WELLINGTON, Fla., November 6, 2023—Amaro won its second medium goal tournament of the fall season Sunday at Santa Rita Polo Farm.
Amaro (Kevin Schmeits, Scott Sorbaro, Pedro Gutierrez, 5, Pablo Dorignac, 4) defeated Victory (Becky Schmeits, Patricio Paz, 2, Govinda Quish, Martin Jauregui, 6), 8-4, and La Fe/Dazos (David Farache, Santos Bollini, 2, Sugar Erskine, 6, Louis Devaleix, 2), 7-5, in the round robin final. Victory defeated La Fe/Dazos, 7-6, in the other game.
Amaro, in the midst of its fall season debut, also won the Pedro Morrison Memorial with Sorbaro, Devaleix, Nic Roldan and Kris Kampsen earlier in the season.
Sorbaro, 25, who scored three goals including two penalty conversions, and played well defensively, was named Most Valuable Player. Sorbaro just started playing polo four years ago and has made remarkable progress.
The Best Playing Pony was 4get Me Not, a 9-year-old mare played by Martin Jauregui in the first and sixth chukkers and bred and owned by Santa Rita Polo Farm.
It was the fifth of six medium goal fall tournaments as Grand Champions Polo Club heads into the high goal part of its schedule with two upcoming USPA tournaments and International Cup featuring much-improved Spain and GCPC-USA. The Nov. 8-12 Casablanca Fall Cup is the final medium goal tournament.
On Sunday, Sorbaro, Jauregui, Dorignac and Bollini shared scoring honors, each with three goals.
Going into the third and final round robin, Amaro was sitting pretty with a net goal advantage of four while La Fe/Dazos was minus-four. La Fe/Dazos needed five goals to tie and six to win. Amaro led by as many as three, 6-3, in the first chukker. La Fe/Dazos clawed its way back into the game to cut the lead to one, but fell short.
In Friday‘s preliminary round robin where scores were carried over into Sunday‘s final, Amaro defeated Victory, 4-2; La Fe/Dazos and Victory tied, 3-3; and Amaro defeated La Fe/Dazos, 4-3. Erskine and Dorignac led scoring with three goals and Schmeits, Gutierrez and Bollini each had two goals.
On Saturday, in the Just For The Fun Of It, World Polo League (Jony Castillo, Martin Jauregui, Patricio Paz, Meredith Lovegrove) defeated Grand Champions (Sugar Erskine, Haley Schaufeld, Santos Bollini, Gaston Dorignac, 3-2. Lovegrove scored the winning goal with 3:40 left in the fourth chukker.
The game marked the fall season playing debut of world-renowned umpire Gaston Dorignac who played well during the four-chukker game.
In last year‘s Fall Plates Tournament, Sebucan (Jason Crowder, 5, Pablo Pulido, 2, Sugar Erskine, 6, Leo Mandelbaum, 2) scored the winning goal with 40 seconds left to defeat NetJets (Larry Austin, 0, Juan Sanchez Elia, 5, Nic Roldan, 8, Marc Ganzi, 1), 6-5. It was Sebucan‘s first win of the season. Mandelbaum scored five goals and was named MVP.
The nation‘s largest and most innovative polo club celebrating its 17th anniversary, is hosting both medium and high goal tournaments this season. The action is free (with the exception of special events) and open to the public.
Among the season highlights are the Nov. 7-15 USPA North American Cup and Nov. 11-21 USPA National 20-Goal Championship and Nov. 18 doubleheader featuring the Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial and International Cup featuring GCPC USA putting its undefeated 11-game win streak on the line against Spain. In last year‘s International Cup, GCPC USA won its 11th consecutive title with a 6-5 win over Switzerland.
Winners of the first four medium goal tournaments were Fall Classic, Maltese Falcons (Melissa Ganzi, Jason Crowder, 5, Juan Bollini, 3, Nic Roldan, 8); Tackeria Invitational, Aspen Valley (Govinda Quish, Jason Crowder, 5, Sugar Erskine, 6, Nic Roldan, 8); Pedro Morrison Memorial, Amaro (Scott Sorbaro, 0, Louis Devaleix, 1, Nic Roldan, 8, Kris Kampsen, 6), and Banyan Cup, La Fe (Sebastian Mandelbaum, -1/Leo Mandelbaum, 2, Nic Roldan, 8, Grant Ganzi, 3, Louis Devaleix, 2) by one net goal in a round robin over Victory I (Kevin Schmeits, 0, Santos Bollini, 2, Martin Jauregui, 6, Sugar Erskine, 6).
Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique private 102-acre polo facility in Wellington with 212 stalls in nine self-contained barns, two exercise tracks, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and four polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation, short work arena and stick-and-ball fields.
Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm cater to men, women and youth polo players at all levels. Its‘ expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its‘ Polo On Demand program at the turnkey facility.
Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal in addition to special events at its well-manicured 11 fields during the fall season. Admission is free and open to the public.
Wellington-based CTV Sports is live streaming the entire fall season worldwide. Grand Champions is the only USPA club that is live streaming all its games. CTV Sports state-of-the art technology also features team challenges and instant replay which made their debut at Grand Champions in January, 2014.
The Polo School, a 501c3 organization and stand-alone USPA club, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and October through November. For more information on the Fall Leagues or Polo School contact Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099 or Cale Newman at 561-876-2930.
Grand Champions Polo Club is located at 13444 Southfields Road in Wellington. For more information about the upcoming season visit www.gcpolo.com.
By Sharon Robb
Photos by Candace Ferreira