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Aspen Valley Polo Club wins on the West Coast

The setting was beautiful: white sands, blue skies, gentle ocean breezes. Polo America created a tidal wave of excitement at the Hotel del Coronado beach over Labor Day weekend. The Polo America Beach Polo Cup featuring 12 polo players and fifty horses played the first beach polo tournament on the West Coast. On the Hotel Del beach, Polo America created a playing area approximately the size of a football field for the games. The playing field had been groomed days in advance taking off the top layer of loose sand to prepare a safe surface for the horses to play.

At 12.00 and 2.00 pm each day, all eyes were on the polo. The four teams did not disappoint the 500 plus VIP’s each day. On Saturday, Aspen Valley Polo Club defeated Hoffman International Properties and Flexjet defeated Porsche San Diego. Setting up an epic final of Mother vs Son – Melissa and Grant Ganzi. The final on Sunday was exhilarating and fast paced. Each team gave it everything they had. The horses adapted to the sand and played at 100%. The MVP of the Polo America Beach Polo Cup, Agustin Merlos, showed why he is rated 10 goals on the grass and 9 goals for beach polo. He moved the ball up and down the field with ease. The final score was 10-7 for Aspen Valley Polo Club. It was tied 6-6 going into the final chukka, Aspen Valley exploded in the last chukka going up by four, until Melissa Ganzi scored on an open goal at the very end to make it 10-7.

The guests were as festive as the polo players. You could tell in an instant who was attending polo as guests walked the Paseo up to the Beach Polo entrance. Women looked festive in their colourful sundresses and hats to rival the Kentucky Derby, and men in sports coats, fedoras, seersucker suits and linen shirts looked equally as appropriate.

The Colossal 10,000 square foot VIP tent was positioned on the historic Hotel del Coronado private beach area between the ocean and the hotel. The VIP tent consisted of three terraces. The front row (16’ x 200’) was Millionaire’s Row, where all of the seating was on white leather couches. This was the area for parties of ten to see and be seen. Lavish food displays and drinks were available from the Hotel Del. The VIP section on the second terrace offered a more formal dining experience provided by Hotel del Coronado. The Polo Village was placed on the third terrace. This consisted of pop up boutiques from Ermenegildo Zegna, Grayse, Silver Seas Yachts, Contemporary Gallery, Hoffman International Properties, Leisure Society, and Joseph Goott Fine Jewelry. The pop up boutiques did a brisk business. The high net worth attendees purchased everything from jewelry to clothes to Porsches to a yacht. Yes, Silver Seas Yachts sold a yacht at the Polo America Beach Polo Cup.

The beneficiary of Beach Polo was Rady Children’s Hospital. Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego is a 520-bed pediatric care facility providing the largest source of comprehensive pediatric medical services in San Diego, Southern Riverside and Imperial counties. Rady Children’s is the only hospital in the San Diego area dedicated exclusively to pediatric healthcare and is the region’s only designated pediatric trauma center.

Comments from the weekend ranged from “What a great weekend”, “Pretty Woman comes to the Beach”, “A unique and exciting event”, “Glamour on the Beach”, “Lifestyles of the Rich, Famous comes to Coronado”.

Matthew McCartin, SVP Global Marketing: “The sport of polo is unique in that it’s not only played on grass, it’s played in arenas, in the snow and on the beach. We sponsored the Polo America Beach Polo Cup because we’re the official global brand for the USPA, and together we embrace all of the faces of the game. So when consumers walk into one of our 750 stores in 135 countries, they are not just buying a piece of apparel, they are buying a piece of the sport.”

Shawn Evan, General Manager of Porsche San Diego: “Wow! What an amazing weekend and an unbelievable event!! It was fantastic to see beach polo played with the stunning backdrop of the iconic Hotel Del Coronado! A weekend full of horses, Porsches, an incredible venue, world class polo players, amazing people and all to benefit Rady Children’s Hospital. Can’t wait for next year!”

Angela Wachtmann, Rady Children’s Hospital: “We would like to thank Polo America for choosing us to be the beneficiaries of this great event. These much needed funds will be used to help the Endowment for Neuroscience in the Genomics Institute at Rady Children’s Hospital figure out how to help children here in San Diego with their neurological disorders.”

Mayor Casey Tanaka: “The City of Coronado has a rich and interesting history going back to its incorporation in 1890. Included in its historic timeline is Coronado’s connection to polo through John D. Spreckels, who owned the Hotel del Coronado. Spreckels was so enamored with polo that he built a polo facility right here in town in the early 1900s. He even created a Spreckels Cup silver trophy, which was retired in 1921. The Coronado Polo Club was known throughout the United States for the quality of its fields and near-perfect, year-round playing climate. The City is proud of its polo heritage. Polo was the centerpiece of social life in Coronado for years. The recent two-day polo match at the Hotel del Coronado, another important piece of the City’s past, brought back that exciting history, even if just for a weekend.”

Polo America Beach Polo Cup was sponsored by Ermenegildo Zegna, Grayse, Porsche San Diego, Hotel del Coronado, Hoffman International Properties, Joseph Goott & Co., Coronado Tourism Improvement District, U.S. Polo Association, Modern Luxury San Diego and Leisure Society.

Flexjet (13)
Melissa Ganzi (0)
Lucas Lalor (6)
Julio Novillo Astrada (7)

Aspen Valley Polo Club (13)
Grant Ganzi (1)
Juancito Bollini (3)
Agustin Merlos (9)

Hoffman International Properties (12)
Riley Ganzi (0)
Juan Bollini (7)
Carlitos Gracida (5)

Porsche San Diego (11)
Bash Kazi (1)
Tito Gaudenzi (3)
Jason Crowder (7)

Photos © Kim Kumpart

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