Surf Cup Finals

This past Sunday was a great wrap-up to the first half of our 2011 season. The stands were packed for the Midsummer Surf Cup Finals! The feature match pitted Starmeadow/Hanalei against Tritech/La Pasion, with the latter squeaking out a win, 11-12. The match started out with a 3-0 handicap. For those of you who are still learning how a polo match is scored, the combined handicap of each team’s players should equal that of the opposing team. The more experienced players have a greater handicap. In the case of Sunday’s feature match, Starmeadow/Hanalei had a handicap of 7 and Tritech/La Pasion has a handicap of 10. To adjust for the difference, the match began with a score of 3-0. Tritech was able to overcome the deficit with the help of Gaston VonWernich who played stunningly, scoring 9 goals throughout the game, 4 of them in the 3rd chukker. Jesse Bray of team Starmeadow had a great match as well, scoring 4 points, outscoring his father, Graham Bray, who played for the same team and scored 2 goals toward the team’s total of 8.

San Diego Polo Club had some visitors from up north this Sunday when the Orange County Pony Club came to tailgate. At intermission, Gerardo, our school groom, demonstrated how to tack a polo pony to the Pony Club.

For the rest of the fans, they watched an intermission show of Flyball – a sport where teams of dogs demonstrate their athleticism as they compete to catch tennis balls in their mouths and race over hurdles.

Spectators stayed into the evening to listen to the eclectic sounds of the Sunday afterparty band, Fula Bula.

Don’t forget, Polo is going on a summer break for the next 3 weeks and will be back on August 14 for the Fernando Gutierrez Memorial Cup. For this match, SD Polo Club is thrilled to be partnering with TERI’s Theraputic Equestrian Program.

Meet Kimo Huddleston

We swung by Kimo’s barn and found him with his two daughters, Hi’ilawe and Ilihia, jamming to some Hawaiian tunes and cleaning his horse stalls.
Kimo, tell us how you got here.
Well, it starts with Steph (my wife).  We met in Oahu at a polo match.  She came to watch and we just started talking.  One day we went riding and when she fell off and got back on, I knew she was the one.  We got married, moved to the big island and had 2 girls, Hi’ilawe and Iliha.  Steph became a nurse and wanted to move to San Diego to take care of her family.  Playing polo in San Diego seemed like a great opportunity so she didn’t have to ask twice.

Kimo holding his youngest daughter Uakea and chatting with his eldest, Hi’ilawe.
How long have you played here and where else have you played?
I’ve been here for four years.  My family is here, so we don’t move around (like most players).  I’ve played in San Diego, Indio and Oregon.
How long have you been teaching at our Polo School?
This is my third season.
How did you get involved in the Polo School?
I started teaching private lessons in my spare time and it just developed from there.  I started teaching intermediate lessons and just this past year, beginner lessons.  I actually like the beginner lessons better because the players don’t know much and are better students.  I go crazy when someone has taken 3 lessons and they think they know everything.  I want to knock them around.  I’ve been playing for 30 years and they think they know more than me.  I love teaching and helping people who want to learn.
So, what do you do to relax?
I can’t.  Well, maybe with a golf club.
What do you mean, golf?
Yea.  I was going to come to San Diego to either play polo or golf.  I won a $700 bet a few years ago on the Encinitas golf course.  I guess the full sleeve of tattoos threw the guy off.
That’s pretty funny.  Switching gears here, how do you find help?
Well, Hi’ilawe (his eldest daughter) helps me groom.  She needed money and something to do over the summer.  I figure I have to pay someone, it might as well be my kid.
What about finding a horse?  What is the process involved?
Once you put out the word at the barn, they (horse breeders and trainers) come out of the woodwork.  Everyone is different with how they choose horses.  I look for one a good size and good tempermant.  I don’t care if it’s ugly, it has to be good.  And it’ll look good playing.  Then you stick and ball with it a bit, try it out in practice chukkers, see how it handles and then make a deal.
Does that usually take a few weeks?
Yea.  If it takes longer than that, you’re not going to buy it.
That makes sense.  Do all of your horses have Hawaiian names?
Yep.  Hula Girl, Shakalaka, Onolicious, Big Mama… I actually have a funny story about Big Mama.  I was playing her in a game and this larger woman was on the opposing team.  The woman came ripping right past me and Big Mama wanted to go fast too, but I said, “easy Big Mama, easy.”  The heavier woman came up to me after the game and told me it wasn’t very nice that I commented on her weight.  Everyone laughed and I explained the horse’s name was Big Momma.
Oh no.  Big Momma sounds like a trouble-maker.  Tell us Kimo, what does the future hold for you?
I was meant to play sports, so I’ll keep playing polo for as long as I can.  Then retire and play golf!

