Day Filled With Glamour, Furious Action At New International Polo
Club Palm Beach
Florida, January 6, 2004 -- Glamour and riveting action went hand
in hand as a new era in high-goal polo in the United States began
with the historic grand opening of the International Polo Club Palm
Beach on Sunday (Jan. 4).
"This is the exciting start of a new tradition," said
International Polo Club Palm Beach General Manager Michael Brown.
"John and Carroll Goodman have built a world-class polo facility
that is open to everyone."
At halftime, a helicopter delivered champagne to midfield where
the bubbly was served from the backs of a quartet of Hummers, official
vehicles of the club. Beautiful models showed off the latest fashions
from major designers throughout the day. Prior to the match, more
than 350 guests enjoyed a delicious buffet catered by The Breakers.
Gentlemen wore blue blazers and khaki's while many women sported
beautiful hats while others preferred more casual attire.
Eighteen-year-old Lauren Jerencovich of Wellington sang the national
anthem followed by the ceremonial coin toss with Village of Wellington
Mayor Tom Wenham and Joan Lunden's daughter, Jamie Kraus. Congressman
Mark Foley was among the more than 2,100 spectators who enjoyed
the action on and off the field.
A who's who of polo were on hand, including patrons Tim Gannon of
Outback Steakhouse, Christine Cato of Brigadoon, George Rawlings
of Crab Orchard and Bill Ylvisaker, the founder of Palm Beach Polo,
as well as polo superstars Mike Azzaro, Memo Gracida, Carlos Gracida,
Julio Arellano, Pite Merlos and Sebastian Merlos.
The post-match trophy presentation was highlighted by a champagne
toast and three cheers, led by Gannon, in which players and guests
raised their glasses in honor of the first of many fantastic days
of high-goal polo to come.
The action on the field was fast and furious with the inaugural
Bob Daniels' Pony Express outscored Tommy Lee Jones' San Saba 7-1
in the final three chukkers en route to a 13-9 victory in the 22-goal
Joe Barry Memorial tournament. Trailing 8-6 early in the fourth
chukker, Pony Express tied the game with nine seconds remaining
on Alex Agote's one-yard penalty shot. Pony Express then dominated
the fifth and sixth chukkers.
"We didn't do much different in the fifth and sixth chukkers,"
said Agote, an 8-goaler. "At the beginning of the game, things
weren't working. But as the game went on, things started to work.
"We were trying to put a lot of pressure on Agustin Merlos
and keep the ball away from him. When he has the ball, he is very
Merlos, a 9-goaler who finished with a team-high five goals, scored
on a breakaway with 2:47 remaining in the fifth chukker to cut the
margin to 10-9, but San Saba could not tie the game.
Pony Express scored twice in the final 59 seconds of the fifth chukker
to increase the margin to 12-9; Jeff Blake stole the ball and hit
a 40-yard forehand for an 11-9 lead and then Sapo Caset made a nice
spin move to deke a defender and dribbled in for a 10-yard forehand
with 15 seconds left to make it 12-9.
"We got a little bit frantic in the fifth and sixth chukkers,"
said San Saba's Hector Galindo, who finished with three goals. "We
made too many mistakes and they took advantage. Then, it was too
late by the time we decided to make a comeback."
Blake, who played well defensively in the decisive second half comeback,
was named the game's Most Valuable Player.
Games are open to the public. Tickets begin at $10 per person and
are available at the gate or by calling (561) 204-5687.
Polo Club Palm Beach is located at 3667 120th Avenue South in Wellington.
From I-95, take the Forest Hill Boulevard exit and go west approximately
12 miles. Turn left onto South Shore Boulevard and go two miles.
Turn left onto Pierson Road, travel about one mile and then make
a right onto 120th Avenue South. The club is on the right. From
Florida's Turnpike, take Exit 93 (Lake Worth Road) and go west about
six miles. Make a right onto 120th Avenue South. The club is on