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Beverly Equestrian Stuns Casablanca, Advances Into Semifinals Of $100,000 World Cup

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Beverly Equestrian Stuns Casablanca, Advances Into Semifinals Of 
$100,000 World Cup

WELLINGTON, Fl., February 9, 2020---In one of the biggest upsets in $100,000 World Cup history, Beverly Equestrian knocked off Casablanca to advance into the semifinals.


Beverly Equestrian (Bill Ballhaus 0, Hilario Figueras 3, Poroto Cambiaso 4, Tolito Ocampo 5) held on for a thrilling 17-14 victory over favorite Casablanca (Grant Ganzi 3, Juancito Bollini 4, Rodrigo Andrade 8, Juan Martin Nero 10) Saturday at windy Santa Rita Polo Farm.

In front of a packed house, it was the biggest win in Beverly Equestrian team history.

Poroto Cambiaso of Beverly Equestrian hooks Rodrigo Andrade of Casablanca.

"We didn't give up," Ocampo said. "We played every single minute to the last moment. Can you believe this? I think we are still in shock right now. We'll see tomorrow what we think.

"It is the highest team we ever played with Beverly since I have been with this team," Ocampo said. "It was a blast for us. I can't believe it. I am super happy. Every one on this team was great and played their best. We are ready to play anybody."

Beverly Equestrian will play Gracida Wine and Audi will face Dundas in the semifinals. The day, time and site is still to be determined.

"This is a big win obviously, but we have a big game ahead of us," Ballhaus said. "This was fun but now we have to get focused on coming back and playing another good game against a very tough team."

The underdog 12-goal rated team, making its $100,000 World Cup debut, started off with a 13-goal lead based on handicap against 25-goal Casablanca, featuring 10-goaler Juan Martin Nero and 8-goaler Rodrigo Andrade, members of the 2019 Argentine Open champion La Dolfina.

Hilario Figueras of Beverly Equestrian steadies the airborn ball with Juan Martin Nero of Casablanca defending.

"We played very, very, very good," Figueras said. "It was probably our best game of the season against a 25-goal team that won a World Polo League tournament last year. It was a very important game for our season."

It was the largest handicap margin in this year's $100,000 World Cup.

"We came into the game similar to the last game, just focused on our system and our game plan and not thinking about the goals," Ballhaus said. "Knowing that the best we could do is execute our game plan and that would allow us to play our best and not worry about the goals and just stay focused and that's what did."

For the second World Cup game in a row, 14-year-old Cambiaso played a key role in his team's victory. Playing well above his age, the 4-goaler was impressive with his skillful mallet work and lightning-quick maneuvering between defendersand goal runs.

Bill Ballhaus of Beverly Equestrian goes to hook Casablanca's Grant Ganzi's back shot.

With Beverly Equestrian leading 13-0 advantage, it didn't take long for Casablanca to score on Nero's penalty conversion with 4:47 left in the first chukker. Beverly Equestrian extended its lead to 14-1 in the second chukker on Cambiaso's goal run from one end of the field to the other.

Casablanca started to chip away at its deficit scoring 11 unanswered points before Beverly Equestrian scored again to end the fifth chukker on Cambiaso's second goal.

Beverly Equestrian, still leading 15-12, started off strong in the sixth chukker with Figueras saving a goal attempt with 5:26 left. A right-of-way violation against Beverly Equestrian led to another Nero penalty conversion to cut the lead to 15-13.

With 3:22 remaining, Beverly Equestrian started working the clock. Figueras turned away another goal attempt in front of the goal posts but Nero bounced back with a goal to trail by one, 15-14.

Bill Ballhaus of Beverly Equestrian goes to hook Juancito Bollini of Casablanca.

Beverly Equestrian pulled away, 16-14, when Cambiaso broke away from a pack of defenders to score from 90 yards out with an angled open cut forehand with 1:21 left. Ocampo added another goal on a 30-yard penalty conversion.

