Southwest High School Comes to SD Polo!

Last Friday, we entertained about 20 ASB students from Southwest High School.  We took a tour of the polo property, learned how to care for a horse, explained the rules and the history of polo, and then let the kids try it out for themselves!

Each student sat on Cilantro, one of our sweet school horses.  Being so close to a horse and sitting on one was a first for many!

Next, we played with some foot mallets and Kimo, one of our Polo School instructors, helped the kids learn to hit the ball.

We finished up their visit with the Spreckels Cup semi-finals, autographs from the players and lunch!  We had such a fun time with the ASB students!  Thanks to councilmember David Alvarez for helping us coordinate this fantastic event.

USPA Spreckels Cup FINALS

Here’s the real story.

The semi-finals were heated.  Team Hanelei Bay, previous winner of the 2010 Spreckels Cup, had a record of 3 tourament wins in the 2011 season, making them the competition to beat.  Tritech/San Judas is traditionally one of the hardest teams to beat.  Chis Maloney and Gaston VonWernich make a mean duo, unstopable to most.  Friday’s semi-finals were highly attended.  Both teams put up a fight, but Hanalei Bay made it to the finals of the Spreckels Cup.

On the other hand, Starmeadow was equipt with the best polo player from New Zealand, Mr. Graham Bray and his 18-year old son, Jesse Bray, and two couragous females, Jessica Bailey and  Joy Bancroft.  Friday’s match, they fought against Adeptus/Southwind and came out victorious.

On Sunday, you could feel the anticipation in the air.  At 2:00pm, the national anthem was sung and the first ball was rolled in.  Within seconds, Hanalei Bay’s Mariano Fassetta made a break away for the goal and shot one through the posts.   In the first chukker alone, Mariano had 2 and Alvaro Tadeo had 1, giving Hanalei Bay a good lead over Starmeadow, who had yet to score one.

Apparently this did not sit well with the young Jesse Bray.  In the second chukker, he ruled the field, scoring 3 points to match his opponent.  Fassetta had two in the second chukker.

In the third chukker, Jessica Bailey was on fire and wanted a piece of the action.  Bailey scored one for Starmeadow, followed by another one score by Jesse Bray.  They don’t call him the “Argentine Assassin” for nothing; Mariano Fassetta scored one for Hanalei Bay just before the end of the chukker.  By half time, the score was 5 to 6, Hanalei Bay.

While the crowd enjoyed sipping bubbles during the divot stomp, the players strategized for the second half.

In the 4th chukker, the score climbed up and up.  Jesse Bray scored one for Starmeadow, Alvaro Tadeo scored one for Hanalei Bay, Jesse had another for Starmeadow and Mariano Fassetta one up-ed him again, keeping Hanalei Bay in the lead.  When Jesse Bray is hot, he is on FIRE.  This kid performs wonderfully in front of a crowd and the adrenaline pumps through his blood like gasoline to a fire.

The 5th chukker was phenomenal.  Jesse Bray scored 2 more for Starmeadow and his father, Graham Bray put another two on the board for Starmeadow, while Hanalei Bay was running out of gas.  Alvaro Tadeo scored one.  At the end of the 5th chukker, Starmeadow had the lead, 11 to 9.  And the crowd was ROARING.

The final chukker was icing on the cake.  Jesse Bray scored another, totaling 9 goals in the game.  After being hit in the chin by his opponent’s mallet, Graham Bray was still able to show off his talent and score an additional 1 point for  Starmeadow.  Hanalei Bay could not keep up, although Fassetta was able to get one before the buzzer.  Final score was 13 to 10, Starmeadow.

MVP went to Jesse Bray and the Willis Allen Award went to Colton Bancroft.  The Willis Allen Award is given to a young player every year who shows sportsmanship, skill, horsemanship and all around attitude.  Graham Bray’s horse won Best Playing Pony.

History of the Spreckels Cup

 The Spreckels Cup

John D. Spreckels, San Francisco financier, shipping magnate, and scion of the fabled Spreckels family, first discovered polo in the late 1800’s.  Shortly thereafter, he visited Coronado Island and was so completely captivated by the area, known at the time as the playground for the wealthy, that he immediately made plans to play polo on the island’s beautiful green lawns.  Spreckels built a polo facility on the island that quickly became known throughout the United States for the quality of its fields and climate, as well as the number and proficiency of its players and horses.

In the ensuing years, the Coronado Polo Club became known as the “Meadowbrook of the West”, after the famous club on Long Island New York.  Coronado was the site of many early prestigious polo tournaments, and its fields saw the first playing of the Pacific Coast Open, still considered one of California’s premier polo events.   Among those tournaments was the match that Spreckels inaugurated in 1909.  Calling it the Polo Challenge, he enlisted the aid of designers Brock and Feagus of Los Angeles, and commissioned a dramatic silver trophy almost two feet high.  Engraved on the trophy was the inscription, “Polo Challenge Trophy, presented by John D. Spreckels.”  The trophy was designed to be engraved with the names of the winners each year and was intended to be held by the winning team for one year.

