By Rebecca Baldridge
Photos by ChukkerTV
WELLINGTON, FL, February 15, 2021— Richard Mille trounced Santa Rita by a score of 16-8 to advance in the WPL All Star Challenge.
Richard Mille (Marc Ganzi, Jeta Castagnola, Pablo MacDonough and Paco de Narvaez) took on Santa Rita (Sugar Erskine, Pablo Spinnaci, Horacio Llorente, and Nacho Figueras) yesterday on Grand Champions Field 4. Santa Rita, with a team handicap of 24, started the match with two goals on the board.
Santa Rita started the match with a foul, allowing Pablo MacDonough to score his first goal of the day on a Penalty 3. Both teams were running hard in the first minutes, with neither finding the goal until Nacho Figueras scored at just under five minutes. A couple of unlucky fouls allowed Marc Ganzi to convert a Penalty 4 and a Penalty 2, tying the match at 3-3. In the last minute of the chukker, Nacho put the ball in play following a foul and found Sugar Erskine, who in a textbook move took out his man and ran to goal. The chukker ended with Santa Rita up 4-3. In the second chukker, the cracks began to show for Santa Rita, and they weren’t able to get on the board. Pablo MacDonough scored back-to-back goals, the second with a breathtaking neck shot, and Marc Ganzi sank another successful Penalty 2.
Going into the third chukker with Richard Mille leading 6-4, Santa Rita was starting to feel the pressure and missed several chances at the posts. Another goal by MacDonough, topped off by a Penalty 2 conversion from Ganzi, saw the half end 8-4 in favor of Richard Mille.
Santa Rita played more aggressively in the fourth chukker, with Sugar Erskine answering a goal from Jeta Castagnola. With only 14 seconds remaining to play, Jeta Castagnola slammed the ball downfield from 130 yards in a spectacular shot and the chukker ended 10-5. Santa Rita successfully converted two penalties in the fifth chukker, but continued to weaken, giving Richard Mille the opportunity to stretch their lead. At the 5:25 mark, Ganzi picked up a ball lost by Castagnola and took it to the goal. Castagnola redeemed himself for the loss by taking a ball out of the air and slamming it between the posts. Pablo MacDonough, finding himself left alone in an unfortunate error by Santa Rita, made an easy goal to end the chukker 13-7 for Richard Mille.
Santa Rita put their last goal of the day on the board with a Penalty 2 at the beginning of the final chukker. While the team in yellow fought to the last, Richard Mille continued to control the game as they had from the start and scored three more goals to win the match by 16-8. Pablo MacDonough was named MVP and the Best Playing Pony was Clavel, owned by Paco de Narvaez.
Founded by Grand Champions owners and president Melissa and Marc Ganzi, the World Polo League is the only 26-goal polo in the world outside of Argentina. The WPL was created to preserve the highest level of polo and its rich, hallowed tradition in the United States. The WPL, boasting 11 tournament-quality fields to play on, will follow the season opening All-Star Challenge with a number of top-level tournaments that will include: Founder’s Cup, Palm Beach Open, Triple Crown of Polo, and Beach Polo World Cup, Miami Beach April 21-25.
The World Polo League attracts the sport’s top players from every corner of the world, including: Australia, Chile, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Germany, Uruguay, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, South Africa, Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, an exercise track, five climate controlled tack rooms, a vet room, staff quarters, a guest house and three polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball and plans to build more in the future.
World Polo League matches will continue to be closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We closely adhere to Florida state and CDC guidelines, and take all measures possible to maintain a safe environment that will allow us to continue playing. We look very forward to the day we can welcome our fans back. In the interim, please visit www.worldpolo.org for more information. Matches can be viewed on www.chukkertv.com.
World Polo League 2021 All Star Challenge Schedule
4pm Richard Mille vs Santa Rita
11am Seminole Casino vs Hawaii Polo Life
3p Casablanca vs Winner Game 3
3pm All Star Challenge Final