Los Amigos Blue Win Rocky Mountain Handicap Title

Carbondale, Colo. – Aug. 19, 2019 – Los Amigos Blue won its second tournament of the summer polo season Sunday at McClure River Ranch. Los Amigos Blue (Alejandra Foster, Alfredo Bigatti, Pablo Spinacci, Juancito Bollini) defeated Los Amigos Red (Juan Bollini, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Tincho Merlos, Paul Foster), 26-24.

Rocky Mountain Handicap champion Los Amigos Blue's Pablo Spinacci, Alejandra Foster, Juancito Bollini and Alfredo Bigatti
Rocky Mountain Handicap champion Los Amigos Blue’s Pablo Spinacci, Alejandra Foster, Juancito Bollini and Alfredo Bigatti

The teams tied 12-12 on Saturday with the score continuing over to Sunday’s final. Los Amigos Blue defeated Los Amigos Red, 14-12, in the final six chukkers. Los Amigos Blue (Alejandra Foster, Alejandro Poma, Salvador Ulloa, Juan Bollini) also won the Emma Challenge earlier this season. Juancito Bollini, 23, U.S. Polo Assn. Brand Ambassador, was selected Most Valuable Player. Bollini scored a game-high six goals and played well above his 4-goal handicap. Pickens, a 7-year-old mare played by Astrada and owned by Wellington, Fla.-based Santa Rita Polo Farm, was Best Playing Pony.

MVP Juancito Bollini of Los Amigos Blue works the near side.
MVP Juancito Bollini of Los Amigos Blue works the near side.

In an interesting format, Los Amigos Blue and Los Amigos Red played back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday. On opening day, Los Amigos Blue jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the opening chukker.  Los Amigos Red, led by Paul Foster’s eight goals, chipped away at Los Amigos Blue’s lead through the next four chukkers. Foster’s goal at 2:17 tied the game, 9-9, for the first time. The lead changed hands four times before the game ended with a 12-12 tie on Spinacci’s goal in the closing minute.

Pablo Spinacci of Los Amigos Blue reaches to hook Alejandro Novillo Astrada of Los Amigos Red
Pablo Spinacci of Los Amigos Blue reaches to hook Alejandro Novillo Astrada of Los Amigos Red

On Sunday, Los Amigos Blue jumped out to an early lead again, 5-2, in the first chukker but it didn’t take long for Los Amigos Red to catch up. Los Amigos Red outscored Los Amigos Blue, 6-3, in the second and third chukkers for an 8-8 halftime. The lead changed hands four times before Los Amigos Blue took control and regained the lead, 11-10, at the end of the fifth chukker on Alejandra Foster’s goal. Goals by Alejandra Foster, Bollini and Bigatti gave Los Amigos Blue a 14-11 lead with 1:37 left.

Alfredo Bigatti of Los Amigos Blue takes possession of the ball as Juan Bollini of Los Amigos Red defends
Alfredo Bigatti of Los Amigos Blue takes possession of the ball as Juan Bollini of Los Amigos Red defendsLos Amigos Red defends

“We were able to play better,” Bollini said. “Every game is new no matter the circumstance. I just think we were able to get our groove with the team and we just clicked today. It was one of those days where everything clicked. I was just in the right place at the right time. Playing more competitive games and higher rated players improves everybody’s games,” Bollini said. “It is a sure way to improve. What Marc and Melissa (Ganzi) are doing at Aspen Valley Polo Club is absolutely incredible. We are creating our own history at Aspen Valley Polo Club.”

Bollini ended up playing 12 chukkers on Sunday. He also filled in for Spinacci in the Just For The Love Of It Cup in the third and final game of the day. “I am exhausted,” Bollini said. “I took a shower, ate something and had a great nap.”

In addition to Bollini’s six goals, Alejandra Foster had three goals and Bigatti and Spinacci each had one goal. For Los Amigos Red, Merlos and Paul Foster each had four goals. Astrada had three goals and Juan Bollini added one.

Alejandro Novillo Astrada of Los Amigos Red works the near sideAlejandro Novillo Astrada of Los Amigos Red works the near side

The 12th and 13th tournaments of the summer polo season wrapped up an exciting marathon day of polo, 18 chukkers over five hours that featured the Rocky Mountain Open, Rocky Mountain Handicap and Just For The Love Of It Cup subsidiary.

The Rocky Mountain Open and Handicap tournaments are named after the major mountain range in western North America that stretches more than 3,000 miles from British Columbia south to the Rio Grande in New Mexico. The eastern edge of the Rockies rise dramatically in the Interior Plains of central North America including Colorado’s highest peak Mount Elbert with the highest peak of 14,440 feet above sea level.

Best Playing Pony Pickens, played by Alejandro Novillo Astrada
Best Playing Pony Pickens, played by Alejandro Novillo Astrada
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