The trophy was played for each year, with the exception of the years of World War I, and its engraved names read like a “Who’s Who” of California polo.  The last team to win the trophy before it was retired in 1921, was captained by Carleton F. Burke.  Burke, a dedicated horseman, was responsible for reintroducing thoroughbred racing in California in 1932, after a 23-year blackout.  He later became one of the founders of the California Horse Racing Board.  The Spreckels Cup remained among his most prized treasures.

 In an effort to document the history of polo in San Diego and in Southern California, Julie Mulvihill-Mayer launched a search for polo memorabilia in the archives of the Coronado Library.  Joseph E. Jessop, longtime San Diego resident and founder of Jessop’s Jewelers, had been employed at the Coronado Polo Club as a young boy and became a lifelong polo fan.  He recommended that the search continue at the Coronado Historical Society.   Following that lead brought Mulvihill-Mayer upon a veritable treasure trove of old polo trophies including the Spreckels Cup.  The trophies were brought back to San Diego, and Joseph E. Jessop and Jessops Jewelers President, Ken Laughlin, cooperated in masterminding their restoration.

When the season officially opened on June 10, 1988, the newly refurbished Spreckels Cup occupied a place of honor in the club’s trophy case.  Restored to its original appearance, and flanked by its companion pieces, the impressive silver cup cast an undeniable glow upon the matches and players.  The trophy’s presence provided a tangible link across the years and forged a bond between the players of today, John D. Spreckels, and the band of polo players that had such an influence on our sport and upon the San Diego Polo Club.

The California Thoroughbred Breeders Association generously loans the trophy to us annually.  We’d like to thank the CTBA’s Board for their role in securing this prestigious trophy for the continued use in this historical event.

Winners from 2010.  Chris Collins, Mariano Fassetta, Christopher Collins, Krista Bonaguidi

All Bets on Burlap

On July 19th the San Diego Polo Club hit the town again, and this time to attend All Bets on Burlap, a charity event supporting The Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses (CANTER). CANTER is a national charity, with their California chapter opening in 2008. They provide retiring thoroughbred racehorses with opportunities for new careers through rehab, retraining and rehoming. They offer free web listings for thoroughbred horses who are retiring from racing and they also take donated horses into their adoption program, where they are given rehabilitation (if needed) and training before being adopted out to approved homes. 

Crowds gathered around the Koi Pond to hear the winners of the silent auction. 
Silent Auction Tables. One of the featured items was a table in our VIP tent. 
The event was hosted at Chef Brian Malarkey’s latest experiment in social dining, Burlap, a hip new 8,000 square foot restaurant and lounge in Del Mar serving “Asian Cowboy” cuisine. 
Turkish Lamps adorn the outside bar. 

The event was a huge success and attendees had the opportunity to socialize with top jockeys and trainers  like Mike Smith, Aaron Gryder, Chantel Sutherland, Joe Talamo, and Tyler Baze, while they had a first tasting of Burlap’s exotic menu which included: squid, chicken satay, Korean Kowboy style ribs, shrimp & grits, sweet potato fries, red chili rock shrimp and many other mouth watering dishes!

Sarah Sargant of CANTER and A Day of Elegance, Jockey Mike Smith and Chef Brian Malarkey 
Asian Cowboy themed Squid! One of the many delicious plates of food party goers snacked on.
Between tickets sales and silent auction raffle items, CANTER was able to raise $8,000 to support thoroughbred retirement and retraining. The San Diego Polo Club was proud to sponsor and attend this worthwhile charity event!

Our intern, Julia McCann, Marketing Manager, Vanessa Shapiro and Creative Director Lindsey Chronert came out to support CANTER. 

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.

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.

Lincoln / Father’s Day Recap

Father’s Day saw beautiful weather and an exciting feature match to wrap up the Rancho Santa Fe Cup Finals presented by Lincoln.  Tritech/Princeps in the blue jerseys held onto their 1-point lead over Hanalei Bay/San Fernando in the white jerseys to eek out a 10-to-9 win.  The intense back and forth match saw highlights as Roberto Estudillo barely missed a goal in the 6th chukker, giving up the opportunity to tie up the score and take the game into overtime.

Chris Maloney (blue) and Roberto Estudillo powered down the field.

Dirk Wray, Ashton Wolf, Gaston VonWernich, Chris Maloney

Spectators and social members enjoyed ahi tacos and other treats from ChiliCo Catering and ambled across the field for the Korbel Champagne Divot Stomp.

Fans also visited the Lincoln technology display and took a chance to test drive the technologically advanced line of Lincoln vehicles including the MKX, MKZ Hybrid, MKT, and Navigator.

