Oak Brook Polo Defeats Morgan Creek to Win Drake Challenge Cup

The Oak Brook Polo Club got its first full day of polo on Sunday, July 22 after being rained out three consecutive dates to start off the season. Oak Brook defeated Morgan Creek 11-10 in a 12-goal match to win the Drake Challenge Cup. Morgan Creek was hoping to defend their title over Oak Brook who lost to the Yorkville team in 2017, in what was considered to be one of the most intense polo matches of the season.

Mariano Gutierrez, Tomas “Toto” Obregon, Horacio Onetto and Jim Drury
Mariano Gutierrez, Tomas “Toto” Obregon, Horacio Onetto and Jim Drury

Oak Brook was captained by Chicago business leader Jim Drury and included Horacio Onetto (handicap-4), Tomas “Toto” Obregon (handicap-4), and Mariano Gutierrez (handicap-4). Morgan Creek’s Team was captained by Dean Klereonomos (handicap-2) and comprised of Tod Rackley (handicap-2) Delmer Walton (handicap-3), and Lindor Novillo Corvalan (handicap-4).

Approximately 500 people were in attendance to witness the in-state rivalry in addition to the pre-match Jaguar Concours “Cats & Ponies” Soiree presented by BNY Mellon and the Illinois Jaguar Club. This nationally sanctioned event featured over 45 cars from the last eight decades who competed for national point standings in 22 classes. Models from 1938 to 2017 were judged and winners were introduced during the match’s opening ceremonies.

Dawn Zancan kicked off the pre-match program by singing the national anthem followed by the ceremonial ball roll-in by Cathleen Knobbe, Drake Oak Brook Hotel’s Director of Sales. The match was immediately underway at a quick 12-goal pace with Morgan Creek receiving +2 handicap. Obregon was quick in putting two points on the board for Oak Brook, but Morgan Creek’s Rackley answered back. Onetto then scored one for Oak Brook making it tied at 3-3 after the first chukker. Onetto continued the momentum by putting up another three goals in the second chukker, while Morgan Creek remained scoreless at 6-3.

Morgan Creek came out strong at the start of the third chukker, both on offense and defense. Kleronomos put two on the board with one more by Corvalan tying the match 6-6 before the half.

As the fourth chukker got underway, Onetto and Obregon were well positioned to pick up the passes being fed by teammates Drury and Gutierrez. Both came up with two goals breaking the tie in favor of Oak Brook. But it didn’t take long for Morgan Creek to catch-up in the fifth chukker with two more goals by Corvalan. Obregon would go on to score his fourth goal followed by Rackley to close out the chukker tied at 9-9.

For the last chukker, Gutierrez would steal the show and put up the first goal giving Oak Brook a 10-9 lead before Corvalan answered back tying the match for the fourth time at 10-10. In the final minute, Gutierrez put on the heat and squeezed in the final winning goal for Oak Brook to claim its title over Morgan Creek.

MVP honors went to Morgan Creek’s Corvalan for his four goals while “Best Playing Pony” was given to Bolita, owned by Oak Brook’s Gutierrez. Other notable honors went to Obregon for his four goals and Onetto for his five goals. The Drake Challenge Cup’s presenting sponsors included the Drake Oak Brook Hotel, BNY Mellon, Land Rover Hinsdale and Michigan Avenue Magazine.

The rivalry between Oak Brook and Morgan Creek becomes more intense each time the teams meet,” explains Angelo Kleronomos, team Patron and Morgan Creek Polo owner whose birthday was celebrated at the match. “The flow of the match goes right down to the wire. I look forward to playing Oak Brook again in the near future.”

Oak Brook Polo Club’s next match is Sunday, July 29 and is a reschedule of the Butler Challenge Cup. Oak Brook will face Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse polo team at 3:00 p.m. with gates opening at 1:00 p.m.

Oak Brook Polo Club is located at 2606 York Road, seventeen miles from Chicago’s Loop. A variety of ticket options are available at www.oakbrookpoloclub.com. For general information, event scheduling, and parking directions, please call 630.368.5095.

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