White Birch has once again won the USPA Butler Handicap at Greenwich Polo Club, located in the backcountry of Greenwich, CT. In the final match, Santino Magrini (1), Hilario Ulloa (9), Mariano Aguerre (9) and Peter Brant (1) of team White Birch defeated Northwood, including Dillon Bacon (1), Marcos Garcia del Rio (4), Tomas Garcia del Rio (8) and Mariano Gonzalez (7), by 11-9.
Hilario Ulloa of winning team White Birch was awarded as Most Valuable Player and horse Machitos Lituania, owned and played by Mariano Aguerre, was named Best Playing Pony. Before the polo match, the spectators were treated to a Tesla Models Tesla Horse Power Challenge. Tesla offered demonstration drives of the all new Model S P90D with electric all wheel drive and autopilot features. The second annual horsepower event tested the fastest pit stop with two horses and a Tesla Model X and Model S.
About USPA Butler Handicap
The Butler Handicap was established in 1954 and named in honour of Paul Butler, in his early 60s at the time, his litany of polo accomplishments, including 29 dedicated years on the USPA Board of Governors, warranted a commemorative tournament. The Butler Handicap traditionally served as a handicap tournament for teams entering the U.S. Open and became an important USPA event for over six decades, showcasing premier players, horses and polo club venues. During that time span, just about every notable player and who’s who of Hall of Famers competed for the prestigious title. The tournament was played every year until 1966, with a few exceptions, and after a brief hiatus was played uninterrupted from 1971-1990 almost exclusively at the Oak Brook Polo Club.
In the late ‘90s and early 2000s the Butler was played only a handful of times: 1995, 2006 and 2007. In more recent times (2008-2014) the Butler served as a subsidiary to the USPA Gold Cup®, one of two 26-goal tournaments leading up to the U.S. Open Polo Championship®, hosted at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida. Jorie Butler Kent, daughter of Paul Butler, explained her family’s frustration at the decline of the tournament, “I was not very happy with it being a subsidiary for the Gold Cup, because I think it reduced its importance and position. It has a great history, and it has a lot of great names on it, and so I hope it will come back and be used the way it should be used.”
In 2014, due to the combined efforts of the Butler family and the United States Polo Association, the historic Butler Handicap was officially adopted as a national USPA event. In July of last year, the Greenwich Polo Club hosted the 20-goal tournament in Greenwich, Connecticut, in a concerted effort with the United States Polo Association to re-launch and better memorialize the national tournament. “It’s not exactly the way that daddy designed it, but it will have its own status,” said Butler Kent.
About Greenwich Polo Club
Established in 1981 by Peter Brant, the Greenwich Polo Club is the venue for high-goal polo during the summer season in the U.S. Nestled in the beautiful backcountry of Greenwich, CT and internationally recognized for its rosters of legendary teams and players, Greenwich Polo Club hosts public USPA high-goal polo matches on Sundays throughout the summer.
About The United States Polo Association®
Founded in 1890, the United States Polo Association (USPA) is the national governing body for the sport of polo in North America and is the second oldest sport governing body in the United States preceded only by the United States Tennis Association. With nearly 300 member clubs and 40 national tournaments, the USPA governs polo handicaps, tournament rules and safety regulations, to ensure the welfare and well being of both horse and player. Funded by sales from the officially licensed consumer brand, U.S. Polo Assn., the USPA purposefully re-invests revenue by underwriting numerous development programs to expand and sustain the sport of polo. More information on uspolo.org
Photos © ChiChi Ubina