For more info, visit Witt Lincoln in San Diego.

The “Cigars & Cars” event of course included the Liberty Tobacco cigar lounge. For more photos of the event, visit our Facebook page.

We’ve Died and Gone to…. Eden.

Instead of Eden coming to the Polo Club as they do every Sunday, we popped down to Hillcrest to check out what’s in store for the redeveloped restaurant.

“The revamped menu whole heartedly embraces our desire to provide a dining experience that is reflective of the surrounding community,” says EDEN’s new Executive Chef Ron Prestage, “I have no doubt that our guests will go ‘GaGa’ over the new menu and will appreciate our commitment to staying colorful, casual and contemporary.”

Lindsey Chronert, Chef Ron Prestage, Vanessa Shapiro

The culinary new kid on the block and lead man to former Eden and ChileCo Chef is keeping true to EDEN’s no-holds-barred approach to nightlife and dining. The new menu is throwing caution to the wind and rejecting the notion that a restaurant should limit itself to one type of cuisine. EDEN’s new restaurant will offer a contemporary take on classic dishes and fresh summer selections.

Check out some of our favorites below.  Best thing about apps, soups and salads are the portions and prices!  Small $5-6, large items to share $7-10.

Sweet P’s: Golden empanadas stuffed with curried sweet potatoes and english peas served with maple dijon dipper.

Mac Daddy: Capavatti Pasta (super curly, fun pasta) smothered in a 5 cheese sauce, dressed with crispy bacon, house dried tomatoes and garlic, then topped with golden panko crust.

Wonton Ruby Tacos: You’ve seen them at Sunday Polo! Golden wonton shells are stuffed with ahi-avo tartare and finished with a drizzle of jalapeno cream and black sesame.

Pork It: Slow braised pork shoulder with Eden’s house spicy BBQ sauce and a side of bleu cheese cole slaw.

Plus, enjoy Eden’s delicious summer drinks, all under 150 calories.  You’ll be sucking these down like you just ran a marathon.  Simply delicious!

Stay tuned for our Eden pre-party in mid-August.

What to Wear to Polo

As the creator of fashion blog, Nacole Gray shares which major runway trends to incorporate into your polo seasonal best.San Diego Polomatch-goers are a veritable who’s who of the San Diego elite, exuding an effortlessly chic and sophisticated style. Not sure what to wear Opening Day? Don’t fret, Gray will have you putting your best foot forward for the fashion-studded fete, preferably head to toe in designer duds.

Lovely in Lace

Make a romantic statement with lace. With an effortless mix of feminine and allure you will look both charming and idyllic. Compliment the innocent yet sensual look with a long strand of pearls and voilà.

Alberta Ferretti Spring RTW 2011

Bright n’ Bold

Bubble-gum brights and jewel tones were all over the runways this season. Aren’t afraid of color? Turn heads with a vibrant tunic and pair with neutral wedges to show off those gams. 

Gucci Spring RTW 2011

Flirty in Prints

If you desire to be the center of attention then have fun with a little pattern play. This flirty little number by Diane von Furstenberg is for those of you eager to draw eyes. Just think fresh, sophisticated and soft silhouettes to create a light and airy look for summer.

Diane von Furstenberg Spring RTW 2011 

Classic Sophistication

The familiar A-line is a timeless silhouette which remains relevant season after season. Reminiscent of 1960’s glamour, the conservative yet delicate style continues to be a polo wear staple.
Chloe Spring RTW 2011

The sartorial set can’t go wrong with tailored, classic style. Masculine detail done right can be surprisingly seductive. Make a powerhouse statement with an androgynous take on polo wear and go for an inspired ‘70s sophisticated yet understated romper. Deliver a dramatic finish with a red sultry pout.

Alberta Ferretti Spring RTW 2011

Sheer Bliss
The ever popular sheer trend takes a refined, clean and minimalist approach yet with an ultra femme detail. Layer transparent separates to keep your look interesting. Even add an androgynous twist and tuck a sheer tank or blouse into a pair of wide leg trousers. Or try pairing with a pencil skirt in an unpredictable color for a powerhouse statement. Complete the look with oversized shades to add a hint of glamour.

Vera Wang RTW Spring 2011 

Thakoon RTW Spring 2011 

Preppy Charm
Don’t worry gentlemen, we haven’t forgotten about you. The sartorial set can’t go wrong with a tailored, fresh and classic style. Keep your palette light or neutral and opt for a streamlined pair of slacks, polo and a crisp summer blazer. Take a cue from Lacoste RTW Spring 2011 and keep your overall look polished yet casual.

Lacoste RTW Spring 2011 

See you at the Polo Fields wearing the must-haves of the season.

For more about Nacole and the season’s best fashion, visit her blog at