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Alegria, Valiente Play Sunday For World Polo League Palm Beach Open Molina Cup At Valiente Polo Farm

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Alegria, Valiente Play Sunday For World Polo League Palm Beach Open Molina Cup At Valiente Polo Farm

WELLINGTON, Fl., March 23, 2019---Alegria and Valiente, two talented teams with unlikely losing records, will meet Sunday at 11 a.m. for the Molina Cup at Valiente Polo Farm.



On a perfect day for polo, Alegria and Valiente advanced with victories on Friday at Grand Champions Polo Club and Jan Pamela Field.

Tommy Biddle of Black Watch hits a nearside back shot with Alejandro Taranco of Valiente defending.

"It's going to be fun," said Valiente's Bob Jornayvaz. "Freddie is playing well and that whole team with Gringo on it is a great team. It's going to be a fun game. I can't wait to play those guys."

Added Freddie Mannix of Alegria, "Let's do it, I'm ready to lift some silver."

Pelon Stirling of Valiente works the nearside shot with Juan Cruz Merlos of Black Watch in pursuit.

At Jan Pamela Field, Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, 2, Agustin Nero, 6, Pelon Stirling, 10, Alejandro Taranco, 8) won its first game of the  Palm Beach Open with a hardfought 14-10 victory over Black Watch (Juan Cruz Merlos, 5, Nacho Figueras, 6, Pite Merlos, 8, Tommy Biddle, 5), coming off its stunning victory over Colorado.

"It's nice to win," Jornayvaz said. "We lost some close games. We had some fun, wide-open games and games we should have won. That's the way it works. That's why you play the game."

Alejandro Taranco of Valiente steadies his horse to hit while Tommy Biddle moves in to defend.

Valiente scored five goals (three from Stirling and two from Taranco) in the sixth chukker, including four unanswered goals in the last 3:22 minutes to clinch its long-awaited win. 

Bob Jornayvaz of Valiente follows up his hit with Pite Merlos of Black Watch defending.

"The end was nice," Jornayvaz said. "We all came out on good, fresh horses and talked about what everyone was going to do. Everybody had a job to do. We came back and really got ourselves organized and played as a team. We missed some easy goals early-on. I think we should have been ahead but we weren't. You have to score those easy ones to make it count."

Pite Merlos of Black Watch works the ball in the air with Agustin Nero of Valiente defending.

Valiente was led in scoring by Pelon Stirling with a game-high six goals. Alejandro (Jejo) Taranco added four goals, Agustin Nero had three and Bob Jornayvaz had one.

Nacho Figueras and Tommy Biddle shared scoring honors with three goals each. Pite Merlos added one goal. The team also received three goals on handicap.

Pelon Stirling of Valiente hits a neck shot to goal past Juan Cruz Merlos of Black Watch.

"Finally, finally a win," Stirling said with a smile. "A win is a win. This is a good team but we were a little bit unlucky in the draw that we got the four teams that play the semis today. I think we gave them a good run. We lost a couple of good games. It was nice polo and we enjoyed it but we were unlucky with the results. It was a little frustrating.

"Today before the game we said hopefully today is the day that we are going to get a win," Stirling said. "It was a tough win. Black Watch played good polo. They are a tough team but at the end we managed to score the goals which was good. We are looking forward to Alegria, a tough four-man team, four strong professionals. We're going to give them a good run and hopefully get another win."

Agustin Nero of Valiente and Nacho Figueras of Black Watch glance back at the shot.

After knocking off Founders Cup champion Grand Champions in its tournament-opener, Alegria (Freddie Mannix, 8, Jesse Bray, 6, Gringo Colombres, 7, Juan Martin Obregon, 5) won its second game of the tournament with an 11-7.5 victory over Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, 0/Gussie Busch, 1, Alfredo Bigatti, 8, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 8, Pablo Spinacci, 6) at Grand Champions Polo Club.

Tommy Biddle of Black Watch reaches to hook Agustin Nero of Valiente.

"We are back in the win column," Mannix said. "We did what we had to do today to win. We've had quite a few games together and quite a few practices so we are in rhythm. We just ran into big old chain-saws (SD Farms, Colorado, Audi).

"We have a very energetic team," Mannix said. "Gringo is a powerful player, Jesse is coming into his own, Juan Martin is finding his position in the back and now I'm starting to score a few goals. The team is performing better."

Jesse Bray of Alegria leans into his shot with Pablo Spinacci of Flexjet on his hip.

