Audi Rally Falls Short, Loses To Valiente In Maserati 109th U.S. Open Polo Championships
Valiente 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso hooks Audi team captain Marc Ganzi who re-injuredhis broken thumb on his mallet hand and was forced to leave the game in the fifth
chukker. Photography Alex Pacheco
WELLINGTON, FL-April 5, 2013 - It was a frustrating day for Audi in its 12-9 loss
to Valiente in the 109th Maserati U.S. Open in front of a packed house at International
Polo Club Palm Beach.
Playing against Valiente 10-goalers Adolfo Cambiaso and Pelon Stirling, Audi fell
behind early and kept fighting back.
Audi, relentless in its defensive attack led by Jeff Hall, tied the game in the
third (3-3) and fifth chukkers (8-8) and outscored Valiente in the fourth and fifth
When Audi team captain Marc Ganzi re-injured his broken thrumb after getting hooked
hard by Cambiaso,16-year-old Wellington High School senior Juancito Bollini came
in at the 4:25 mark of the fifth chukker, the team regrouped and maintained its
Gonzalito Pieres came up with an incredible goal late in the fifth chukker to tie
the game at 8-8. Pieres picked up a pass from Nico Pieres, slid in front of his
defenders and leaned out of his saddle for a incredibly-angled cut shot. But with
43 seconds left, Striling broke away downfield to put Valiente back in the lead,
Cambiaso then went to work early in the sixth chukker first stealing the ball from
Nico Pieres and then intercepting a Bollini back shot to loft a shot in goal for
a 10-8 lead.
Audi came back with a penalty two goal from Nico Pieres to cut the Valiente lead
to 10-9, but Cambiaso again came up with a steal and a goal with 3:58 for an 11-9
advantage. Gonzalito Pieres fouled and Cambiaso missed his third penalty shot of
the game, but came right back to score from the field to put the game out of reach,
12-9, while taking out the goal post.
Valiente remains undefeated (2-0) in the 11-team tournament.
"They (Cambiaso, Stirling and Santi Torres) are all playing well," said Valiente
team captain Bob Jornayvaz. "It's fun to watch. I have the best ticket in town.
Audi is a good team with Gonzalito and Nico.
"I know it sounds trite, but we are trying to take it one game at a time," Jornayvaz
said. "You really have to. If you start thinking ahead you're going to get yourself
"It's harder than most people think to win the U.S. Open. I don't think people understand
how hard it is to win and the variables. It's like Formula One car racing. There
is no easy game."
Grand Champions Polo Club-based Audi dropped to 1-2 and plays ERG, 11-7 Thursday
winners over Coca-Cola, on Sunday at 12 noon.
Nico Pieres led Audi scoring with six goals and Gonzalito Pieres had three goals.
For Valiente, Cambiaso scored six goals, Stirling had five goals and Torres added
Piaget, also based at Grand Champions Polo Club, will play Alegria at 4 p.m. on
Friday at Isla Carroll East Field. Piaget will play without team captain Melissa
Ganzi, still suffering from a groin pull sustained in last
week's game. She will be replaced by Matias Sosa.
In this year's U.S. Open, there are three brackets. Audi is in bracket one with
Coca-Cola, Zorzal, ERG and Valiente. Piaget is in bracket two with Faraway and Orchard
Hill. The third bracket is Lechuza Caracas, Alegria and Zacara.
The U.S. Open Polo Championship, first played in 1904 at Van Courtland Park, celebrated
100 years in 2004. It is one of three major polo tournaments worldwide along with
the British and Argentine Opens. It is also the third jewel of U.S. polo's 26-goal
Triple Crown that includes the C.V. Whitney Cup and USPA Piaget Gold Cup.
For the first half of the 20th century the U.S. Open Polo Championship was hosted
in the northeast, primarily at Meadowbrook Polo Club. In 1954, the U.S. Open moved
to Oakbrook Polo Club, outside of Chicago, where it stayed until 1978.
The next eight U.S. Opens were hosted by Retama Polo Club in San Antonio where Memo
Gracida won the first of his record 16 wins. In 1987, the U.S. Open was played at
El Dorado Polo Club in Palm Springs. The next four were played at Horsepark in Lexington,
Since 1996, the U.S. Open has been held in South Florida. In 2005, Julio Gracida
added to the Gracida family's combined record of 36 U.S. Open Polo Championship
AUDI/PIAGET U.S. OPEN SCHEDULE
Friday, April 5, Piaget vs. Alegria, 4 p.m., Isla Carroll East Field
Sunday, April 7, Audi vs. ERG, noon.
Thursday, April 11, Piaget vs. Zacara, 10 a.m.
Sunday, April 14, Quarterfinals
Wednesday, April 17, Hall of Fame Cup, semifinal; U.S. Open Semifinals, 2 and 4
Saturday, April 20: Hall of Fame Cup final, 4 p.m.
Sunday, April 21: Maserati U.S. Open final, 3 p.m.
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: On the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington.