Miami Beach, Fla. – Jan. 9, 2018 – Miami Beach started the New Year on a high note with the resurgence of beach polo on the windswept beachfront of W South Beach Hotel. In an exciting finish, La Martina defeated Macallan, 5-4.5, to win the Beach Polo World Cup in winds gusting up to 15 miles per hour on Sunday in front of a good crowd. With La Martina trailing by a half-point, teenager Riley Ganzi scored the winning goal with 30 seconds left enabling her team to win the coveted La Martina Cup.
La Martina’s Jesse Bray, Juan Bollini and Ganzi finished the tournament undefeated at 3-0 and finished with a total of 18 goals through out three games. Bray and Ganzi each had two goals and Bollini added one in the final.
Macallan (Sarah Siegel Magness, 1; Marc Ganzi, 3; Nic Roldan, 8), trailing for most of the game, went ahead, 4.5-4 on Marc Ganzi’s penalty conversion with 35 seconds left in the game before his daughter’s heroics. Macallan finished with a 2-1 record and 14.5 goals.
Roldan, one of America’s top players rated at 8 goals, was named Most Valuable Player after scoring three goals and wowing the crowd with his big hitting and consecutive polo ball bounces off his mallet.
Centarous (bred from Twist of Lemon and Juan), ridden by Bray in the fourth chukker, and owned by Wellington, Fla.-based Santa Rita Polo Farm, was selected as Karma Best Playing Pony.
Created by Reto Gaudenzi and after a successful run from 2005-2008, co-founders Tito Gaudenzi, Melissa and Marc Ganzi, Fernando Torres and Bash Kazi revived the world’s largest beach tournament and plan to make it an annual event. It is expected to return in January 2019.
“We are so happy to be back here,” Tito Gaudenzi said. “We have been working on this for five years to bring polo back. We’re here and we’re here to stay. We are so happy with the turnout and the support. Events like this really help bring the sport closer to the people and promote polo, which is most important.”
The four-day event started Thursday with player and sponsor introductions and tournament draw with popular polo announcer Jan-Erik Franck and player kickoff party. Despite bitter cold early in the week, the production crew managed to put together an impressive arena and staging area. The unexpected rain, cold and wind didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of players or fans.