After finishing runner-up to GSA last season, Patagones was determined to win the Sieber Memorial 12-Goal Tournament Sunday at Grand Champions Polo Club. In the battle of unbeaten teams, Patagones (Joaquin Avendano, 1, Robi Bilbao, 4, Benjamin Avendano, 2, Santi Wulff, 5) held off Beverly Equestrian (Bill Ballhaus, 0, Hilario Figueras, 2, Tolito Ocampo, 4, Carlucho Arellano, 5) for a thrilling 11-10 victory.
Joaquin Avendano, Benjamin Avendano and Santi Wulff were members of last year’s runner-up team. Patagones finished this year’s tournament 5-0 and Beverly Equestrian dropped to 3-1. Wulff scored a game-high seven goals and was named Most Valuable Player. “It was the most competitive tournament, there were so many teams,” Wulff said. “We played five games to get here so it was a long tournament. We wanted to win it after last year.”
The Grand Champions Polo Club Best Playing Pony was Chukker, an American thoroughbred owned and played by Carlucho Arellano. The bay mare was bred by Bart Evans, purchased and trained by Marathon Farms and sold to Arellano as a 5-year-old.
The tournament is named in honor of polo player Rob Sieber, who died in a polo-related accident 32 years ago at Oak Brook, Ill. John Sieber presented the awards during the post-game ceremony. Sieber was also presented with a Britto print from Grand Champions.
Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique private 100-acre polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation and stick-and-ball fields. During fall, winter and spring seasons, Grand Champions Polo Club, the nation’s largest club with 11 well-manicured fields, hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal in addition to special events. The club features monthly 6, 8 and 12-goal tournaments and women’s weekly league play during the winter season in addition to two 16-20 tournaments, $50,000 National 12-Goal, $100,000 World Cup winner-take-all 0-40-goal tournament, WCT Tournament and USPA National President’s Cup.
During the 2017 winter season Grand Champions attracted a record 72 teams and another 18 teams during the spring season. Grand Champions 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 only polo club in the U.S. to offer the unique program.
The Polo School at Grand Champions and Director of Operations Juan Bollini are dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. The school’s mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November.