Catamount Wins Emotional Game Against Isla Carroll,
White Birch Remains Unbeaten With 11-9 Victory In Stanford Financial
Group - 1OOth U.S. Open Polo Championship At International Polo Club
Florida Catamounts dynamic duo of 10-goaler Mike Azzaro
and 9-goaler Carlos Gracida used a four-day break to heal from injuries
and the time off worked as Catamount defeated 1997 champion Isla
Carroll 10-8 in an emotion-packed first-round game of the Stanford
Financial Group 100th U.S. Open Polo Championship Saturday
at International Polo Club Palm Beach.
other first-round games, 9-goaler Lucas Craido scored nine goals
to lead White Birch over Bendabout 11-9 in a battle of unbeaten
teams and Everglades, led by four goals each from 8-goalers Tomas
Llorente and Lucas Monteverde, beat Orchard Hill 10-7.
has been hit by injuries all season but has preserved. Gracida is
nursing a sore knee and is taking injections. Azzaro has a herniated
disk in his back.
could barely walk before the last game, said Gracida, referring
to Catamounts loss to Lechuza. The difference is the
injuries. The rest helped. And the horses are holding up really,
had an MRI last week, which uncovered the back injury.
not 100 percent, said Azzaro. Strength-wise, Im
about 50 percent, but the horses are at 150 percent. I still lack
some strength, but theres no pain.
were seven ties in the game, the last one at 8-8 on Azzaros
short forehand with 17 seconds left in the fifth chukker.
the sixth chukker, Gracida converted two penalty shots, a 30-yarder
with 4:50 left and a 60-yarder with 3:47 remaining, for the margin
Carroll threatened numerous times in the final chukker, but missed
two good opportunities and had Azzaro and Gracida each make key
teams combined for nine goals in the second chukker but managed
just one goal, by Pancho Bensadon of Isla Carroll, over the next
erupted at the end of the first half, when a yelling Azzaro chased
Isla Carrolls Sugar Erskine off the field. Azzaro was assessed
a technical foul at the beginning of the second half, but Isla Carroll
could not take advantage.
who has won the U.S. Open nine times, led Catamount (2-1) with four
goals while Azzaro scored three goals. Defensive standout Pelon
Escapite added two goals and patron Scott Devon had one goal.
led Isla Carroll with five goals while Erskine scored two goals
and 9-goaler Memo Gracida, who has won the U.S. Open a record 15
times, added one goal. Patron John Goodman, in his best game of
the season, did not score but set up one goal and played excellent
Birch trailed 5-2 after the second chukker before rallying for the
victory to remain in sole possession of first place in Division
II with a 3-0 record, a half-game ahead of Catamount (2-1). Criados
40-yard penalty shot with 35 seconds remaining in the fourth chukker
gave White Birch a 6-5 lead it never relinquished.
the fifth chukker, Criado scored consecutive goals in a 42-second
span to increase White Birchs lead to 8-5 with 3:43 left in
the fifth chukker. Ten-goalers Adam Snow and Miguel Novillo Astrada
responded with goals to cut the margin to 8-7 with 58 seconds left.
But Criado knocked in a 50-yard grounder with 10 seconds left in
the chukker to push to lead to 9-7.
cut the margin to one goal twice in the final chukker but could
not tie the game. Criado clinched the victory with a 40-yard penalty
shot with 31 seconds left.
Mariano Aguerre added two goals and 3-goaler Del Walton scored one
goal for White Birch. Twenty-five-year-old Carlucho Arellano, a
4-goaler substituting for patron Peter Brant for the second consecutive
game, did not score. Brant was out of town on business but is expected
to return for White Birchs game Wednesday against Everglades.
and Miguel Novillo Astrada scored four goals each for Bendabout
(2-1), which remains in first place in Division III. Patron Gillian
Johnston added one goal and Alejandro Novillo Astrada did not score
Hill (0-3) scored the games first two goals, but Everglades
(1-2) responded with six consecutive goals in the second and third
chukkers and never trailed.
patron Skeeter Johnston and 8-goaler Owen Rinehart scored one goal
each. Seven-goaler Nicolas Roldan led Orchard Hill with three goals
while 10-goaler Eduardo Heguy and 8-goaler Julio Arellano scored
two goals apiece. Patron Steve Van Andel did not score.
polo action in the Stanford Financial Group U.S. Open Polo
Championship continues Sunday with a tripleheader beginning at 10
a.m. when Pony Express (2-0) plays Texas Polo (0-2), followed by
Millarville (1-2) against Old Pueblo (0-2) and concluding with Tommy
Lee Jones San Saba (1-1) against Victor Vargas Lechuza
(1-1) at 3 p.m.
teams, featuring nine 10-goalers, have entered the Stanford Financial
Group U.S. Open Polo Championship, the most prestigious polo
tournament in North America, highlighting the historic inaugural
polo season at the International Polo Club Palm Beach. The 26-goal
tournament culminates with the championship match on Sunday, April
18 at 3 p.m. Fifteen teams, in 2002, is the record for teams in
a U.S. Open.
Stanford Financial Group U.S. Open will be played on the
International Polo Club Palm Beachs five world-class Bermuda-grass
playing fields and teams will also take advantage of the many private
fields in Wellington.
Houston-based Stanford Financial Group, a privately-held global
network of affiliated companies, has signed on as the title sponsor
of the 100th U.S. Open Polo Championship in 2004. Stanfords
family of companies provides international private banking, trust
and brokerage services and real estate development. Currently, the
Stanford organization manages in excess of $17 billion in deposits
and assets, serving clients on six continents. The success of the
group is the result of entrepreneurial spirit and drive spearheaded
by third generation Chairman and CEO R. Allen Stanford.
the high-goal teams on the field, the International Polo Club Palm
Beach has amassed a lineup of prestigious sponsors for the U.S.
Open. The Stanford Financial Group U.S. Open tournament will
feature a different presenting sponsor every Sunday, including Bombardier
Aerospace, Cunard Ltd. and HUMMER, Mitchell-Peck Jewelers, Piaget
always, there will be a delicious Sunday brunch, catered by The
Breakers, open to the public preceding the featured stadium match,
along with the now traditional and very popular champagne divot
stomp and an post-match awards presentation.
tickets for the U.S. Open tournament Sunday games range from $15
for general admission to $120 for tailgating spots and are available
in advance. For ticket information for the U.S. Open, please call
the club at (561) 204-5687 or visit online at www.internationalpoloclub.com.
Tickets are also available at the gate.
Polo Club Palm Beach is located at 3667 120th Avenue South, between
Pierson Road and Lake Worth Road, in Wellington.