Chile’s Tono Iturrate leads the charge against USA team on Saturday afternoon
By Alex Webbe
Jose Antonio “Tono” Iturrate is the senior spokesman of the Chilean polo team (Max
Silva, Jose Antonio Iturrate, Juan Sanchez and Matias Vial) that arrived in Wellington
Thursday morning in preparation for Saturday’s International Gold Cup match against
the United States (Marc Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida, Nic Roldan and Jeff Hall).
“This is going to be my last major tournament,” said Chile’s Jose Antonio Iturrate. “It is
something special to be able to pull on your country’s jersey and compete on the field,”
offered the former 8-goaler.
Not the first time he has played for Chile internationally. Itturate was a member of
the 33-goal Brazilian team (Tono Itturate, Jose Donoso, Gabriel Donoso and Jaime
Huidobro) that beat England in the Coronation Cup in 1998. He took the field with
Pepe Heguy, Gonzalo Heguy and Horacio Heguy in the mid to late 1980s and spent
over 30 years traveling all over the world in pursuit of the ball making stops in Uruguay
Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, England, France, Italy, Spain, Lebanon, South Africa
Born in Los Angeles, Chile (yes, not California), Tono started riding almost before he
could walk (two or three). He was playing polo at age 11 and had the full resources of
the family’s ranch and wide selection of horses. His father, Rufino Itturate, attained a
handicap of 4-goals and encouraged his son’s play.
Following Saturday’s International Cup play, Tono will return to his home in the south
of Chile where he will enjoy the scenery and help guide the development of his son
Martin’s play. Martin is currently ranked at 4-goals but Tono believes he has the talent
get to seven or eight goals.
“He’s concentrating on getting his degree in civil Engineering,” said Tono. “As soon as
he graduates he will have more time to develop his polo game. But until Saturday’s
game is over, Tono only has one thing on his mind, winning!
The International match is slated to begin at 3PM at the Grand Champions Polo Club
and will be preceded by a legend’s Cup that will feature Hall of Famers Carlos Gracida
and Julian Hipwood; former 9-goalers Howard Hipwood and Hector Galindo; Ruben
Gracida, a former 8-goaler and the second winner of the Seymour Knox Award as US
Open MVP and multiple US Open winner. Argentina’s Juan Bollini, winner of three
USPA Gold Cups, formerly rated at 8-goals, Bollini was a constant presence on the
international high-goal scene. The United States Polo Association CEO, Peter Rizzo,
fills out the field.
Although the Grand Champions Polo Club invites the public to nearly all of its games
free of charge, a $20 per person General Admission ticket is being offered with all
proceeds going to the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational
organization, dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the development, history and
tradition of the sport of polo.. Be sure to bring your own seating. Che Grill will be at field
side with delicious food, snacks and drinks, and tented seating will be available to enjoy
your meal. Field side parking is not included.
Additional ticketing is offered ranging from a $200 VIP Pavilion Tickets to a $250
Signature Tailgate Package or a $500 Grand Champions Tailgate Package or a $1,500
For Tickets: Go to www.grandchampionspoloclub.ticketleap.com or call (561)644-5050