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Equuleus Three-peats Great Futures Celebrity Polo Match At Grand Champions Polo Club; Joe DiMenna Named MVP

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Equuleus Three-peats Great Futures Celebrity Polo Match At Grand Champions Polo Club; Joe DiMenna Named MVP
WELLINGTON, Fl., March 12, 2019---For the sixth consecutive year, the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club of Wellington was the biggest winner Sunday at the Great Futures Celebrity Polo Match at Grand Champions Polo Club.

By Sharon Robb

Great Futures champion Equuleus Polo Team with Tom Coid, Magoo Laprida, Inaki Laprida and Joe DiMenna with Neil Hirsch. Photo by Ramon Casares

The star power of some of the world's top polo players Nacho Figueras, Pablo MacDonough, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Inaki Laprida and Magoo Laprida helped to raise funds for the facility that serves hundreds of children.

Dawn Jones of Sebilion and Santos Bollini of Grand Champions follow the play.
Photo by Ramon Casares

Equuleus (Tom Coid, Inaki Laprida, Magoo Laprida, Joe DiMenna) won the six-chukker round robin tournament for the third time in four years. Runners-up in 2015, Equuleus won in 2016 and 2017.

Defending champion Grand Champions (Riley Ganzi, Santos Bollini, Nacho Figueras, Pablo MacDonough) were runner-up and Sebilion (Sarah Magness, Dawn Jones, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Juan Bollini) were third.

MVP Joe DiMenna of Equuleus in fine form with his downfield hit.
Photo by Ramon Casares

Equuleus team sponsor Joe DiMenna, who scored back-to-back goals to tie and win the final game, 4-3, against Sebilion, was named Most Valuable Player.

Tom Coid of Equuleus works the ball out of the air while being double teamed by Grand Champions teammates Riley Ganzi and Pablo MacDonough. Photo by Ramon Casares

"I'm very happy, I love being here for this event," DiMenna said. "It's one of my favorite events of the year. Winning it is a bonus. Playing with good friends on my team and against me, it's great getting together with a bunch of people I always don't get to play with. It's a lot of fun and for a great cause.

"The high goal players are always generous with their time and always there to help with great causes," DiMenna said. "It's great fun to be out there and have the camaraderie with them and everybody else."

Dawn Jones of Sebilion gets ready to hit with teammate Sarah Magness close by.
Photo by Ramon Casares


Nacho Figueras, the sport's ambassador, has competed in all six of the star-studded events that raises money for the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club of Wellington.

Figueras, competing for Black Watch in the inaugural World Polo League this season, is one of the most well-recognized polo players in the world. Figueras and several players took time out to sign autographs for fans.

Magoo Laprida of Equuleus gets ready to hook Nacho Figueras of Grand Champions.
Photo by Ramon Casares

"I come back every year for the Boys and Girls Club and Neil," Figueras said. "Neil has been a good friend for a very long time. Why would I change? We have had a 20-year old relationship and he is a great guy that has done so many wonderful things for the community. He needs all of us to support him.

"It's great to see the players come out for this," Figueras said. "The best thing about polo is the family that polo creates and the community of polo. The polo community is always ready and willing to step up to the plate to support different charities and this is one that's very good for Wellington which is one of the biggest polo communities in the world and we are all happy to be here."

Pablo MacDonough of Grand Champions hits a near side shot.
Photo by Ramon Casares

Magoo and Inaki Laprida play with DiMenna in 18-22 goal polo. 

"This was fun to play here," Magoo Laprida. "It was for charity and that's always good when it's for charity."

MVP Joe DiMenna of Equuleus receives his MVP plaque from Neil Hirsch.
Photo by Sheryel Aschfort


Nine-year-old bay B-12, played and owned by Sarah Magness of Sebilion, was Best Playing Pony. Magness scored three of her five goals on B-12.

Magness, making her Great Futures debut, was one of three women competing in the tournament. Dawn Jones, coming off an overtime victory with her San Saba team in the 11th annual Tabebuia Cup, and Georgetown freshman Riley Ganzi, a former MVP, competed. 

"I had so much fun," said Magness. "I think Wellington is amazing, I just love it so much. You really don't get better polo besides Argentina and I think everyone is here from Argentina."

Magness has played other charity events including the Veuve Clicquot in New York with Figueras.

"It's fun doing the charity events," Magness said. "I have trouble sometimes having fun and being competitive is hard, you are just suppose to have fun."




Grand Champions president Melissa Ganzi and her husband Marc were excited to host the event for the sixth year in a row. Each year the annual charity event has been embraced by the polo community and sponsors including this year's sponsors Sebilion, Equuleus Polo Team, Grand Champions, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital at Memorial, Black Watch, Waste Management, BMO Wealth Management, Digital Bridge, Z Capital Group, PNC Wealth Management, A Touch of Spain, Scott Grody Travel, LAZ Parking, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, E.V. McPherson Foundation, Linsey & Jeff Desich, Steven N. Rappaport & Judith A. Garson.

B-12, owned and played by Sarah Magness, was selected Best Playing Pony and best kisser. Photo by Sheryel Aschfort

Proceeds from the fundraiser celebrity match and Great Futures Polo Day Brunch held at International Polo Club Palm Beach featuring a live auction, benefit the boys and girls club. 

The Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys and Girls Club of Wellington along with twelve other Boys and Girls Clubs in Palm Beach County and more than 1,100 in the United States, provides services including after-school activities and camp opportunities in a safe environment to underprivileged kids, ages 6-18. It is located at 1080 Wellington Trace. The non-profit organization is open year-round and serves 7,000 children.
Nacho Figueras of Grand Champions and Black Watch signs autographs for fans.
Photo by Sheryel Aschfort

The Great Futures event heads a full schedule of polo for March Madness at Grand Champions highlighted by the 26-goal World Polo League, $50,000 National 12-Goal, John T. Oxley Memorial, $100,000 World Cup (0-40) and Women's Weekly League.

During the winter polo season, Grand Champions, the nation's largest and innovative USPA-sanctioned polo club, is hosting 24 tournaments: 6, 8, 12, 20, and 0 to 40 goals, WCT Finals and women's weekly league play and 26-goal World Polo League tournaments at both Grand Champions, Valiente Polo Farm and several other fields in the area.

Grand Champions tournaments attract a large international field of players from all corners of the world  including India, Mexico, New Zealand, Chile, Costa Rica, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Germany, Uruguay, Azerbaijan, Australia, South Africa, Nigeria, Venezuela and England.

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.

Marc Ganzi tries on Sarah Magness' sparkling light blue Swarovski-encrusted helmet with a polo player design. Photo by Sheryel Aschfort

Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels and ages. Its' expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its' Polo On Demand program, created by Grand Champions President Melissa Ganzi when the club first opened in 2007.

Polo teams Equuleus, Grand Champions and Sebilion with awards presenter Neil Hirsch.
Photo by Ramon Casares

The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA-sanctioned polo club, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. Scholarships are available. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November. Headed by Director of Operations Juan Bollini, The Polo School has nurtured several men and women polo players now playing in the pro and amateur ranks since its inception.


Grand Champions awards table for Great Futures Celebrity Polo.
Photo by Ramon Casares

MARCH
Mar. 1-23, Madelon Bourdieu Memorial (6-goal)
Mar. 1-23, Limited Edition 8-Goal Series
Mar. 1-23, Top Pony 12-Goal Series
March 1-31, $50,000 National 12-Goal
Mar. 1-16, John T. Oxley Memorial (20 Goal)
Mar. 3-24, $100,000 World Cup (0-40 goal)
Mar. 6-24, World Polo League, Palm Beach Open, at Grand Champions & Valiente
Mar. 27-Apr. 14, World Polo League, Triple Crown of Polo, at Grand Champions & Valiente
Women's League (6-12 goal), Every Wednesday at Santa Rita Polo Farm

APRIL
 
Apr. 5-20, Las Acacias (4-8 goal)
Apr. 6-20, National President's Cup
April 2-6: Sunny Hale's Legacy WCT Finals, (8 goals, 16 goals, Open) at Grand Champions.
 

THE POLO SCHOOL 

The Polo School at Grand Champions and Director of Operations Juan Bollini are dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. The school's mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through June and September through November. For lessons contact Juan Bollini at 561-346-1099. 


Chukker TV is live streaming the entire winter polo schedule. 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 on ChukkerTV please contact Mike Ferreira at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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.

STAY CONNECTED:
ChukkerTV, 13444 Southfields Road, Wellington, FL 33414
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