Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 17, 2019 – The annual Lucchese 40-Goal Polo Challenge took place on a picturesque day for polo on Saturday, Feb. 16, with eight of the sports top players donating their time to play in what was an heart-pounding, fast paced game. The exhibition game, held at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, is the marquee fundraising event to benefit the Polo Players Support Group (PPSG), a non-profit organization that provides financial aid to injured and ill players and grooms of the polo community.
Team Airstream (Nacho Novillo Astrada, Polito Pieres, Sapo Caset, Miguel Novillo Astrada) took to the field hoping to defend their 2018 title as the Lucchese 40-Goal Polo Challenge champions again team Pilot Catastrophe Services (Agustin Merlos, Mariano Aguerre, Hilario Ulloa, Facundo Pieres). Airstream came out victorious once again after four chukkers of fast play, with the final score of 8-6.
Polito Pieres, of Airstream, gave spectators an exciting start to the game by playing the Tito’s Handmade Vodka Long Shot of the Day within the first 30 seconds of play. Airstream continued to hold their offensive advantage as Polito scored the first two goals of the game. Following Polito’s strategic goals in the first chukker, Mariano Aguerre answered with the first goal for Pilot. Soon after, Pilot’s Agustin Merlos continued the teams momentum with another goal. Play throughout the first half remained open and fast, giving 40-Goal spectators the unique opportunity to view an impressive high level of polo.
After two chukkers, the halfway point, Airstream held their lead by one, thanks to two vital goals by Miguel Novillo Astrada. Astrada, who has been playing in the 40-goal since 2004, noted on the importance of participating in the event, “I’ve been playing for many years and I think it’s a very good cause. It’s a way of helping a great organization that gives a lot to polo. It’s great to be here.”
The third chukker began with Airstream’s Sapo Caset catapulting the team ahead by scoring two consecutive goals. Pilot’s Hilario Ulloa responded with his first goal of the game in an attempt to put his team in the lead for the first time during play. Ulloa, a 10-goal player, enjoyed playing for a good cause, “I like playing the 40-Goal Challenge because it’s a way to help people that need our support. It’s a great way to raise funds for people that need some help.”
The rest of the third chukker, and into the fourth, Airstream held onto their lead, despite goal attempts from Pilot’s Aguerre and Facundo Pieres. The final score of the game settled with Airstream winning 8-6.
Despite Airstream’s repeat victory, players from both teams were happy to donate their time to play in this vital fundraising event benefiting the Polo Players Support Group. “Playing in the 40-Goal Challenge is a great opportunity to help others and I think that anybody in our situation would do the same thing to help out.”, noted former 10-goal player Mariano Aguerre, who has played in the 40-Goal Challenge nine times.
Best Playing Pony, sponsored by 5-Star Builders, was awarded to Pucho, played by Sapo Caset.