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The Polo School Captures Metropolitan 6-Goal Cup At Santa Rita; Artemio Figueras Named MVP

Winning teammates Juan Bollini, Facha Valent, Artemio Figueras and Rebecca Cohen. © Candace Ferreira

WELLINGTON, Fla., February 18, 2024: The Polo School held off Bushwood Pink to win the Metropolitan 6-Goal Cup Friday at Santa Rita Polo Farm‘s Aspen Field.

The Polo School (Rebecca Cohen, -1, Artemio Figueras, 1, Facha Valent, 3, Juan Bollini, 3) came from behind to defeat Bushwood Pink (Jen Buchan, -1, Scott Sorbaro, 0, Santiago Mayano, 2, Kris Kampsen, 6), 4.5-4, to win the four-team tournament.

Artemio Figueras, who scored three goals including the game-winner, was Most Valuable Player.

Dirty Sanchez, a 7-year-old American thoroughbred, owned and played by Kampsen in the third chukker, was Best Playing Pony. It was her second BPP blanket awarded at Grand Champions.

In the consolation game, Pony Express (Drew Quagliano, -1, Justin Daniels, 2, Santos Bollini, 2, Benji Daniels, 1.5) defeated Rafool Polo (Meredith Lovegrove, -1, Ray Rafool, -1, Garrett Smith, 2, Sugar Erskine, 5), 4-2.

It was the second time The Polo School defeated Bushwood Pink in the month-long tournament. In their first meeting, The Polo School defeated Bushwood Pink in the season-opener, 7-5.5. Figueras scored a game-high five goals including a 120-yard insurance goal in the closing seconds.

In Friday‘s game, Figueras scored the opening goal with 5:36 left in the first chukker for a 1.5-0 lead. Three minutes later, Sorbaro scored and Kampsen converted a 40-yard penalty to lead 2-1.5 going into the second chukker.

After Kampsen stopped a potential Bollini goal just in front of the goal mouth and The Polo School missed a penalty attempt, Facha scored the only goal of the chukker to give The Polo School back the lead, 2.5-2.

The seesaw battled continued in the third chukker with Mayano scoring at the 6:10 mark to give Bushwood Pink a 3-2.5 lead. Both teams had scoring opportunities for the rest of the chukker including Kampsen‘s 40-yard penalty conversion bouncing off the goal post.

Figueras hit a neck shot with four minutes left to give The Polo School a 3.5-3 lead. A minute later, he scored again for a 4.5-3 advantage. Kampsen hit Sorbaro who scored in the final minute to trail 4.5-4. Bushwood Pink had one final shot at regaining the lead but a goal attempt went wide.

For Cohen, an accomplished dressage professional, it was her first tournament victory in polo. Cohen is a Polo School student.

In last year‘s 6-goal final, Orea Polo (Petra Sobotova, -1, Finn Secunda, 1, Justin Daniels 2, Matias Busquet) rallied in the final minute to win its first tournament of the winter polo season.

Orea Polo edged the Polo School (Meredith Lovegrove, -1, Santos Bollini, 2, Alex Webb, 2, Juan Bollini, 3), 3-2. Busquet, who scored the game-winner with 1:04 left in regulation, was  MVP. Orquideo, a 6-year-old homebred stallion, played by Daniels, was selected Best Playing Pony.

During the winter polo season, Grand Champions Polo Club, the nation‘s busiest and most innovative USPA-sanctioned polo club nestled in the heart of the world‘s winter equestrian capital, hosts a wide range of tournaments: 6, 8, 12, 20, and 26-goal leagues, The Polo School Women‘s Polo League, WCT Finals, several PTF junior tournaments, World Polo League, World Polo League Pride and Sunset Chukkers & Cocktails at both Grand Champions and Santa Rita.

The season‘s biggest highlight is the historic sixth season of the World Polo League, the only 26-goal polo played outside of Argentina that begins Saturday with the All-Star Challenge. It features some of the world‘s top players including 10-goalers Pablo MacDonough, Jeta Castagnola and Juan Martin Nero, former 10-goaler Gonzalito Pieres, Alejandro Novillo Astrada and hometown favorite Nic Roldan, the second highest ranked American at 8 goals.

Other high goal season highlights are the  Sterling Cup (20 goals), USPA Butler Handicap (18-22 goals), $100,000 World Cup (0-40 goals) and Santa Rita Abierto (20 goals). With the Aspen Valley 8-Goal and Metropolitan 6-Goal Cup completed, the Limited Edition 12-Goal Series will complete January league play on  Saturday.

Grand Champions 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 tracks, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and four polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation and short work arena. The club has 11 well-manicured world-class fields at GCPC and Santa Rita.

Grand Champions Polo Club caters 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.

The Polo School, now located at the former Pony Express facility, operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. The stand-alone USPA-sanctioned polo 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 has nurtured several junior, men and women polo players now playing in the pro and amateur ranks since its inception.

For more information on leagues or Polo School contact Director of Operations Juan Bollini at  561-346-1099 or General Manager Cale Newman at 561-876-2930.

By Sharon Robb
Photos by Candace Ferreira

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