Wellington, Fla. – March 30, 2018 – The polo community gathered together on Friday evening at the immaculate Valiente Polo Farm. All were eager to hear what “The New Polo Experience” could be, according to the organizing and host families, the Jornayvaz’s and the Ganzi’s. While cocktails and food were served throughout the night to conversational crowds, the two families prepared to speak in front of some of the most notable names in polo including Adolfo Cambiaso, Dave Offen, and Tony Coppola.
The evening began with opening remarks from the three speakers of the night: Bob Jornayvaz, Marc Ganzi, and Dale Smicklas, who was announced to be the commissioner of the new league. Jornayvaz began first by speaking of the intentions behind starting this new 26-goal league of polo.
“We are forming a new league of honor that will make decisions and decide the types of tournaments we want to play and the type of rules we want to play with. We want to continue to preserve the great 26-goal that has existed for so many years. It’s a type of polo that we all love and don’t want to go away,” Jornayvaz said.
Smicklas, a lifelong horseman who reached an 8-goal handicap at the height of his polo career which took him to play in both America and England, added on to those remarks by stating the details of what the 26-goal tournaments would include. To be held at the Ganzi family’s Grand Champions Polo Club and the Jornayvaz family’s Valiente Polo Farm, the three part series will begin on February 4, 2019 with the All-Star Challenge.
“The first of its kind in the sport, team owners will draw from eight all-star players that include Adolfo Cambiaso, Juan Martin Nero, Pelón Stirling, Gonzalito Pieres, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Rodrigo Andrade, Nico Pieres, and Nic Roldan,” Smicklas announced to crowds.
He continued to describe the remaining tournaments in the series, which will include the Founders Cup, the Palm Beach Open, and the Triple Crown of Polo.
“This league will be about team owners all working for the good of the sport. It will be about taking care of those owners, players, grooms, and all participants as well,” Smicklas explained. “Please remember that this is a league, it is not a competing association.”
The main theme of the night was inclusivity. All speakers continually reminded crowds that the goal of their newly formed league of 26-goal polo was to include all those who wish to be included, whether that be team owners, players, or grooms. Additionally, Jornayvaz, Ganzi, and Smicklas repeatedly expressed that the league will operate under complete transparency to the polo community and will always remain accountable for their actions. In that spirit of transparency, the three admitted that the rules for the series have yet to be solidified, but team owners will have a say in which rules the league will operate under.
After the opening remarks were made, the three head speakers opened up the floor to questions from the crowd. Crowd members jumped at the opportunity to challenge their claims of always remaining transparent to the polo community.
One point that was brought up by a crowd member was if the New Polo Experience changed any of their plans for the league based on the United States Polo Association’s recent announcement that they will be offering a highly incentivized triple crown of polo during the 2019 season in Wellington, Florida. In response, Marc Ganzi expressed that the announcement had no affect on their plans for the evening.
“We will have significant prize money as well,” Ganzi remarked. “We are working with multiple corporate partners. We will have new team owners that are coming into the league. I think that’s important as well, to bring new people into the game and introduce them to this level of polo.”
Questions also arose if players would be limited to only competing in the newly announced tournaments and how the new series would work with scheduling conflicts of pre-existing tournaments in the Wellington area.
“Well first, we aren’t going to exclude anyone,” Jornayvaz quickly answered. “Anyone that wants to play in both groups, we’re just going to be very inclusive. I can’t say that loud enough – nobody is excluded or not welcome to come play with us. So if a player wants to play in both sets of tournaments, we’d love to have them. In terms of scheduling, it will happen how it happens. We’re not out to be conflicting with anyone, that is not our goal. There is definitely going to be a lot of polo to schedule and that is the good news honestly.”
The night ended with the three speakers thanking the polo community for coming out to inquire about the future of 26-goal polo in the United States. The hosts reminded the crowd that not only is everyone included in this new future, but all are encouraged to get involved and to continue to ask questions no matter what.