Alegria overcame Flexjet's five-goal handicap lead outscoring Flexjet 8-5 after two chukkers. Alegria controlled the game in the first half not allowing Flexjet a goal from the field or penalty line. Flexjet found its offense in the second half but was unable to claw its way back.

With 4:02 left in the fourth chukker, Gussie Busch replaced Melissa Ganzi, who left the game with an elbow injury.

Jesse Bray of Alegria reaches to hook Gussie Busch of Flexjet.

Juan Martin Obregon and Freddie Mannix shared scoring honors for Alegria with four goals each. Bray added two goals and Colombres had one goal. Alejandro Novillo Astrada led Flexjet with three goals.

Jesse Bray of Alegria reaches out of the saddle to back the ball away from Alfredo Bigatti of Flexjet.

The WPL is being live streamed on ESPN Deportes and ChukkerTV/Horseplay with Gus Whitelaw calling the action. For more information go to www.worldpolo.org.

Co-founded by Grand Champions owners Melissa and Marc Ganzi and Valiente Polo Farm owner Bob Jornayvaz, the 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. 

Pablo Spinacci of Flexjet working the near side shot with Jesse Bray of Alegria defending.

The WPL has its own set of simpler fan-friendly rules to improve the flow and action of the game.

The WPL, with tournament-quality fields to play on, includes the All-Star Challenge Draw Tournament, Founders Cup, Palm Beach Open and Triple Crown of Polo.

Juan Martin Obregon of Alegria following up his shot with Alfredo Bigatti of Flexjet defending.

The World Polo League is open to other teams that wish to compete in one or more of the tournaments. Games are offered on the flat (Open) and on Handicap.

The World Polo League has attracted a large international field of players from all corners of the world  including Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Nigeria, Uruguay, New Zealand and U.S.

Jesse Bray of Alegria reaches to hook Gussie Busch of Flexjet.

Grand Champions and Valiente are also launching the U.S. National Mixed Doubles Championship, featuring two men and two women with combined handicaps this month.

In addition to the World Polo League, season highlights for 2019 at Grand Champions are the Sterling Cup, $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament, John T. Oxley Memorial and $100,000 World Cup Tournament, a unique 0-40-goal, winner-take-all single-elimination tournament and WCT Final.

Alfredo Bigatti of Flexjet goes for the ball as Freddie Mannix of Alegria attempts the hook.

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, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and three polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball with plans to build more polo fields in the future.

Gringo Colombres of Alegria and Alfredo Bigatti of Flexjet go for the ball.
Photos by Ramon Casares

 
2019 WORLD POLO LEAGUE SCHEDULE

MARCH

Sunday, March 24:
11 a.m. Molina Cup Final at Valiente Field 1
Valiente vs Alegria

4 p.m. Palm Beach Open Final at GCPC Field 2
Audi vs SD Farms













Games at Grand Champions Polo Club, Valiente Polo Farm and other local fields.






Chukker TV is live streaming the entire World Polo League season with film material content provided by Polo Channel. ChukkerTV, featuring cutting-edge technology, was the first to introduce state-of-the-art live streaming technology and instant replay in January, 2014 at Grand Champions Polo Club. For advertising opportunities please contact Mike Ferreira at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Rob Jornayvaz at Polo Channel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Jan-Eric Franck
"The Voice of Polo"
ESPN West Palm (106.3FM) and ESPN Deportes (760AM) signed an exclusive contract with the World Polo League and will target the West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami markets with various broadcasts, commercials and exposure on radio, ESPN.com, ESPN app and social media platforms to promote the exciting new 26-goal league. With nearly two decades of sustained success in sports and entertainment broadcasting, Josh Cohen is among the most influential, respected and popular on-air personalities and live event hosts in South Florida. Julian Zaldivar has been a part of ESPN West Palm team and ESPN Deportes760AM manager since its inception. He is the host of Comunidad ESPN Monday through Friday that features all-sports talk and interviews with the Latino community leaders from the local Hispanic market.



Josh Cohen
Julian Zaldivar

GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB

WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.

DIRECTOR OF POLO: Juan Olivera, 561-644-5050, juan.olivera @gcpolo.com; hotline  561-644-5050.

INFORMATION: For spectators, there are great field side views for tournament action and also the Grand Champions Polo Club Boutique. The club is home base for pro teams Audi and Flexjet. Everyone is welcome to watch every level of polo in a relaxed atmosphere with food and refreshments during the featured games of the winter, spring and fall tournament seasons and other special events. Admission is free except for some special events.




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Grand Champions Polo Club, 13444 Southfields Road, Wellington, FL 33414
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