Have a safe and joyous holiday season!
-The San Diego Polo Team
The The Fifth Annual Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships: Horses & Horsepower returns bigger, badder and better than ever, and is less than two weeks away! Last year the Scottsdale Polo Championships drew the biggest crowd in the country for a two-day polo event with over 12,000 fans, enjoying the four-match showdown at the annual Polo Party.
On Saturday, October 24th at the WestWorld of Scottsdale, our players from San Diego, including Tony Yahyai, Tracee Brunetti, Alvaro Tadeo and Kimo Huddleston will be playing in front of the thousands of specators. At 11:00am, catch Tony Yahyai and his team Club Cabo take on Polo Azteca.
Make sure to catch the San Diego Polo Club in action as Tracee Brunetti, Kimo Huddleston, and Alvaro Tadeo take on the Arizona Polo Club at 1:00pm. At 3:00pm, the reigning champions, the Clogau Wales Polo Team vs. Aspen Valley Polo Club, with SDPC friends Melissa Ganzi and Nic Roldan. A Polo Clinic by some of the Valley’s top professional players will follow.
This year, attendees are in for a treat with sneak previews of the 2016 Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show and Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction along with local car clubs lining the field, Larsen Gallery’s LIVE Fine & Contemporary Art Auction and the Phoenix Symphony!
Nearly 15,000 people are expected to attend this year’s event! For a full schedule of the day’s festivities, please click here.
Tickets for the matches and other festivities can be purchased here.
We look forward to seeing you in Scottsdale!
The tournament’s underdog, Team Adeptus/Sycamore won the 106th USPA Spreckels Cup at the San Diego Polo Club, which took place on Sunday, September 27. The charity polo match benefited World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s leading conservation organization that helps protect the future of nature. With the help of local Rancho Santa Fe residents, polo players, friends and WWF supporters, the charity raised over $11,000 at the San Diego Polo Club.
In partnership with the United States Polo Association, the San Diego Polo Club hosted the 106th Annual USPA Spreckels Cup, the oldest polo tournament on the west coast. The USPA Spreckels Cup is a historical tournament named after John D. Spreckels, an entrepreneur who founded a transportation and real estate empire, including the San Diego Railway, Hotel del Coronado and San Diego’s first polo club in Coronado.
Multiple teams played in the two-week Spreckels Cup tournament, bringing in international polo players for the duration of the tournament. Favored to win, Team San Judas had a strong team consisting of Mexican polo professional Alvaro Tadeo; American professional player, Joseph Stuart; 15 year old prodigy, Harrison Azzaro, son of one of the most talented American polo players; and team owner, Ramon Richard. In previous games, San Judas was victorious, even in their previous match up against Sunday’s opponent, Adeptus/Sycamore. However, with the help of Argentine polo professionals, Diego Cossio and Max “the machine gun” Menini, Team Adeptus/Sycamore came out on top and celebrated their victory in front of Sunday’s Closing Day crowd, alongside team owners Colleen Wilson and Bryon Ward.
Joseph Stuart kicked things off in the first chukker with a goal for San Judas, knocking it straight through the goal mouth from 90 yards back. Max Menini scored for Adeptus/Sycamore to tie it up, but Harrison Azzaro with San Judas scored, bringing the score 2 to 1 in the first chukker.
Adeptus/Sycamore had a strong defense and San Judas fell behind in the second chukker, while Bryon Ward and Diego Cossio scored for Adeptus/Sycamore. Joseph Stuart and Maz Menini both scored on penalty hits in the third chukker, bringing the score to 4 to 3, Adeptus/Sycamore on the lead. While Joseph Stuart and Harrison Azzaro take the credit for the goals for San Judas, Alvaro Tadeo was a workhorse on the field, making it hard for Adeptus/Sycamore to score.
Diego Cossio and Max Menini were a dynamic duo, always working together both defensively and offensively to help each other out. In the fourth chukker, Diego Cossio scored another for Adeptus/Sycamore and kept San Judas at bay until the 5th chukker.
Alvaro Tadeo passed the ball up to team owner, Ramon Richard, and Ramon took it away to the goal and scored an important point for San Judas. In the final chukker, Max Menini scored for Adeptus/Sycamore and Alvaro Tadeo scored for San Judas. It was a hard battle, but Adeptus/Sycamore stayed in control of the game steadily through with the final score 7 to 5.
Dr. Colleen Wilson has served on the Board of Directors for the San Diego Polo Club for many years, and has played polo in Rancho Santa Fe for 18 years. Over the course of this time, she has played with multiple teams and various professionals, but this winning combination has taken her to the top and led her team to victory for the first time, thus proving how difficult it is to enter the historical tournament. One of Dr. Wilson’s strengths is her string of eight beautiful polo ponies; she is well-known in the equestrian community for her healthy horses and horsemanship. There are two athletes on the field: the horse and the rider. A polo players mount is just as important as the talent riding the animal.
