Wellington, Fla. – April 22, 2018 – Despite ominous forecasts for the entirety of Sunday, the U.S. Open Polo Championship Finals took place with only a short rain delay interrupting the day’s events. The game saw two of the sports’ best teams competing for the championship title, Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz 2, Tommy Beresford 4, Facundo Pieres 10, Adolfo Cambiaso 10) and Daily Racing Form (Jared Zenni 5, Agustin Obregon 5, Hilario Ulloa 10, Mariano Obregon 6). At the end of an intense game that demonstrated what many would call the best polo of the season, it was underdogs Daily Racing Form that took home the prize 10-9, by one narrow goal.
Both teams came out strong in the first chukker with fast, open play. Pieres set the pace with the first goal of the game, but Ulloa quickly responded with another goal to tie up the teams. For the rest of the first and through the second chukker, both teams continued to alternate scoring goals so that neither team was more than two goals ahead at a time. At the end of the first half of play Daily Racing Form held the lead 5-4, which kept the packed stadium of fans on the edge of their seats.
The second half began with athletes and their horses just as energetic as they were in the first chukker, play was continuously fast and open with very little penalties being called on either team. Both teams held strong defensively during the fourth chukker, with only two goals being scored the entire time, one by Cambiaso and the other by Ulloa.
In the fifth chukker Valiente made an attempt to catch up to leaders Daily Racing Form, but play was halted when Ulloa was dismounted from his horse after being hit in the face by an oncoming ball. Cambiaso was quick to dismount as well to aid his fellow 10-goal player. After a brief break in play and medical attention, Ulloa returned to the field to help his team secure their U.S. Open Polo Championship final win. The team credited their monumentous win to their consistent strategy, always remembering to play as a team unit, and to their horses.
“Our strategy was really to put pressure on [Valiente] the whole time and stay close to them. When we have the ball, we wanted to be calm and play as a team the entire time” said Agustin Obregon.
Jared Zenni agreed, “we just really tried to stay disciplined out there and play our style of polo. We all started to gain more confidence together with every game in the Open. The horses were in really good shape too.”
Zenni, the youngest team member of Daily Racing Form, had multiple reasons to celebrate, as he was named as the Most Valuable Player of the game.
“For me, growing up as a kid you kind of always dream of winning the Open Finals. It’s pretty surreal”, said Zenni. “It was such an honor to be MVP, I mean I was just trying to play my best out there and help my team win. It really is surreal.”
Best Playing Pony of the game was awarded to Mariano Obregon’s Sally. Cousin, Agustin Obregon, was almost at a loss for words when asked about their underdog win.
“I don’t even know what I’m feeling yet, it is so awesome. To tell you the truth I didn’t know if we were going to win today. Valiente is such a great organization and Cambiaso, Facundo, Tommy, and Bob they are all such great players. It is just so incredible.”
The U.S. Open Polo Championship Finals marks the end of the high-goal season in Wellington.