WELLINGTON, Fla., February 5, 2022—Three members of reigning Argentine Open champion La Natividad highlight the team rosters for the highly-anticipated World Polo League‘s fourth season at Grand Champions Polo Club.

Ten-goaler Polito Pieres, the highest ranked American player, will make his World Polo League debut. La Natividad teammates and brothers Barto and Jeta Castagnola will also compete.

In its first final on the hallowed Palermo Field One, La Natividad won the 128th Argentine Open with a thrilling 15-13 victory to end the Adolfo Cambiaso-led La Dolfina Saudi Polo Team‘s eight-year reign.

Cambiaso‘s young nephews, Bartolome (Barto) and Camilo (Jeta) Castagnola combined for 12 goals and five assists including a perfect 4-for-4 shooting from the penalty line and never trailed in the game. Pieres was making his sixth appearance in the finals. Barto Castagnola was named MVP. All three were raised to 10 goals in Argentina.

The La Natividad players are expected to bring that same brand of excitement to the star-studded World Polo League competing on two different teams, Audi and Catamount, in the only 26-goal polo being played outside of Argentina.

In the late 1990s and early 2000, Scott Devon‘s Catamount was one of the sport‘s top teams featuring a pair of 10-goalers, Mike Azzaro and Carlos Gracida. In 2004, Catamount made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Open, narrowly missing the final with an overtime loss to White Birch. White Birch (2005), Audi (2009) and Alegria (2014) have all won U.S. Open titles and have hallowed traditions in polo.


Polito Pieres

Eight teams will compete when the season gets under way with the All Star Challenge. The virtual draw will be held Monday night at 6 p.m. and live streamed worldwide by ChukkerTV with veteran polo announcer Jan-Erik Franck, the voice of polo. The games will begin play based on team schedules with the championship final set for Feb. 26 at 4 p.m.

Three other 10-goal players will compete in the WPL including Pablo MacDonough and Juan Martin Nero for Richard Mille and Gonzalito Pieres for Seminole Coconut Creek Casino.

 

Team sponsors and rosters are:

ALEGRIA
Juancito Bollini (+4)
Clemente Zavaleta (+7)
Tincho Merlos (+8)
Fred Mannix (+7)

AUDI
Marc Ganzi (+2)
Camilo Castagnola (+9)
Barto Castagnola (+9)
Paco de Narvaez (+6)

CATAMOUNT
Scott Devon (+1)
Polito Pieres (+10)
Toro Ruiz (+7)
Nacho Novillo Astrada (+8)

RICHARD MILLE
Santos Bollini (+2)
Grant Ganzi (+3)
Pablo MacDonough (+10)
Juan Martin Nero (+10)

NETJETS
Nacho Figueras (+6)
Tomacho Pieres (+6)
Pablo Spinacci (+6)
Sugar Erskine (+6)

SEMINOLE CASINO COCONUT CREEK
Melissa Ganzi (0)
Alejandro Novillo Astrada (+8)
Gonzalito Pieres(+10)
Juan Martin Zubia(+8)

WHITE BIRCH
Chris Brant
Mariano Aguerre
Santi Toccalino
TBA.

BROOKSHIRE POLO TEAM
Scott Wood
Rufino Bensadon(+8)
Nic Roldan(+8)
Pancho Bensadon (+7)

 


Pablo MacDonough and Juan Martin Nero

The successful 26-goal World Polo League was co-founded by Marc and Melissa Ganzi and has attracted a large international field of players from all corners of the world.

The world-class league will run through April 16. The World Polo League is about the preservation of the highest level of polo and its rich, hallowed tradition in the U.S. The WPL has its own set of simpler fan-friendly rules to improve the flow of the game and world-class umpires.

The All-Star Challenge opens the high goal season followed by the inaugural Tommy Hitchcock Legacy Memorial, Feb. 27; Founders Cup, Feb. 23-March 13; Palm Beach Open, March 9-27; Triple Crown of Polo, March 23-April 16 and Beach Polo World Cup Miami Beach, April 29-May 1.


Barto Castagnola

Grand Champions has also added  Sunset Chukkers and Cocktails, presented by Seminole Casino Coconut Creek held Tuesday late afternoon on Field One for players and guests. 

Grand Champions, the nation‘s largest polo club, celebrating its 15th anniversary, is coming off its most successful fall season. Club officials hope to build off that success when it hosts 23 tournaments from January through April. 

The high goal club tournaments feature the Sterling Cup, $100,000 World Cup and Santa Rita Abierto.

The 16-goal league play includes the Feb. 14-Mar. 5 Grand Champions Cup, Mar. 8-26 Power Horse Invitational and Mar. 29-Apr. 16 Pedro Morrison Memorial.


Camilo Castagnola

The 12-goal league is the Limited Edition 12-Goal Series currently underway, Feb. 15-Mar. 5 Sieber Memorial Trophy, Feb. 16-27 $50,000 National 12-Goal and Mar. 8-26 Top Pony 12-Goal.

After January‘s successful Aspen Valley Cup, the 8-goal tournament schedule continues with the Feb. 15-Mar. 5 Top Pony 8-Goal and Mar. 8-26 Limited Edition 8-Goal. 

The 6-goal schedule features the  Metropolitan Cup, also underway; Feb. 15-Mar. 5 Halo Polo Trophy and Mar. 8-26 Madelon Bourdieu Memorial.

There is also the Polo School Grand Champions Women‘s League, co-founded by Melissa Ganzi and Alina Carta, for all ages and playing ability held Wednesdays at 10 a.m. at Santa Rita Polo Farm.


Nic Roldan

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 several 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 13 well-manicured, world-class fields at GCPC and Santa Rita Polo Farm, hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal including the 26-goal World Polo League in addition to special events.


Mariano Aguerre

The Polo School, now located at the former Pony Express facility owned by Melissa and Marc Ganzi, operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. For more information on the Fall Leagues or Polo School contact Director of Operations Juan Bollini at  561-346-1099 or General Manager Cale Newman at 561-876-2930.

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 only polo club in the U.S. to offer the unique program.

By Sharon Robb
Photos by Federico Lopez Claro