Carbondale, Colo. – Aug. 12, 2018 – La Karina won its third tournament of the summer polo season on Sunday at Aspen Valley Polo Club. In front of a soldout VIP tent, La Karina (Brian Boyd, Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Stewart Armstrong) took the lead in the third chukker and never trailed for a thrilling 8-5 victory over Aspen Valley Polo Club (Melissa Ganzi, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Eloy Vallina/David Vallina, Juan Bollini) to capture the Rocky Mountain Open.
La Karina, last year’s Rocky Mountain Open runner-up, is now the club’s winningest team after capturing the Basalt Handicap, Emma Challenge and Rocky Mountain Open. Last season La Karina won two tournaments. Roldan, one of the nation’s top-rated players, earned Most Valuable Player honors. “It was a great, tough match,” Roldan said. “Aspen Valley Polo Club was obviously a good team. We had a good solid offense with Brian up there and Marc scoring goals. It was fun.”
Rebecca, a 15-year-old chestnut mare, played by Melissa Ganzi and owned by Wellington-based Santa Rita Polo Farm, was selected Best Playing Pony. Rebecca was bred by the Novillo Astrada breeding farm in Argentina. Stewart Armstrong was named the Flexjet Defensive Player of the Game for his outstanding play in the back including turning away three potential goals.
For La Karina, Roldan scored a game-high four goals. Ganzi had two goals and Boyd added one goal. Melissa Ganzi and Novillo Astrada led AVPC with two goals each. Bollini scored one. Behind Novillo Astrada and Bollini goals, Aspen Valley Polo Club took a 2-1 lead after a fast-paced first chukker. La Karina turned on its stingy defense, shutting out AVPC in the second and third chukkers to take a 4-2 halftime lead. La Karina never trailed after that.
The teams tied 1-1 in the fourth and fifth chukkers and La Karina outscored AVPC, 2-1, in the final chukker to ice the victory. AVPC had its share of scoring opportunities in the final chukker but could not take advantage.
The big winner, however, was the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation, benefitting from the club’s marquis event, Chukkers, Champagne & Caviar fundraiser featuring great food, great polo and great fun, several local vendors and silent auction which included a trip to the Fiji Islands and Rolex watches. Last year’s event raised $366,000.
“We are just delighted that everybody is here for a wonderful day of polo,” said Foundation President Deborah Breen. “We are so excited to be dedicating all these proceeds to the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation and terrific work going on there.”
The Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation, now entering its sixth year, is a non-profit solely focused on encouraging philanthropic support for the current and future needs of Aspen Valley Hospital.
In a spirited polo players auction, Juan Bollini and Marc Ganzi earned the highest bids with Bollini going at $25,001 and Marc Ganzi at $25,000. The highest bidders were invited to present the winning trophy to La Karina. Final totals raised will be announced by organizers this week.
All photos by Chiarofoto