In a wet, wild finish Colorado held off Audi for a thrilling 9-8 victory to capture the World Polo League’s Triple Crown of Polo Sunday at rain-soaked Grand Champions Polo Club.
After two rain delays in the two hour, 20-minute season finale, Colorado joins Valiente, Grand Champions and SD Farms among the inaugural 26-goal league’s tournament champions. Colorado (Rob Jornayvaz, 2, Juan Martin Zubia, 7, Jero Del Carril, 7, Adolfo Cambiaso, 10) finished the eight-team tournament undefeated at 5-0 and won $90,000 in prize money. Audi (Marc Ganzi, 2, Nic Roldan, 8, Pablo MacDonough, 10, Kris Kampsen, 6) dropped to 4-1. Both teams were making their second tournament final appearance.
Cambiaso, a field general for his three young teammates including 19-year-old Zubia, was the game and tournament Most Valuable Player. His horse, Gaita, was Grand Champions Best Playing Pony. Ganzi was awarded the Catena Play of the Day. “This was a great way to end the season,” Cambiaso said. “It’s always nice to win. I think we deserved to win.”
The start of the game was delayed 40 minutes and again with 3:51 left in the game because of heavy rain. “It was a super tough game,” Jornayvaz said. “We weren’t sure at the beginning if we were even going to be able to play. It was a battle from the beginning. It’s always awesome to have Adolfo on your team because he is always good in those clutch moments.”
With Colorado leading 9-3 at the start of the fifth chukker, Audi caught on fire, found its system and controlled the momentum in the rain. Audi rallied to score five unanswered goals in the fifth and sixth chukkers but came up short. “We thought it was all over,” said World Polo League guest commentator Pelon Stirling after Audi’s remarkable comeback.
“You want drama, you got it,” added play-by-play announcer Gus Whitelaw. “To ask for better polo than this would be greedy. The crowd is sticking around for this one, rain and all.” Heavy rain forced another delay at 3:51. Juan Olivera of Grand Champions, Robertito Zedda of Valiente and WCT Commissioner Dale Smicklas walked the entire field to make sure it was still playable and safe. The field held up well thanks to the tireless work of the Grand Champions field crew throughout the season.
Rodiseo, played by MacDonough, was named American Polo Horse Association Best Playing Pony of the game. Pizza, also played by MacDonough, was the American Polo Horse Association Best Playing Pony of the tournament.
Colorado players names will now be inscribed on the trophy and added to an impressive list of teams that feature several top players including Sebastian Merlos, Mike Azzaro, Tommy Biddle, Adam Snow, Nic Roldan, Matias Magrini, Jeff Hall, Mariano Gonzalez, Michel Dorignac and Kris Kampsen.
Co-founded by Grand Champions owners Melissa and Marc Ganzi and Valiente Polo Farm owner Bob Jornayvaz, the successful World Polo League is the only 26-goal polo in the world outside of Argentina. The WPL is preserving the highest level of polo and its rich, hallowed tradition in the U.S.
By Sharon Robb