"The last chukker was amazing," Ballhaus said. "Everybody stepped up. Poroto played great. He made some great defensive and offensive plays. Hilario and Tolito were all over the field. I think we all had to play tough and stay with the man and make sure we finished the game and that's what we ended up doing."

Added Figueras, "We just kept hitting those passes, kept playing the ball when we're not pressured and just kept our cool."

Cambiaso led his team in scoring with three goals in the second, fifth and six chukkers. Ocampo added another goal in the sixth chukker with a 30-yard penalty conversion.

Poroto Cambiaso of Beverly Equestrian goes to back the ball with Juancito Bollini of Casablanca attempting to hook.

Nero scored a game-high 10 goals, Andrade had three and Bollini added one.

In early opening week action, Audi (Timmy Dutta 3, Nic Roldan 8, Pablo MacDonough 10) defeated Santa Clara (Ale Poma 1, Santino Magrini 4, Nico Escobar 4, Michel Dorignac), 18-15; Dundas Polo (Sarah Siegel-Magness 0, Guillermo Terrera 8, Jejo Taranco 8, Diego Cavanagh 9) topped Palm Beach Equine (Gonzalo Ferrari 4, Hillario Ulloa 10, Gringo Colombres 8, Scott Swerdlin 0), 14-9; and Gracida Wine (Carlitos Gracida 4, Peco Polledo 6, Juan Monteverde 5, Sterling Giannico 4)downed Daily Racing Form (Costi Caset 5, Agustin Obregon 6, Jared Zenni 6, Tommy Collingwood 5), 15-9.

The single-elimination, winner-take-all tournament, returning after a year's hiatus, is the richest prize purse offered in club history. Each player on the winning team receives $25,000 in prize money. The tournament features ten teams from 12 to 25 goal rating.

The 2017 inaugural champion was Palm Beach Illustrated, a 21-goal underdog with players Jared Zenni, Santi Torres, Agustin Obregon and Tommy Collingwood, all young, talented rising stars.

Tolito Ocampo of Beverly Equestrian gets ready to stop Casablanca's Juancito Bollini's shot.

Palm Beach Illustrated repeated as champions in 2018. Only Collingwood returned from the original team. He was joined by teammates Carlitos Gracida, Juan Monteverde and Peco Polledo.

The tournament was resurrected by Grand Champions owner and president Melissa Ganzi. It was last played at Palm Beach Polo and Country Club in the 1990s.

What makes the tournament so unique is the fact it's open to teams 0-40 goal on handicap, similar to the Copa Republica in Argentina where teams of any handicap from 0-to-40 can compete.

In 2017, the lowest rated team was Equuleus at four goals and highest ranked teams were Orchard Hill, Audi, Valiente and Flexjet at 26 goals. The 2017 tournament also featured 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso playing with his son Poroto in a U.S. tournament for the first time.

Nacho Figueras coaching his oldest son Hilario Figueras of Beverly Equestrian 
during a horse change.

In Argentina, there are more teams in the 20-goal range that end up winning the tournament.

In 2017, Palm Beach Illustrated won the eight-day tournament with an impressive 13-7 victory over Valiente I. Valiente had entered two teams.

The prestigious World Cup is a tournament steeped in tradition. American businessman and polo player Bill Ylvisaker, then CEO of a Fortune 200 battery company in Chicago, created the Gould World Polo Championship with a prize purse of $150,000.

It was first held in 1976 at the Butler Polo Grounds in Oak Brook, Illinois. Ylvisaker's staff sent out invitations to countries all over the world known to have top-ranked pro polo teams.

Poroto Cambiaso of Beverly Equestrian works the near side with Juancito Bollini of Casablanca defending.

Three teams from the United States were recruited and joined Mexico, India, England and Argentina in the field. The inaugural event was won by Argentina, attracted great crowds and was deemed a success.

