Wellington, Fla. – April 30, 2018 – Sebucan dominated the USPA Eastern Challenge championship final from start-to-finish to capture the prestigious title on Sunday at Santa Rita Polo Farm. Playing together for the first time as a team, Timmy Dutta, 1, Pablo Pulido, 2, Lucas Diaz Alberdi, 5, and Juan Martin Obregon, 5, defeated ChukkerTV (Josh DuBarry, 0, Piki Diaz Alberdi, 7, Pablo Dorignac, 5, Julio Gracida, 4), 16-10. Cupid, a 5-year-old owned and played by Julio Gracida in the third chukker, was selected Best Playing Pony.
Pablo Pulido, playing well above his two-goal rating, was named Most Valuable Player. Pulido, a former collegiate player at Cornell, scored four goals and was one of the most dominant players on the field. It was Pulido’s first MVP award since October 2017 when Sebucan knocked off Casablanca to win the USPA Fall Plates tournament during the fall season at Grand Champions.
Sebucan started with a 3-0 lead on handicap and quickly built 6-1 and 7-2 cushions after two chukkers. Chukker TV cut Sebucan’s lead to two behind Gracida’s clutch penalty conversions to trail 8-6 at the half but could get no closer. The second half Sebucan regained its momentum and offensive running attack to extend its lead to 13-7 after the fifth chukker.
“They were a very tough team with very strong players,” Pulido said. “We just kept on playing. We kept on rotating all the players going in. We all played the ball and scoring the goals and that made the difference. It was just our team’s grit and our day,” Pulido said. “Everybody just kept on going and going the whole time. That helped out and of course me making it to the end of the line making goals made a difference.”
While Pulido was hoping the team could stay together his three teammates are going their separate ways. Timmy Dutta and Lucas Diaz Alberdi will join their fathers Tim Dutta and Piki Diaz Alberdi on Dutta Corp for this week’s tournament and Juan Martin Obregon heads for Aiken, South Carolina for the May 2-20 Pete Boswick Memorial 12-goal at New Bridge Polo Club. Obregon will join Tristan Hurley, Sayyu Dantata and Peco Polledo on SD Farms team.
Timmy Dutta, 16, scored a game-high five goals. In addition to Pulido’s four goals, Juan Martin Obregon added three goals and Lucas Diaz Alberdi had one goal. Julio Gracida led ChukkerTV with four goals, Piki Diaz Alberdi had three, DuBarry scored two and Dorignac added one. At 12, DuBarry was the youngest player on the field and in the six-team tournament.
“I’ve scored in games before but these were my first ones here today,” DuBarry said. “They were a strong team. It was good and it was tough but good experience for me. It was super fun. I’ve been playing my whole life. The first time I was on a horse I was six months old.”
“I’m happy Pablo was MVP, it was good to play with him and fun,” Dutta said. “For a 13-goal team with this kind of chemistry I think it’s just playing polo. I’ve been playing for four years and learned a lot. Playing against Piki was very interesting.”
The student and coach challenged each other throughout the game. Dutta has played with and against Piki and Lucas Diaz Alberdi in Wellington and Argentina.
“That was fun,” Dutta said. “We play every day in Argentina so I am beginning to learn his tricks now. To play with Lucas is always fun, he is like my brother. Today there was rivalry of course. Piki does not like to lose, not even practices.”
Dutta got the opportunity to play one of his youngest horses in the first chukker. “It helped to start with a 3-0 lead because I got to play my young one in the first chukker,” Dutta said. “I knew we had three goals and some time to spare and we put two more on the board and started working.”
In the Aspen Valley Polo Cup subsidiary game Chateau D’esclans (Tony Calle, 3, Juancito Bollini, 4, Grant Ganzi, 2, Carlitos Gracida, 4) won the title. Ashley Busch of Altair Polo was MVP after scoring four goals against Newport and Chateau D’esclans. Busch then left cheer on husband Kurt at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
The U.S. Polo Association (USPA) was organized and exists for the purposes of promoting the game of polo, coordinating the activities of its member clubs and registered players, arranging and supervising polo tournaments, competitions and games, and providing rules, handicaps and conditions for those tournaments, competitions and games including the safety and welfare of participants and mounts.