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Grand Champions Headed To World Polo League Founders Cup Final; Doubleheader On Tap For Wednesday

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Grand Champions Headed To World Polo League Founders Cup Final; Doubleheader On Tap For Wednesday 
WELLINGTON, Fla., February 27, 2019---The first finalist for Sunday's World Polo League Founders Cup championship was determined on a rain-soaked Tuesday afternoon at Grand Champions Polo Club.


Playing its best game of the tournament, Grand Champions (Grant Ganzi, 3, Juancito Bollini, 4, Rodrigo Andrade, 9, Juan Martin Nero, 10) rallied in the second half for a 12-9 victory over Scone (David Paradise/Santino Zedda, 0, Guillermo Terrera, 8, Alejandro Taranco, 8, Pelon Stirling, 10).

Grand Champions teammates Grant Ganzi and Juancito Bollini work together to defend as Pelon Stirling of Scone is about to hit.

The victory advances Grand Champions into Sunday's final at 4 p.m. at Grand Champions Polo Club Field 2 against the winner of Wednesday's Valiente-Colorado game.

It will be the first 26-goal final for Ganzi, 20, and Bollini, 22. Last season Ganzi, Bollini and Nero were U.S. Open semifinalist for U.S. Polo Assn.

Juancito Bollini of Grand Champions defends Guillermo Terrera of Scone.

"We just kept saying, let's go, let's go," Ganzi said. "This game is not going to end in the fourth or the fifth. It's going to end in the last few minutes and that's what happened. We just needed to keep pushing at the end." 

In a battle of unbeatens, Grand Champions fell behind early in the first half and trailed 5-3 after three chukkers. Paradise was forced to leave the game with 4:21 left in the second chukker with a mild concussion after his horse lost its footing. He was replaced by Santino Zedda.

Adolfo Cambiaso of Valiente and Scone teammates Alejandro Taranco and Pelon Stirling walking back to the players tent after checking on the condition of Scone team sponsor David Paradise.

Grand Champions turned it around in the second half playing tight on defense and not allowing Scone's three offensive threats, Stirling, Taranco and Terrera to strike at will from any where on the field and outscoring Scone 9-4 in the second half.

After the fourth chukker ended at 7-7 with Bollini scoring with 30 seconds left, Grand Champions kicked it into another gear in the final two chukkers. 

Alejandro Taranco of Scone works the ball out of the air with Rodrigo Andrade of Grand Champions defending.

Bollini continued his scoring spree with back-to-back goals with assists from Andrade for a 9-7 lead. Stirling converted a 60-yard penalty to cut the lead to one, but Bollini connected with Andrade for a goal and 10-8 lead at the end of five chukkers.

"We really wanted it," Bollini said. "We came out and refocused ourselves after our last game. We played it chukker by chukker. This is huge for us, it's amazing, this is what we all wanted. This is definitely the best game our team has played. We reached a new peak. Today we really showed what we can do as a team. If we play like we did today, I think we have a pretty good chance in the final."

Guillermo Terrera of Scone reaches for a shot in front of Juan Martin Nero of Grand Champions.

Stirling scored his fifth goal of the game on a angled 75-yarder with 2:03 left to cut the lead to one. Andrade came right back to score for an 11-9 lead. Ganzi scored with 59 seconds off the throw-in with a big neck shot to put the game away.

"We played so much better in the last three chukkers than the first three," Nero said. "I think the key was Granti and Juancito played amazing. They scored some beautiful goals and we played an open game and that's why we won. We started hitting the ball and that made a difference.

Grant Ganzi of Grand Champions works the ball downfield.

"We all deserve to be in the final," Nero said. "We are all working to get there. We want to try to win. It doesn't matter who we play."

Grand Champions, now 3-0, got balanced scoring. Andrade led with four goals, Bollini and Nero each had three goals and Ganzi added one.

"This is huge to be in the final," Ganzi said. "This is my first 26-goal final. I was a little nervous before the game today. I don't know why, the nerves really set in. I think it hit me, this is the semifinal game, I got to come play, this is a whole different level than the 20-goal. I was happy to close out strong and was really happy how the horses went."

Juancito Bollini of Grand Champions leans into blocking the shot of Guillermo Terrera of Scone defending.

Ganzi and his teammates will be in attendance to scout the Valiente-Colorado game on Wednesday.

"They are both really tough teams," Ganzi said. "Whichever one we get we will have to play accordingly."

In addition to Stirling's five goals, Taranco had three goals and Paradise added one for Scone (2-1).

Grant Ganzi of Grand Champions defends as Alejandro Taranco of Scone hits a neck shot.