Surf Cup & Hat Day!

It was another exciting afternoon at San Diego Polo Club as crowds gathered for the annual Surf Cup.

In the first match, Kimo Huddleston (4) of Monteverde/Southwind had a stellar performance, surprising onlookers with a breakaway after a knock in, trapping an air ball and sailing it though the goal about 40-60 yards out.  With just 10 seconds left in the 2nd chuckker, his resulting goal tied the game at 4 to 4.

Miguel Gutierrez of team Hanalei Bay/Adeptus broke a quiet streak, scoring 3 goals in the match.  And Mariano Fassetta racked up 4 more goals in the second half to ultimately take his team to the trophy deck.

Alvaro Tadeo, at a diminutive 5’8” compensated for his stature with aggressive action on the field.  He scored 2 goals for team Monteverde/Southwind but it wasn’t enough to win the match – the team was outscored by team Hanalei Bay/Adeptus who came out on top, 10 to 8.

During intermission, Del Mar Hat Company produced a fun fashion show celebrating Hat Day at the San Diego Polo Club.  Models showed off hats big and small, just in time for the Race Season!

In the feature match, Tritech/La Pasion thought they had it in the bag during the first half of the game, winning 8 to 1 over San Judas/San Fernando.  But San Judas/San Fernando gave Tritech/La Pasion a run for their money in the final chukkers.  Ramon Richard and Roberto Estudillo scored 3 goals each.

Tracee Brunetti earned the ball well and scored 4 goals for team Tritech/La Pasion who won the match 12 to 8.

Guests mingled with the players during the Polo After Party and listened to the Bill Magee Blues Band.

The “Late Nite After Party” was held at Paradise Grille and sponsored by Mogl.

Tailgating at Polo

Tailgating is one of the oldest and most traditional ways to view polo.  Before grandstands and tents were set-up, fellow players and spectators often parked their cars on the sidelines to watch the match.

To this day, when we host matches at the San Diego Polo Club, whether it’s a practice game on Thursday or tournament game on Saturday morning, you can bet your life you’ll see fellow polo players parked in their golf carts, trucks and cars, watching the game.

We invite you to pack your favorite items (and friends) and join us on Sunday for an afternoon match.  It’s only $10 per person and you do not need a reservation!  Check the summer schedule here.

Check out some of our favorite tailgate items!

Stemless champagne flutes (and they’re plastic!)  Also available at Coconut Lime in the Flowerhill Promenade.

Champagne & popchips.Urban Picnic Bucket Set by Dansk keeps your champagne cool!

Spread out on the grass with a picnic blanket. This one has a waterproof backing!
It couldn’t get any easier with the Table in a Bag/Picnic Chair from Crate & Barrel. Roll it up and pack it in the car.

Collapse this tote once you’ve finished your picnic goodies.

Squishy Silicone Bowls perfect for pasta salad!
Bamboo Plates & Utensils

Bring yummy craft brew to share with your group.  Try Ballast Point Yellowtail Pale Ale!
Hope to see you on the flip-side!

Pan-American Cup Finals/ 4th of July Celebration

The San Diego Polo Club celebrated Independence Day with two matches, golf cart polo, and live music by the Heat Showband.  With festive decorations, noise-makers, temporary tattoos and plenty of spirit, the guests had a wonderful time.

We started the day with a 9 chukker round robin match.  La Pasion/San Fernando came out on top over teams Tritech/Monteverde and Star Meadow/San Judas.  Roberto Estudillo of La Pasion/San Fernando scored a whopping 5 goals in 4 chukkers, Diego Cossio scored 3 goals, Charly Cendoya scored 1 goal, and Tracee Brunetti scored 1 goal, totaling 10 goals for the team.

