Audi Captures Tackeria Invitational Season-Opener At Santa Rita Polo Farm

Wellington, Fla. – October 2, 2017Audi rallied in the final chukker to win the season-opening Tackeria Invitational at Santa Rita Polo Farm. In front of a good, local crowd that was happy to see polo return after a four-month break and worldwide ChukkerTV audience, Audi pulled off an 11-10 overtime victory over rival Casablanca on a rainy morning.

Sponsor and newly-elected USPA President Tony Coppola hoists the winning trophy surrounded by Audi teammates.
Sponsor and newly-elected USPA President Tony Coppola hoists the winning trophy surrounded by Audi teammates.

Scoreless in the fourth chukker and trailing 9-7 going into the sixth chukker, Audi (Marc Ganzi, Jason Crowder, Brandon Phillips, Carlitos Gracida) outscored Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Andres “Lala” LaPlacette, Pablo Dorignac, Juan Bollini), 3-1, to tie the game at 10-10 as regulation time ran out. Marc Ganzi converted a penalty goal to clinch the win in overtime. Ganzi scored a game-high six goals including three penalty conversions and was selected Most Valuable Player.

“This was a fun tournament to show appreciation for the Tackeria and Tony Coppola, our newly-elected President of the USPA which is fantastic,” Marc Ganzi said. “He is really one of the key pieces of connective tissue that keeps this whole thing going. He has been so selfless and so great to the polo community, it’s great to see him recognized for that work on Saturday in Washington state. Today was a good way to tell him ‘thank you’ for all that he does for us. We appreciate him, we appreciate the Tackeria.”

Moonquartz, owned by Santa Rita Polo Farm and ridden by LaPlacette, an Argentine 5-goaler, was named Best Playing Pony. LaPlacette, coming off the recent CBC Sport Arena Polo World Cup Azerbaijan that also featured Grand Champions Melissa Ganzi and Juan Bollini, was making his Grand Champions debut.

“What’s not to like about this place,” LaPlacette said. “This is a great place to play. Melissa’s horses were great.”

In addition to Marc Ganzi’s six goals, Phillips had four goals and Crowder added one. Grant Ganzi led Casablanca with five goals. LaPlacette added four goals and Bollini had one.

Grant Ganzi of Casablanca attempts to block Brandon Phillips' hit.
Grant Ganzi of Casablanca attempts to block Brandon Phillips’ hit.

“It’s finally good to be playing polo in Wellington again,” Marc Ganzi said. “The fields are great and conditions were good although we got a little rain today. It’s great to have the season kicked off.”

“Everyone is just getting into town and getting a feel for it again,” said Phillips, who plans to play the entire month of October. “We haven’t had a real chance to practice the new horses yet. It was a fun way to start the season.”

Crowder is a repeat winner of the Tackeria Invitational as a member of last year’s winning Flexjet team with Riley and Melissa Ganzi and Juan Bollini.

“It was really fun,” said Dorignac, coming off a successful summer season at Aspen Valley Polo Club. “Playing with these people is always nice, it’s a nice group of people. It’s a nice way to start the beginning of the season. It was a good match for everybody to watch from the outside. We really enjoyed it.”

Juan Bollini of Casablanca goes for the big hit downfield.
Juan Bollini of Casablanca goes for the big hit downfield.

The Tackeria Invitational has been the inaugural tournament at the club since it first opened in 2007. A longtime supporter of polo and other equestrian sports, the Tackeria is a complete equestrian shop located in the heart of Wellington horse country. The store carries one of the most complete selections of equestrian equipment in the world. It is a go-to source for equipment, supplies, fashion and gifts for hunter/jumper, dressage and polo disciplines. The Tackeria is located on the corner of Pierson Road and South Shore at 13501 South Shore Blvd.

The Tackeria Invitational was the first of six medium goal tournaments along with two 20-goal tournaments, the USPA North American (Oct. 27-Nov. 5) Cup and USPA National 20-Goal (Nov. 8-19) and Nov. 25 doubleheader with the Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo and International Cup pitting defending champion Team USA against Brazil.
During fall, winter and spring seasons, Grand Champions Polo Club, the nation’s largest club with 11 well-manicured fields, hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal in addition to special events.

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