Wellington, Fla. – April 18, 2018 – The first game of the U.S. Open Polo Championship semi-finals took place on Wednesday between Daily Racing Form (Jared Zenni 5, Agustin Obregon 5, Hilario Ulloa 10, Mariano Obregon 6) and US Polo Assn. (Grant Ganzi 2, Juancito Bollini 4, Alejandro Novillo Astrada 8, Juan Martín Nero 10). Despite US Polo Assn. coming off of an exciting Sunday Polo win in the feature game of the day, it was Daily Racing Form that dominated the game and won 11-8 to advance on the final game of the tournament.
Ulloa set the pace for his team early on in the first chukker by scoring two goals almost immediately. The remainder of the first half followed the same pattern of Daily Racing Form dominating the game with strong offensive maneuvers. US Polo Assn. struggled to keep up with their competitors and didn’t score until the third chukker. At the end of the first half, Daily Racing Form held a significant 6-1 lead.
The second half of play saw US Polo Assn. step up their energy and make some smart moves that resulted in Nero, Astrada, and Ganzi scoring goals in the fourth and fifth chukkers. At the end of the fifth chukker Daily Racing Form still held an 11-7 lead, but it looked as though US Polo Assn. might make a comeback in the sixth chukker to tie up the game. Unfortunately, the team could not rally the remaining needed goals and the end results dictated that Daily Racing Form will advance onto the finals.
Later in the day Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz 2, Tommy Beresford 4, Facundo Pieres 10, Adolfo Cambiaso 10) and FlexJet (Melissa Ganzi A, Nico Pieres 8, Gonzalito Pieres 9, Rodrigo Andrade 9) faced off in the second semi-final game. Continuing their season-long streak, Valiente defeated the equally star-studded FlexJet, 17-9, to advance to the finals.
The fast paced game was decided by Cambiaso within the first few minutes of the game by scoring two back-to-back goals. Facundo Pieres and Beresford followed his lead by each adding one goal themselves. Valiente continued to work together seamlessly to make scoring their 10 goals in the first half look easy. FlexJet only managed to score two goals within the first three chukkers.
At the start of the fourth chukker, FlexJet began to pick up more goals thanks to skilled penalty conversion shots made by Nico Pieres. Unfortunately for FlexJet, Valiente didn’t lose any steam as the chukkers continued, scoring five goals in the fifth chukker to make their total number of goals an impressive 17. While Nico Pieres, Gonzalito Pieres, and Andrade all made one last push in the final chukker by each scoring a goal, they could not catch up to Valiente’s mass collection of goals.
Play in the U.S. Open Polo Championship will continue on Sunday, April 22nd with the finals of the tournament. The game will take place on Field 1 at International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) between Daily Racing Form and Valiente at 3:00pm . The Hall of Fame Cup will take place on Saturday, April 21st between Colorado and Audi at IPC at 4:30pm.