During the intermission exhibition, fans were encouraged to join our players in a game of golf cart polo.  Inspired by her son’s win of the round robin match, Senora Estudillo had a fabulous time swinging the mallet on the golf cart.

The feature match between Adeptus/H2 and Southwind/Hanalei Bay was a fun one.  Jesse Bray (3) of Adeptus/H2 had a few killer shots, scoring 4 goals for his team.  Eyes are on Bray for the next few years, as he is only growing to be a stronger player.  Miguel Gutierrez (4) had 2 goals, and Colleen Wilson (0) scored 2 as well, totaling 8 for the team.

Southwind/Hanalei Bay, with a handicap of 2 above Adeptus/H2, won the Pan-American Cup on Sunday.  Star of the show, Mariano Fassetta (6) scored 10 goals alone.  Chris Collins (1) scored 3 goals, and Krista Bonaguidi (-1) scored an additional goal, racking the points up to 14.  The fourth member, Alvaro Tadeo (3), celebrated his win with his baby daughter, Valentina, on the trophy deck.

Krista Bonaguidi (-1), Chris Collins (1), Mariano Fassetta (6), Alvaro Tadeo (3)


After the classic pretty woman divot stomp, children under 12 participated in a watermelon eating contest.  Winner was Ian from San Diego and his sister came in second place!  Ian won a gift certificate to Geppetto’s Toy Store.

Music, drinks and dancing with the band Heat proved to be exciting, as the red, white and blue dressed members floated around the crowd and encouraged participation.

Meet Guillermo Li.

Half Peruvian and half Chinese, Guillermo Li shares his polo inspiration and aspirations with the SD Polo Club.  Handicap 5.

Tell us about yourself.  How did you start playing polo?
I grew up in Peru and my dad played polo.  Initially, I didn’t like horses, but after being around them so much, I grew to love them.  I started playing at 13.  In 2002, I started traveling internationally.  Both of my brothers play polo, too.

Where have you played?
Everywhere.  Colombia, Equador, Chile, Brazil, Australia, North America, South America… do you want me to keep going?

Sounds like you’re well traveled.  When did you come to San Diego?
Two years ago.  A friend recommended me to Ramon Richard.

What or who inspired you to play polo?
At one point in my life, Aldolfo Cambiaso.  He’s the best player in the world, no?

Yes, he is.  And what is your favorite thing about polo?
Adrenaline and being on a team.

Have you ever had a bad injury?
Oh, yes, a couple.  I was playing in Colombia in 2004 and I was hit with a mallet in the eye.  I’m half blind in my right eye.

Wow!  That’s something that could change your career.  Have you ever thought of doing something else?  What’s in store for the future?
I hope to continue to develop as a player and continue teaching polo in Peru and Mexico.

Best Dressed Contest

Believe it or not, one of the most common questions we get asked at the San Diego Polo Club is – “What do I wear to the matches?!” For anyone new to Sunday Polo choosing an outfit can be quite a daunting task. No one wants to show up completely overdressed and by the same token you don’t want to come looking like a complete schlub!

However, at the San Diego Polo Club, anything goes! We want you to be comfortable, we want you to be yourself, we want you to select an outfit that reflects who you are, whether that be a dainty sundress, an over-sized hat, some strappy sandals, a searsucker suit, a casual polo shirt or linen pants. Really, anything goes! Consult our Fashion Section in the San Diego Polo Magazine to get more ideas on what to wear and to find local stores where you can purchase some great items for Sunday Polo!

And as an added incentive to dress to the nines this summer, we’ll be selecting a “Best Dressed Attendee” every Sunday who will receive 2 Free VIP passes for Sunday Polo and 2 tickets to the Del Mar Racetrack. Our staff is going to be on the look out for fashion trend setters, so dress to impress!

Our winner from Antique Cars and Cigars / Father’s Day Sunday was Dr. Steven Bernick. He definitely turned eyes with this hip summer suit and tan fedora.
So remember, anything goes for Sunday Polo but remember ladies – don’t wear heels!