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Hope Arellano honored for 10-Goal Handicap Achievement at National Polo Center this weekend.

USA Hope Arellano ©Michelle Vantine Photography

America’s latest 10-goaler, Hope Arellano, will be honored for achieving the sport’s highest handicap rating at the Joe Barry Memorial final on Sunday, January 28, at the National Polo Center in Wellington, Florida. Arellano will also be presented with the Hugo Dalmar Award for her outstanding display of sportsmanship and character on the polo field. 

“Since before the COVID pandemic, I have had it on my mind to present Hope with the Hugo Dalmar trophy,” said USPA Chairman Stewart Armstrong, who has received the honorable distinction twice. Presented in memory of Hugo Dalmar Jr. and his contributions to the USPA, the trophy is annually awarded to the player who best exemplifies the sportsmanship characteristics inherent to the sport of polo. Arellano is the third female player to receive the award since its inception in 1977.

The 20-year-old Active Team USPA* member has amassed quite the following over the years, collecting countless accolades and awards along her impressive career trajectory. A fourth-generation player, Arellano knew at just 9 years old that she wanted to be a professional like her father, Hall of Famer Julio Arellano. Her first adult tournament at the age of 11 served as the catalyst for her polo career. At 14 years old, Arellano was rated 3-goals in women’s outdoor when she first competed in and won the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship, making her the youngest player to ever win the tournament. 

Arellano made headlines again in 2022 for her appearance in the XII FIP World Polo Championship as the first woman to compete for the United States in the international competition. In December of 2023, she achieved the ultimate mark of a professional with the coveted 10-goal handicap in both women’s outdoor and arena polo. Arellano’s achievement also marked a significant accomplishment for American polo; Arellano is the first American woman to achieve a 10-goal Women’s Outdoor Handicap since the legendary Sunny Hale, and the first American to achieve any 10-goal status since Polito Pieres in 2015. She is also the youngest American to reach a 10-goal women’s handicap.

In the last year alone, Arellano led La Fe to victory in the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship in March, winning game MVP in the final (read more here). In the fall, the 10-goaler became the first American to win the Women’s Argentine Open with El Overo Z7 UAE (read more here).

“U.S. polo needs inspiration in order to ‘keep the flame’ of American polo excellence burning,” told Armstrong. “Hope’s achievement of a 10-goal rating along with the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship victory and the Argentine Women’s Open Championship victory are inspirational to women and men all across the USA.”

*Hope Arellano is an Active Team USPA Member. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.

The United States Polo Association® is organized and exists for the purposes of promoting the game of polo; coordinating the activities of its member clubs and registered player members; arranging and supervising polo tournaments, competitions, and games; and providing rules, handicaps and tournament conditions for those events. Its overarching goals are improving the sport and promoting the safety and welfare of its human and equine participants. Founded in 1890, the USPA is the largest voluntary sports organization in North America for the sport of polo. The USPA is currently made up of more than 200 member clubs and over 5, 000 registered player members. It annually awards and oversees roughly 50 national tournaments hosted by its member clubs. For more information, please visit uspolo.org.

The National Polo Center-Wellington (NPC) is the perpetual home for polo in the United States, enabling the United States Polo Association to showcase its tournaments, develop American players, and sustain an environment that will retain and attract new players through the promotion of excellence. First-rate facilities including six fields, the Grandstand, restaurants, clubhouse, social club, swimming pool, gym, and tennis courts create the hub in Wellington, Florida for world-class equestrian competition.

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