WELLINGTON, FL-March 5, 2014----The second crown jewel of U.S. polo's Triple Crown gets under way on Friday with the seventh annual USPA Piaget Gold Cup at International Polo Club.
Grand Champions Polo Club-based pro teams Audi and Flight Options, coming off Sunday's exciting Les Armour Cup final, are among the eight-team field.
First-year team Flight Options (Melissa Ganzi, Eduardo Novillo Astrada, Miguel Novillo Astrada, Alejandro Novillo Astrada) will open the tournament on Friday at 3 p.m. against Alegria (Julian Mannix, Clemente Zavaleta, Mariano Aguerre, Hilario Ulloa).
|Miguel Novillo Astrada will lead Flight Options in its USPA Piaget Gold Cup opener. Photo by Scott Fisher|
Flight Options is picking up momentum in the 26-goal season.
"I think we are getting our rhythm now," said Alejandro Novillo Astrada, who has scored the winning goal in two of his team's games. "With every game we are playing better and gaining confidence."
Audi (Marc Ganzi, Gonzalito Pieres, Rodrigo Andrade, Gonzalo del Tour) plays Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Santiago Chavanne, Pablo MacDonough, Matias MacDonough) on Saturday at 10 a.m.
Andrade is coming off his MVP performance in the Les Armour Cup final.
|Brazilian Rodrigo Andrade of Audi is coming off an MVP performance in Les Armour Cup final. Photo by Scott Fisher|
Audi will get an opportunity to avenge its 11-10 loss to Flight Options in the final of the Les Armour Cup when the teams meet again in bracket play on Thursday, March 13 at 3 p.m.
Other teams entered in the tournament are Valiente, Coca-Cola, Crab Orchard and Lechuza Caracas. The team rosters feature five of the world's 10-goal rated players including Adolfo Cambiaso, ranked No. 1 in the world.
Valiente is two-time defending tournament champion. Last year Valiente defeated Zacara, 13-9 and Santi Torres was named Most Valuable Player.
Piaget (Melissa Ganzi, Nacho Badiola, Sapo Caset, Miguel Astrada) won the subsidiary Butler Handicap with a 9-8 victory over ERG. Caset was named MVP.
Piaget has been the title sponsor since the tournament made IPC its home in 2007. The Piaget Gold Cup was first played in 1974 at Oak Brook Polo Club in Illinois.
For game recaps, news, features and photos of Grand Champions Polo Club-related events, go to www.grandchampionspoloclub.org.
Game video can also be seen at PoloNow Network at http://www.polonow.tv/.
2014 HIGH GOAL SEASON
MARCH 7-23: USPA Piaget Gold Cup: Friday, Alegria vs. Flight Options, 3 p.m.; Saturday, Audi vs. Orchard Hill, 10 a.m.; MARCH 13, Audi vs. Flight Options, 3 p.m.; MARCH 16, Orchard Hill vs. Flight Options, noon; Audi vs. Alegria, 3 p.m.; MARCH 19, Semifinals, 1, 3 p.m.; MARCH 20, Butler Handicap Semifinals, 1, 3 p.m.; MARCH 23, Butler Handicap Final, noon; USPA Piaget Gold Cup Final, 3 p.m.
MARCH 26-APRIL 20: 110th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championships
GRAND CHAMPIONS @ PALM BEACH POLO 2014 TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (HOTLINE 561-373-0073)
MARCH: Madelon Bourdieu Memorial (5-goal); The Limited Edition 8-Goal Series; The Top Pony 12-Goal Series.
APRIL: Las Acacias (5-goal); USPA Association Cup (8- goal); Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame Challenge Cup (12-goal); John T. Oxley Memorial Trophy (16-goal).
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
FRIDAY: Top Pony 12-Goal Series, Hawk Hill vs. The Villages, 3:30 p.m.; The Limited Edition 8-Goal Series, SLS Jets vs. Tulum/Tuff Riders, 4 p.m.; Halo Polo Trophy 5-Goal Series A Final, La Casa Hermosa at Pony Express, 4 p.m.
SATURDAY: 8-Goal, Equuleus vs. Far Niente, 10:30 a.m.; 5-Goal, SLS Jets vs. Grand Champions, 1 p.m.; 12-Goal, Buckhead vs. Pony Express, 3 p.m. featured game at Grand Champions.
SUNDAY: 5-Goal, Patagones Azul vs. Elegante Polo, 10 a.m.; Patagones Blue vs. SLS Jets, noon; 12-Goal, Faraway vs. Hawk Hill, 1 p.m.; Casablanca vs. The Villages, 1:30 p.m.