Los Amigos Blue Captures Emma Challenge

Carbondale, Colorado – July 29, 2019 – Los Amigos Blue, trailing going into final day action, won the Emma Challenge Sunday at Aspen Valley Polo Club’s McClure River Ranch. Los Amigos Blue (Alejandra Foster, Alejandro Poma, Salvador Ulloa, Juan Bollini) defeated Los Amigos Red (Grant Ganzi, Pablo Spinacci, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Paul Foster), 12-9, in the final three chukkers of the championship round robin.

Emma Challenge champion Los Amigos Blue teammates Alejandra Foster, Alejandro Poma,
Salvador Ulloa and Juan Bollini.

It was Alejandra Foster’s second consecutive Emma Challenge title after winning last season with La Karina. She finished with four goals. Ganzi led Los Amigos Red with five goals.Argentine 7-goaler Salvador Ulloa was named Most Valuable Player. Ulloa finished with four goals.

Moon Quartz, a 6-year-old, played by Alejandro Novillo Astrada was Best Playing Pony.

Cruella de Ville, a 4-year-old, played by Pablo Spinacci, was American Polo Horse Association Best Playing Pony. The American Polo Horse Association was created in 2006 by the legendary Polo Hall of Famer Sunny Hale to recognize polo ponies in America and encourages events that showcase them and hard-working dedication of grooms.

Grant Ganzi of Los Amigos Red goes for the big hit.

The two-day, three-team tournament used a unique round robin format. The scores from Friday were carried over into Sunday’s final. Los Amigos Red went in at plus-3, Los Amigos Blue at plus-2 and Mountain Chevrolet at minus-5.

Los Amigos Blue finished with 12 goals, Los Amigos Red had nine and Mountain Chevrolet (Lauren Sherry, Michael Payne, Carlitos Gracida, Tincho Merlos) finished with seven goals.

In Friday’s opening round robin, Los Amigos Red (Nico Harriot, Pablo Spinacci, Nic Roldan, Paul Foster) opened with a 5-4 victory over Los Amigos Blue (Alejandra Foster, Alejandro Poma, Salvador Ulloa, Juan Bollini). Los Amigos Blue defeated Mountain Chevrolet (Lauren Sherry, Michael Payne, Tincho Merlos, Carlitos Gracida), 6-3, and Los Amigos Red edged Mountain Chevrolet, 5-3.

Tincho Merlos of Mountain Chevrolet hits with Juan Bollini of Los Amigos Blue defending.

The Emma Challenge is the seventh of eleven grass tournaments and three arena tournaments being staged at AVPC in what is expected to be its best season.

Coming off its most successful summer season, Aspen Valley Polo Club lined up a star-studded field of players including Hilario Ulloa, Sapo Caset, Alejandro and Nacho Novillo Astrada, Tincho and Sebastian Merlos and Nic Roldan for the summer to compete with and against patrons and amateur players.

Tincho Merlos of Mountain Chevrolet tries to get a near side shot past Juan Bollini of Los Amigos Blue.

Last year’s Emma Challenge Cup winner was La Karina (Alejandra Foster, Brian Boyd, Stewart Armstrong, Nacho Novillo Astrada) with a thrilling 8-7 overtime victory over Piocho Ranch (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Nacho Figueras, Tom Barrack). The Emma Challenge is named after the town of Emma, Colo., located on Highway 82 between Carbondale and Aspen.

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