In 1977, Ylvisaker bought 2,000 acres to develop a polo resort. The Palm Beach Polo and Country Club was built with 14 polo fields and soon became the polo capital of the world.

The first season at the new club featured the $150,000 Michelob World Cup Polo Championship. Held April 3-15, it was the highlight of the season attracting top players and sponsors from around the world. It was the world's richest and most premier polo event and one of the most significant polo championships.

In 1988, Landmark purchased the club for $25 million and continued the club's growth until it was sold at auction in 1993 to Straub.

Hilario Figueras of Beverly Equestrian drives past defender.

During the winter season in Wellington, Grand Champions is hosting 19 tournaments, the most of any club in the U.S., including four in January. The highlight of the schedule is the second season of the 26-goal World Polo League.

With 18 safe and well-manicured fields, including 11-tournament grade, the club is hosting every level of polo for men, women and children including the WPL, the only 26-goal polo held outside of Argentina featuring the best players in the world.

The club attracts a large international field of players from all corners 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 England.

Grand Champions is coming off its finest fall season in the club's 13-year history. It was the only club in the nation to stage two 20-goal fall tournaments in addition to the International Cup and Legends of Polo Carlos Gracida Memorial. The club also hosted a full schedule of successful and highly-competitive medium goal tournaments.

Poroto Cambiaso of Beverly Equestrian reaches for the ball with Juancito Bollini of Casablanca defending.
Photos by ChukkerTV

Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique polo facility, nestled in the heart of the world's winter equestrian capital Wellington. It features 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and four polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball and new parking lot.

Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm's 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, created by Melissa Ganzi when the club first opened.

The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA-sanctioned polo club, is thriving at Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm. It is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its' mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. Scholarships are available. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. Headed by Director of Operations Juan Bollini, The Polo School has nurtured several men and women polo players now playing in the pro and amateur ranks since its inception.

2020 WINTER SCHEDULE

FEBRUARY

$100,000 World Cup
Semifinal - Audi vs Dundas
Semifinal - Gracida Wine vs Beverly Equestrian
Final TBA

Top Pony 8 Goal
Sunday 2/9 12:15 p.m. Woodrow vs WPL at Santa Rita
Monday 2/10 11 a.m. Altaris vs Skeneateles at GCPC Field 5
Thursday 3 p.m.  2/13 Altaris vs WPL
Saturday. 2/15 10 a.m. Skeneateles vs Woodrow
Monday 2/17 10 a.m. Woodrow vs Altaris
Saturday 2/22 10 a.m. WPL vs Skeneateles
Friday 2/28 The Top Pony Handicap Final
Saturday 2/29 The Top Pony 8g Final


FEB 1-29            Halo Polo Trophy, 6
FEB 1-29            Sieber Memorial Trophy
FEB 6-16            WPL All-Star Challenge
FEB 19-MAR 1    WPL Founders Cup
FEB 25-MAR 8    $50,000 National 12-Goal


MARCH
MAR 8 10 a.m.     Great Futures Polo Day 
MAR 1-29             Madelon Bourdieu Memorial
MAR 1-29             Limited Edition 8-Goal Series    
MAR 1-28             Top Pony 12-Goal Series
MAR 4-22             WPL Palm Beach Open
MAR 28-APR 18  WPL Triple Crown of Polo
MAR 31-APR 4    WCT Finals

APRIL
APR 4-19            Las Acacias, 4-8
APR 6-12            U.S. National Mixed Doubles Polo Championship

FEB-APR           WCT Ladies Wednesday League


Polo Hotline 561-644-5050
THE POLO SCHOOL 

The Polo School at Grand Champions and Director of Operations Juan Bollini are dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. The school's mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. For lessons contact Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099. 


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 on ChukkerTV please contact Mike Ferreira at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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.

STAY CONNECTED:
ChukkerTV, 13444 Southfields Road, Wellington, FL 33414
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