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.  

All Four Quarterfinals To Be Played Sunday In Stanford Financial Group - 100th U.S. Open Polo Championship At International Polo Club Palm Beach

WELLINGTON, Florida – Pre-tournament favorites Bendabout and Catamount resume their rivalry – with a dramatic twist – Sunday at 3 p.m. in the last of the quarterfinal matches of the historic Stanford Financial Group – 100th U.S. Open Polo Championship at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.

Ten-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso of Argentina, generally regarded as the best player in the world, is replacing injured 10-goaler Mike Azzaro of Catamount. Azzaro, one of only two American 10-goalers, is suffering from a herniated disk and said doctors suggested he rest at least a week before playing. This will be Cambiaso’s first game at International Polo Club Palm Beach.

The other three quarterfinals are Sunday beginning with a doubleheader at 10 a.m. when Las Monjitas plays 1997 champion Isla Carroll and 1999 runner-up Pony Express plays 2003 finalist Lechuza. White Birch, which reached the finals three times, plays Old Pueblo at noon.

The semifinals are Wednesday at noon and 3 p.m. and the championship match is Sunday, April 18 at 3 p.m.

Scott Devon’s Catamount has beaten Gillian Johnston’s Bendabout in two finals, the 22-goal Joe Barry Memorial in late January and the 26-goal C.V. Whitney Cup on March 21. However, Bendabout won their latest encounter, 7-5, during the first round of the U.S. Open.

Catamount has struggled with injuries throughout the season. Besides Azzaro, 9-goaler Carlos Gracida is nursing a sore knee that sometimes requires injections. Patron Scott Devon missed about a month with a broken finger but has come back strong. Four-goaler Pelon Escapite, a defensive standout, rounds out the team.

Gracida leads the team with 13 goals and Azzaro has scored 11 goals. Devon has two goals and Escapite has added four goals but Catamount scored the least amount of goals – 30 – of all 13 teams in the first round.

Bendabout, which won the 2002 U.S. Open while playing under the Coca-Cola banner, is led by American 10-goaler Adam Snow and 10-goaler Miguel Novillo Astrada of Argentina. Johnston, Snow and Astrada were members of the 2002 championship team. Five-goaler Alejandro Novillo Astrada rounds out the 2004 team.

Snow, one of only two American 10-goalers, leads the team with 17 goals. Miguel Novillo Astrada is second with 14 goals. Johnston, a 1-goaler, leads all patrons with five goals while Alejandro Novillo Astrada has scored four goals.

Division I winner Las Monjitas welcomed the return of 9-goaler Eduardo Novillo Astrada to the lineup on Thursday after an absence of almost five weeks due to cracked ribs and a bruised lung. He scored one goal in the final first-round match and believes he will be even more prepared for the quarterfinals.

“I got a little tired at the end, but it was fun playing,” said Astrada.

His brother, 10-goaler Javier, picked up the slacked, leading the tournament with 27 goals. The team scored 35 goals. They are joined by younger brother, 7-goaler Nacho, and patron Camilo Bautista.

“All the quarterfinals, the semifinals are going to be tough,” said Eduardo Novillo Astrada. “The team with the better horses, the better organization, that’s what counts more.”

Las Monjitas plays sentimental favorite Isla Carroll, which boasts 15-time champion Memo Gracida on its roster as well as International Polo Club owner John Goodman. They are joined by 8-goalers Sugar Erskine and Pancho Bensadon, who is the team’s leading scorer with 20 goals.

Gracida said his team must play tighter defensively in order to advance to the semifinals.

“We float and we’re not with the man but playing zones,” said Gracida. “We must play the man tighter. That allows me to get into the game and puts less pressure on me to defend.”

Lechuza, which reached the finals in 2003 and semifinals in 2002, is trying to regain its form following the return of 10-goaler Pite Merlos, who missed two weeks with a groin injury. Merlos played four chukkers in Thursday’s final first-round match and knows he isn’t 100 percent. They are led by 10-goaler Sebastian Merlos, who scored 23 goals in the first round.

Old Pueblo, which was the last team to qualify for the quarterfinals, plays perennial powerhouse White Birch, which reached the U.S. Open final three times. Old Pueblo’s leading scorer is 17-year-old Facundo Pieres, whose father, Gonzalo, guided White Birch to more than 20 high-goal titles in the 1980s and early 1990s. Pieres scored 20 goals in the first round.

The game matches the two highest scoring teams in the tournament. Old Pueblo is No. 1 with 45 goals while White Birch is second with 43 goals. Adding more intrigue is the fact that White Birch is now led by Pieres’ brother-in-law, 10-goaler Mariano Aguerre, who has scored 21 goals in the first round.

“It’s going to be fun and sad because one of the two is going to be out,” said Pieres,” referring to himself and Aguerre.

Thirteen teams, featuring nine 10-goalers, 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 is being played on the International Polo Club Palm Beach’s five world-class Bermuda-grass playing fields.

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 a post-match awards presentation.

Individual tickets for the U.S. Open tournament Sunday games and Wednesday’s semifinals 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.