In partnership with the La Jolla Polo Team, the World Wildlife Fund hosted their first-ever fundraiser in San Diego to raise awareness about their global initiatives. For more than 50 years, WWF has been protecting the future of nature. The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.1 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. WWF’s unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature.
California State Assembly member, Martin Garrick and San Diego Council-hopeful Ray Ellis enjoyed the afternoon in the VIP tent with other guests, including Regional Director of WWF Britta Justesen, Director of Philanthropy of WWF Anne Trela, Vice-President of SDPC Nour-Dean Anakar, Zeeto Media’s CEO Stephan Goss, General Manager of BMW Encinitas Darrin Fetterolf, Reuben and Natasha Katz of La Jolla Polo Team, and local philanthropic supporters Naomi Gallego and Berenice Blake.
The San Diego Polo Club invited guests to the Woodford Reserve’s VIP Lounge with polo players, local celebrities and philanthropists alike. VIP guests enjoyed the Distiller’s Select Kentucky Bourbon and Doubled Oaked Bourbon pairing with sweet caramel and fresh pear slices. Woodford Reserve offered specialty cocktails that benefited WWF, including “Panda Punch” and the “Jaguar Julep”.
Korbel California Champagne offered tastes of champagne to all guests during the half-time divot stomp and BMW of Encinitas refilled glasses from the back of their luxury automobiles parked center field. Woodford Reserve presented bourbon barrel heads and bottles of bourbon as gifts to both teams.
BMW of Encinitas led the ceremonial Parade of Teams with a fleet of luxury cars, including the new hybrid BMW I-8. Steve Lewandowski, the voice of the San Diego Polo Club for the last 25 years, emceed the event.
The national anthem was sung by Jazmin Feteke, and Billy Ray, National Brand Ambassador for Woodford Reserve with Suzanne Brown of Brown-Forman provided the ceremonial first ball throw in to start the game.
United States Polo Association Governor, Scott Walker, presented trophies to the winners alongside three generations from the Spreckels family, Molly Spreckels-Agee, Jessica Spreckels-Burch, and Torry Spreckels-Metrovich.
Son of San Diego Polo Club’s founder, Willis Allen, displayed over a dozen antique Steerman biplanes on the grass, which took off over the large crowd after the matches.
The San Diego Polo Club (SDPC) celebrated the end of their 28th season in Rancho Santa Fe with the United States Polo Association (USPA) Spreckels Cup & Closing Day presented by Woodford Reserve. Heels2Heal was the exclusive charity partner with specific ticket and auction proceeds benefiting San Diego Youth Services.
Gates opened at 12:30pm and guests were lined up as early as 9:30am itching to get a good spot to watch the final match at 2pm. Players and VIPs mingled in the Woodford Reserve Lounge and sipped on bourbon infused specialty cocktails as they took awe of the 105 year old Spreckels trophy that was on display with hundreds of beautiful garden and piano roses overflowing the cup.
The VIP tent was filled with 500 guests, including players, family, friends, sponsors, and of course, the Heels2Heal guests right in the front row. Over 1,300 guests piled into the venue, dressed to the nines in red accents, hats and chic polo outfits.
The day started out with a classic demonstration of rider and foxhounds, presented by the Santa Fe Hunt. Established in 1969, the Santa Fe Hunt/West Hills Hounds is a Masters of Fox Hounds Association recognized Hunt located in Temecula, California. They are a diverse group of riders brought together by love of horses, open spaces, country values and riding with a fine pack of foxhounds as they work a scent. The San Diego Polo Club is honored to welcome back Terry Paine and the Santa Fe Hunt every year.
Sonya is a TV Personality, Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger, Fashion Show Designer & Producer, and philanthropist. Her “Sexy Socialite News Girls Pre-Fall Fashion Show” featured the San Diego News Girls, including Brandi Williams, Kimi Evans, Natasha Sweattle, Sabrina Fein, Tabitha Lipkin, and Staci Ortiz-Davis. Over 20 female models and 10 male models featured fall fashions from Matti D, Nicole Miller, Mister B’s, Jill Courtemanche Millinery, TRE, and Van de Vort.
After the fashion show, guests were encouraged to grab a drink at the bar or get a bite to eat and settle in for the final match of the season, the USPA Spreckels Cup Finals.
Five teams had been competing for the chance to play in the 105 year old tournament, The USPA sanctioned Spreckels Cup. On September 28th, 2014 the top two teams fought it out for the title of Spreckels Champions. After weeks of
competing for a spot in the final game, Starmeadow/Roseville Motor Car and Twin Palms took the field for the final tournament of 2014.
