

9-goaler Poroto Cambiaso will join Scone again in this year’s competition. Photo by David Lominska

The United States Polo Association and the National Polo Center-Wellington recently announced the 12 teams that will compete in the 2023 Gauntlet of Polo.

The prestigious Gauntlet of Polo returns for the fifth consecutive year in the wake of its continued success, drawing the world’s greatest polo talent to vie for the three most sought-after American titles, the C.V. Whitney Cup, the USPA Gold Cup and the U.S. Open Polo Championship.

Similar to last year, teams can also enter any of the three tournaments individually. Two teams will take advantage of this opportunity, with one competing exclusively in the USPA Gold Cup and another exclusively in the U.S. Open Polo Championship. While teams can enter individual tournaments within the series, they cannot win the entire Gauntlet of Polo if they choose to do so.

This year’s competition features many returning players and teams, including reigning USPA Gold Cup and U.S. Open Polo Championship victors Pilot, as well as defending C.V. Whitney Cup champions Park Place. Pilot will see the return of Matias Gonzalez for the first time since 2019, when he helped the team to Gauntlet glory in the inaugural event, which has not been achieved since.

The prestigious event will be highlighted by new teams, Dazos and Valiente. Although Valiente has not previously competed in the Gauntlet of Polo, the team is a renowned powerhouse, generating a great amount of success in the past.

Among this year’s competitors, top American talents Jeff Hall, Jared Zenni, Matt Coppola and Nico Escobar will join forces to play for last year’s U.S. Open Polo Championship finalist, La Elina. La Elina joins the competition as the only All-American team on the roster.

Team USPA, an association program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players will be readily represented in the series. Seven Team USPA alumni and two active Team USPA members are represented on eight teams highlighting American talent.

Additionally, three 10-goalers — Hilario Ulloa, Facundo Pieres and Adolfo Cambiaso — will compete, representing the highest level of the sport.

Coming together in a commanding alliance, 9-goalers Pelon Stirling and Poroto Cambiaso look to repeat their recent success in the Argentine Open for third-year contender Scone. Though Adolfo Cambiaso and his son Poroto will play for separate teams this year, two other father-son duos will take the field together, with Rufino Bensadon and Pancho Bensadon joining Aspen and Santino Magrini and Matias Magrini on the CK Shack roster.

Teams competing in all three Gauntlet of Polo events are: Aspen, Dazos, CK Shack, Dutta Corp/Show+, La Elina, La Fe, Park Place, Pilot, Scone, Tamera, Two Trees Polo and Valiente.

The 2023 Gauntlet of Polo will serve as the premier spectacle of the NPC season.

“As is always the case with the Gauntlet, this edition will see all the teams stepping up the quality of horses and players in an attempt to achieve success. The Gauntlet represents excellence in U.S. polo. This year will raise the bar another notch,” USPA Chairman Stewart Armstrong said.

The three-part series will begin Feb. 12-26 with the C.V. Whitney Cup, continue with the USPA Gold Cup from March 1-26, and conclude with the U.S. Open Polo Championship from March 29 to April 23. The prize money distribution for the 2023 season will follow last year’s format with $50,000 awarded to each of the winning teams of the C.V. Whitney Cup and the USPA Gold Cup, and $100,000 will be presented to the winner of the U.S. Open Polo Championship.

Tickets for Sunday brunch and stadium seating for all Gauntlet of Polo tournaments on the U.S. Polo Assn. Field One can be purchased at www.nationalpolocenter.com.