Horse and pony - site index.Horse chat message boards.Horse breeds, types and breeding gallery.Search for horse information on Equiworld.Horse information and equestrian news horse and pony magazine.Horse web links.  

Isla Carroll Beats San Saba 8-5 To Reach Quarterfinals In Stanford Financial Group - 100th U.S. Open Polo Championship At International Polo Club Palm Beach

WELLINGTON, Florida – Isla Carroll, using the experience of 15-time champion Memo Gracida and the inspiration of patron John Goodman, defeated San Saba 8-5 in a first-round game of the Stanford Financial Group – 100th U.S. Open Polo Championship Wednesday at International Polo Club Palm Beach.

The loss eliminated first-time entrant San Saba from the tournament. The 13 combined goals is the second lowest scoring game of the tournament.

In other first-round action, 10-goaler Sebastian Merlos scored six goals to lead 2003 finalist Lechuza past Orchard Hill 12-10 and 8-goaler Owen Rinehart’s only goal proved to be the game-winner with 2:08 remaining as Everglades edged White Birch 9-8.

“Our goal was to get to the quarterfinals,” said the 47-year-old Gracida, who won his first U.S. Open title in 1977 and his 15th in 1997. “Now the (U.S.) Open is starting. We have to focus chukker by chukker, minute by minute and play by play. Any team can take it.”

Isla Carroll came out strong in the second half and dominated the fourth chukker, missing at least three good scoring opportunities before 8-goaler Pancho Bensadon converted a 30-yard penalty shot with 3:01 remaining. Gracida added a goal with 15 seconds left in the chukker and San Saba never got closer than two goals the rest of the game. Bensadon and Gracida finished with three goals apiece.

Isla Carroll extended the lead to 8-4 with 4:27 left in the sixth chukker when 8-goaler Sugar Erskine scored on a breakaway from midfield with Hector Galindo chasing him.

“I don’t think there’s any more pressure because it’s Memo or it’s the 100th U.S. Open or the first year at International Polo Club,” said Erskine, who finished with two goals. “You can’t look at it like that, but I am more appreciative of the situation.”

Goodman, the patron who has been aggressive on offense in the last several games, narrowly missed several scoring opportunities.

“John has played well all season and now he’s even more effective,” said Gracida. “He was an important factor in the outcome. He was fired up.”

Ten-goaler Agustin Merlos and patron Tommy Lee Jones scored two goals apiece to lead San Saba (1-3) while Hector Galindo scored one goal. Toto Collardin did not score. Merlos finished with 16 goals and Galindo 10 goals for the tournament.

Despite the victory, Everglades did not advance to the quarterfinals. Everglades was tied with Isla Carroll and Catamount, which advanced based on net goals. Isla Carroll was plus 2, Catamount was plus 1 while Everglades was minus-2.

Eight-goaler Lucas Monteverde led Everglades (2-2) with five goals while Tomas Llorente added two goals and patron Skeeter Johnston scored one goal. Monteverde finished with 19 goals.

Ten-goaler Mariano Aguerre led White Birch (3-1) with four goals while Lucas Criado and Del Walton added two goals each. Carlucho Arellano, substituting for patron Peter Brant who was out of town, did not score.

Ten-goaler Pite Merlos returned to action for Lechuza after missing two weeks with a pulled groin injury. He played four chukkers instead of the two he had planned and scored three goals playing the No. 2 position instead of his usual No. 3 spot.

“I’m feeling better, but not 100 percent,” said Pite, who said he would not have played if it wasn’t the U.S. Open. “I still feel weak. I didn’t want to take a risk (of playing for the first time) in the quarterfinals.”

Francisco Menendez and Guille Aguero replaced Pite Merlos and Gaston Urturi for the final two chukkers. Aguero scored two goals and Menendez one for Lechuza (3-1) while patron Victor Vargas did not score.

Lechuza scored four consecutive goals in the second and third chukkers to take a 6-3 lead and coasted to victory. A late rally by Orchard Hill, with two goals in the final two minutes, closed the gap.

“I know Lechuza relies a lot on Sebastian and myself,” said Pite, who expects to play in Sunday’s quarterfinal game. “Injuries are a stone in the wheel. We have tough blood inside.”

Julio Arellano led Orchard Hill (0-4) with four goals while 10-goaler Eduardo Heguy and Nicolas Roldan added three goals apiece. Patron Steve Van Andel did not score. Arellano finished with a team-high 16 goals while Heguy and Roldan each had nine goals.

High-goal polo action in the Stanford Financial Group – U.S. Open Polo Championship continues Thursday with a doubleheader beginning at 10 a.m. when Old Pueblo(1-2) plays Texas Polo (1-2) followed at noon when Las Monjitas (3-0) plays Pony Express (2-1).

Thirteen 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.

The Stanford Financial Group – U.S. Open will be played on the International Polo Club Palm Beach’s five world-class Bermuda-grass playing fields and teams will also take advantage of the many private fields in Wellington.

The 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. Stanford’s 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.

Like 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 and Roder.

As 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.

Individual tickets for the U.S. Open tournament Sunday games range from $15 for general admission to $40 for terrace lawn seating 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 Tickets are also available at the gate.

International Polo Club Palm Beach is located at 3667 120th Avenue South, between Pierson Road and Lake Worth Road, in Wellington


Find out more, visit the links page or find answers on the message board.