In the other semifinal, Colorado will play Valiente in a showdown of J5 Equestrian teams on Wednesday at Valiente Polo Farm at 4 p.m., part of a doubleheader that also features Black Watch (0-2) against Alegria (0-2) at 11 a.m. The Colorado-Valiente game will pit father against son with Bob and Rob Jornayvaz.

The WPL is being live streamed on ESPN Deportes and ChukkerTV/Horseplay with Gus Whitelaw calling the action. For more information go to www.worldpolo.org.

Santino Zedda of Scone defends Rodrigo Andrade of Grand Champions.

Co-founded by Grand Champions owners Melissa and Marc Ganzi and Valiente Polo Farm owner Bob Jornayvaz, the World Polo League is the only 26-goal polo in the world outside of Argentina. The WPL is preserving the highest level of polo and its rich, hallowed tradition in the U.S. 

The WPL has its own set of simpler fan-friendly rules to improve the flow and action of the game.

The WPL, with 14 tournament-quality fields to play on, includes the Feb. 19-March 3 Founders Cup, March 6-24 Palm Beach Open and March 27-April 14 Triple Crown of Polo.

Juancito Bollini of Grand Champions goes for the big hit to goal for one of his three goals.

The WPL game finals will be held Sundays on Field Two at Grand Champions at 4 p.m. and semifinal games at Valiente Polo Farm, Fields One and Two. Several games will also be held throughout the week at various times. Admission is free along with food and refreshments at the featured games. 

The World Polo League is open to other teams that wish to compete in one or more of the tournaments. Entries are still open and everyone is welcome to play. Games are offered on the flat (Open) and on Handicap.

The World Polo League has attracted a large international field of players from all corners of the world  including Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Uruguay and U.S.

Rodrigo Andrade of Grand Champions closely defends Pelon Stirling of Scone.

Grand Champions and Valiente are also launching the U.S. National Mixed Doubles Championship, featuring two men and two women with combined handicaps, in March.

In addition to the World Polo League, season highlights for 2019 at Grand Champions are the Sterling Cup, March 1-31 $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament, March 1-16 John T. Oxley Memorial and March 3-24 $100,000 World Cup Tournament, a unique 0-40-goal, winner-take-all single-elimination tournament.

Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and three polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball with plans to build more polo fields in the future.

 
2019 WORLD POLO LEAGUE SCHEDULE

FEBRUARY
Feb. 20-March 3, Founders Cup

Wednesday,  2/27:
11 a.m Black Watch vs Alegria at  Valiente Field 2
4 p.m. Colorado vs. Valiente at Valiente Field 1

Thursday, 2/28:
11 a.m. Flexjet vs Audi at Jan Pamela Field 3

Sunday, March 3:
11 a.m. The Founders Cup Subsidiary Final at Valiente Field 1
4 p.m. The Founders Cup Final at Grand Champions Polo Club Field 2


MARCH
March 6-24, Palm Beach Open
March 27-April 14, Triple Crown of Polo

Games at Grand Champions Polo Club, Valiente Polo Farm and other local fields.






Chukker TV is live streaming the entire World Polo League season with film material content provided by Polo Channel. ChukkerTV, featuring cutting-edge technology, was the first to introduce state-of-the-art live streaming technology and instant replay in January, 2014 at Grand Champions Polo Club. For advertising opportunities please contact Mike Ferreira at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Rob Jornayvaz at Polo Channel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Jan-Eric Franck
"The Voice of Polo"
ESPN West Palm (106.3FM) and ESPN Deportes (760AM) signed an exclusive contract with the World Polo League and will target the West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami markets with various broadcasts, commercials and exposure on radio, ESPN.com, ESPN app and social media platforms to promote the exciting new 26-goal league. With nearly two decades of sustained success in sports and entertainment broadcasting, Josh Cohen is among the most influential, respected and popular on-air personalities and live event hosts in South Florida. Julian Zaldivar has been a part of ESPN West Palm team and ESPN Deportes760AM manager since its inception. He is the host of Comunidad ESPN Monday through Friday that features all-sports talk and interviews with the Latino community leaders from the local Hispanic market.



Josh Cohen
Julian Zaldivar

GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB

WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.

DIRECTOR OF POLO: Juan Olivera, 561-644-5050, juan.olivera @gcpolo.com; hotline  561-644-5050.

INFORMATION: For spectators, there are great field side views for tournament action and also the Grand Champions Polo Club Boutique. The club is home base for pro teams Audi and Flexjet. Everyone is welcome to watch every level of polo in a relaxed atmosphere with food and refreshments during the featured games of the winter, spring and fall tournament seasons and other special events. Admission is free except for some special events.




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Grand Champions Polo Club, 13444 Southfields Road, Wellington, FL 33414
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