Anthony Ballard did the honors of singing the national anthem during our Opening Ceremonies. With over 25 years’ experience, Anthony’s diverse background spans opera, musical theatre, non-musicals, tap, jazz and ballet. Anthony is an active member of the San Diego Opera’s Core Chorus and has appeared in over 50 San Diego arts productions since moving to the area in 1993.
After the anthem, Suzanne Brown from Woodford Reserve did the honors of throwing in the ceremonial first ball and starting off the first chukker!
The first goal of chukker one was scored by Graham “the big guns” Bray for Starmeadow. Twin Palms’ Gaston Von Wernich was right behind him, scoring for his team. Playing for the trophy, Von Wernich scored the next three goals in chukker two.
Ashton Wolf made a comeback, scoring two goals for Starmeadow. Chukker three started with a goal from Twin Palms’ Ryan Robertson. Colton Bancroft fired back, scoring one for Starmeadow. Not one to back down easily, Robertson scored the remaining goal of chukker three, lengthening his team’s lead. At halftime, the scores were Starmeadow 4 / Twin Palms 6.
During the traditional “Pretty Woman Divot Stomp,” guests enjoyed a sample of Korbel California Champagne as they mingled with friends and replaced the divots that were kicked up by the horses during the first half of the game.
Plowing ahead in chukker four, Robertson again scored. Passing the reins to teammate Von Wernich, Twin Palms scored their 8th goal of the game; Von Wernich’s 5th.
Like chukker four, chukker five belonged to Twin Palms. Alvaro Tadeo scored first for his team. Robertson picked up the second goal. Going into the last chukker, the score was Starmeadow 4 / Twin Palms 10.
The final goal was scored by Tadeo of Twin Palms. Adding in team handicaps, Starmeadow ended with nine goals. Though Starmeadow fought hard, Twin Palms was on fire. They came to win and with eleven goals, they did just that.
Both teams joined together on the trophy deck for the Trophy & Awards Presentation. First off was the most improved player award, which was awared to Virgil Kyle by previous president and founding member, Ron Bonaguidi. Kyle has excelled in his skill level in 2014.
Second was the sportsmanship award, which went to one of our newest members, who has displayed courtesy and sportsmanship to his fellow players. Eric Hammon was the recipient of this great award.
Our founding father, Willis Allen was very instrumental in encouraging young players to get involved in the sport of polo. The San Diego Polo Club created his namesake award to honor Willis and congratulate the best all-around young player under 30 based on horsemanship, sportsmanship and playing ability. Judy Collins, daughter of Willis Allen, presented this award to 17-year old Colton Bancroft.
Out of the 48+ horses played in Sunday’s polo match, the best playing pony is just that– the best pony out there. Gail Greggson of the California Thoroughbred Breeder’s Foundation presented the trophy to Graham Bray for his horse P1. This horse has won 4 best playing pony awards in the last two years!
Torry Spreckels is the great granddaughter of John D. Spreckels. She and her daughter Jessica and granddaughter Molly presented the second place team with the Spreckels trophies. Both Molly and Jessica play polo today, carrying on the Spreckels family tradition. Christine Wuthrich, the great great grand daughter of John D. Spreckels also helped present the trophies.
All of the players were then welcomed onto the stage and everyone was gifted with a nice bottle of Woodford Reserve, a small-batch straight bourbon distilled in central Kentucky. The distillery itself is a national historical monument!
Jose Luis & Lovie Rocha, owners of JL Rocha, have been designing and manufacturing handmade leather shoes & jackets for over 3 generations in Mexico and now they are in the United States. Lovie & Jose Luis presented each of the winning players with a fine lambskin jacket from their collection completely made by hand.
Scott Walker, USPA Lieutenant Governor for Southern California, presented the winning teams with their trophies as well as awarded Most Valuable Player of the game to Gaston von Wernich!
Guests stayed until dark, dancing and partying with polo players and members. DJ Beatnick kept the energy up and rocked the beats for one of the best after parties in history!
Photos by Jim Bremner & Topher Riley. To see more, visit us on Facebook.com
We are playing with a fantastic group of people in September. If you’ve never followed the season of polo in San Diego, September is the best month to see action-packed games. We welcome new players and new competition.
The first match on Sunday brought Hanalei Bay versus Southwind Adeptus. Ron Bonaguidi, our President and Patron of Hanalei Bay played well, scoring 1 for the team in the first chukker. Mariano Fassetta, now called the “Argentine Assasin” by our announcer Steve Lewandowski, scored 3, and Alvaro Tadeo scored 2 for Hanalei Bay.
Southwind/Adeptus played beautifully on Sunday afternoon. Pedro Orellano scored 5 for Southwind/Adeptus, Colleen Wilson scored 2, Chris Collins scored 2, and even Mike Kerley got one. Needless to say, Southwind Adeptus came out on top. They are looking good this week, defeating Hanalei Bay 10 to 6.
During intermission, the San Diego Polo Club observed 9/11 by presenting the Rainbow Riders Drill Team of Poway. The 8 women mounted horses decorated in sparkling red, white and blue colors and paraded the field with gorgeous American flags. In addition to their performance, we asked all current armed forces, veterans, and emergency responders to join us on the field.
Congressman Martin Garrick gave a wonderful speech in remembrance of those effected by the tragedy of 9/11. Our announcer, Steve Lewandowski brought the audience to tears as he congratulated each one of our heroes for dedicating their lives to helping others. It was a very special day to remember the tragedy of 10 years ago and to count our blessings.
On Friday, Trinity met in our Clubhouse to watch a previous practice game against Starmeadow in order to prep for their Sunday match. They talked strategy and how to handle one of our best and most aggressive players on the field, Graham Bray.
The feature match started out slow, with Jesse Bray, Colton Bancroft (subbing for his mom, Joy Bancroft), and Graham Bray each scoring 1 for Starmeadow. Trinity scored 2 (Jared Sheldon and Mariano Gutierrez). Jared Sheldon spiced things up in the second chukker by getting bumped off his horse. He got right back on and continued playing.
Fans celebrated the half time Divot Stomp with tastes of Rose Champagne sponsored by Korbel California Champagne. Every Sunday we hide a decorated champagne cork on the field and the person who finds the cork gets a bottle of Champagne!
Starmeadow and Trinity took the half time to form a game plan, and both teams came back stronger than the first half. Jesse Bray scored 3 for Starmeadow and Colton Bancroft (only 14 years old!) scored one. Meanwhile, Rick Paicius, Jared Sheldon and Mariano Gutierrez each scored one for Trinity, bringing the game up to 7 to 6, Starmeadow in the lead.
In the 5th chukker, things heated up again and Sheldon had another fall. Again, a little bruised, but not seriously hurt, Sheldon continued playing. Jesse Bray scored a few more, totaling 7 goals that afternoon. Mariano Gutierrez put 2 through in the 6th chukker, but it wasn’t enough for the win. Graham Bray did the honor of scoring 2 more in the 6th chukker, just to be sure Starmeadow walked away victoriously.
What a day! We knew the finals of the USPA Rossmore Cup was going to be a nail-biter, but we had no idea we’d have two crashes, two red flags, over time, and a run-away horse.
Alisha Wray -1 (SUB: Colton Bancroft in 6-7 Chukkers)
Ashton Wolf 3
Gaston VonWernich 5
Chris Maloney 1
Krista Bonaguidi -1
Alvaro Tadeo 3
Mariano Fassetta 6
Ron Bonaguidi 0
The teams were practically snarling at each other after the national anthem was sung and before the first ball throw in. Things started off hot in the first chukker. Mariano scored one for Hanalei Bay and Gaston scored two penalty hits for Tritech/Princeps. In the chukkers to follow, more fouls resulted in more penalty shots. By half time, the score was close, 6 to 5 Tritech/Princeps in the lead.
By the 6th chukker, the score was 10 to 9, Hanalei Bay slowly taking the lead. With 3 minutes remaining, Alvaro Tadeo checked once, checked twice and couldn’t stop his horse. His horse ran into and knocked patrona, Alisha Wray off her horse. Alisha fell, got the wind knocked out of her and hit her head. She was out for a couple of minutes and was attended to by the onsite EMTs. She was then transported to Scripps Hospital for observation. She is home now, resting with her family and is in good spirits.
After Alisha was taken out of the game, 14 year old Colton Bancroft ran back to his barn to grab his whites and a horse and entered the game in Alisha’s place. With a minute and 30 seconds left in the chukker, Colton had a break away and scored a goal to tie up the match. The crowd went absolutely wild.
The match went into over time and both teams were fighting hard for that first goal to win the USPA Rossmore Cup Finals. Mariano Fassetta was bumped by Ashton Wolf, hit the horse’s head with his diaphragm, it knocked the wind out of him and he and his horse went down. The horse took off running to the barns, Diego Cossio picked up his friend on his motorcycle and took him back to the tie rails. The horse passed the barns and looped back to the tie rails.
Raita, owned by Chris Maloney and played by Gaston Von Wernich in the 3rd chukker, won Best Playing Pony of the USPA Rossmore Cup.