Category Archives: Tournament Recap

Recap of USPA Spreckels Cup Finals & Closing Day of Polo presented by Woodford Reserve

The San Diego Polo Club (SDPC) celebrated the end of their 28th season in Rancho Santa Fe with the United States Polo Association (USPA) Spreckels Cup & Closing Day presented by Woodford Reserve. Heels2Heal was the exclusive charity partner with specific ticket and auction proceeds benefiting San Diego Youth Services.

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Gates opened at 12:30pm and guests were lined up as early as 9:30am itching to get a good spot to watch the final match at 2pm. Players and VIPs mingled in the Woodford Reserve Lounge and sipped on bourbon infused specialty cocktails as they took awe of the 105 year old Spreckels trophy that was on display with hundreds of beautiful garden and piano roses overflowing the cup.

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The VIP tent was filled with 500 guests, including players, family, friends, sponsors, and of course, the Heels2Heal guests right in the front row. Over 1,300 guests piled into the venue, dressed to the nines in red accents, hats and chic polo outfits.

USPA-Spreckels-Cup-2014-San-Diego-Polo-Club- Closing-Day-Woodford-Reserve-Santa Fe Hunt

The day started out with a classic demonstration of rider and foxhounds, presented by the Santa Fe Hunt. Established in 1969, the Santa Fe Hunt/West Hills Hounds is a Masters of Fox Hounds Association recognized Hunt located in Temecula, California. They are a diverse group of riders brought together by love of horses, open spaces, country values and riding with a fine pack of foxhounds as they work a scent. The San Diego Polo Club is honored to welcome back Terry Paine and the Santa Fe Hunt every year.

Next up was the highly anticipated fashion show presented by Heels2Heal chair and polo player, Sonya Berg the Zen Fashionista.

Closing Day Polo - Sonyz Berg-Zen Fashionista-News Girls-Models

Sonya is a TV Personality, Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger, Fashion Show Designer & Producer, and philanthropist. Her “Sexy Socialite News Girls Pre-Fall Fashion Show” featured the San Diego News Girls, including Brandi Williams, Kimi Evans, Natasha Sweattle, Sabrina Fein, Tabitha Lipkin, and Staci Ortiz-Davis. Over 20 female models and 10 male models featured fall fashions from Matti D, Nicole Miller, Mister B’s, Jill Courtemanche Millinery, TRE, and Van de Vort.

After the fashion show, guests were encouraged to grab a drink at the bar or get a bite to eat and settle in for the final match of the season, the USPA Spreckels Cup Finals.

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Five teams had been competing for the chance to play in the 105 year old tournament, The USPA sanctioned Spreckels Cup. On September 28th, 2014 the top two teams fought it out for the title of Spreckels Champions. After weeks of
competing for a spot in the final game, Starmeadow/Roseville Motor Car and Twin Palms took the field for the final tournament of 2014.

USPA-Spreckels-Cup-2014-San-Diego-Polo-Club- Closing-Day-Woodford-Reserve- anthony ballard

Anthony Ballard did the honors of singing the national anthem during our Opening Ceremonies. With over 25 years’ experience, Anthony’s diverse background spans opera, musical theatre, non-musicals, tap, jazz and ballet. Anthony is an active member of the San Diego Opera’s Core Chorus and has appeared in over 50 San Diego arts productions since moving to the area in 1993.

USPA Closing Day- First Ball Throw-In

After the anthem, Suzanne Brown from Woodford Reserve did the honors of throwing in the ceremonial first ball and starting off the first chukker!

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The first goal of chukker one was scored by Graham “the big guns” Bray for Starmeadow. Twin Palms’ Gaston Von Wernich was right behind him, scoring for his team. Playing for the trophy, Von Wernich scored the next three goals in chukker two.

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Ashton Wolf made a comeback, scoring two goals for Starmeadow. Chukker three started with a goal from Twin Palms’ Ryan Robertson. Colton Bancroft fired back, scoring one for Starmeadow. Not one to back down easily, Robertson scored the remaining goal of chukker three, lengthening his team’s lead. At halftime, the scores were Starmeadow 4 / Twin Palms 6.

USPA-Spreckels-Cup-2014-San-Diego-Polo-Club- Closing-Day- Divot-stomp

During the traditional “Pretty Woman Divot Stomp,” guests enjoyed a sample of Korbel California Champagne as they mingled with friends and replaced the divots that were kicked up by the horses during the first half of the game.

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Plowing ahead in chukker four, Robertson again scored. Passing the reins to teammate Von Wernich, Twin Palms scored their 8th goal of the game; Von Wernich’s 5th.

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Like chukker four, chukker five belonged to Twin Palms. Alvaro Tadeo scored first for his team. Robertson picked up the second goal. Going into the last chukker, the score was Starmeadow 4 / Twin Palms 10.

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In chukker six, Starmeadow fought back hard. Bancroft scored first, followed by two goals from Ashton Wolf. Following suit, Graham Bray scored narrowing the lead Twin Palms had on his team.

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The final goal was scored by Tadeo of Twin Palms. Adding in team handicaps, Starmeadow ended with nine goals. Though Starmeadow fought hard, Twin Palms was on fire. They came to win and with eleven goals, they did just that.

Watch post game interviews with Colton Bancroft and Alvaro Tadeo by Mikki & Shay.

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Both teams joined together on the trophy deck for the Trophy & Awards Presentation. First off was the most improved player award, which was awared to Virgil Kyle by previous president and founding member, Ron Bonaguidi. Kyle has excelled in his skill level in 2014.

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Second was the sportsmanship award, which went to one of our newest members, who has displayed courtesy and sportsmanship to his fellow players. Eric Hammon was the recipient of this great award.

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Our founding father, Willis Allen was very instrumental in encouraging young players to get involved in the sport of polo. The San Diego Polo Club created his namesake award to honor Willis and congratulate the best all-around young player under 30 based on horsemanship, sportsmanship and playing ability. Judy Collins, daughter of Willis Allen, presented this award to 17-year old Colton Bancroft.

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Out of the 48+ horses played in Sunday’s polo match, the best playing pony is just that– the best pony out there. Gail Greggson of the California Thoroughbred Breeder’s Foundation presented the trophy to Graham Bray for his horse P1. This horse has won 4 best playing pony awards in the last two years!

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Torry Spreckels is the great granddaughter of John D. Spreckels. She and her daughter Jessica and granddaughter Molly presented the second place team with the Spreckels trophies. Both Molly and Jessica play polo today, carrying on the Spreckels family tradition. Christine Wuthrich, the great great grand daughter of John D. Spreckels also helped present the trophies.

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All of the players were then welcomed onto the stage and everyone was gifted with a nice bottle of Woodford Reserve, a small-batch straight bourbon distilled in central Kentucky. The distillery itself is a national historical monument!

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Jose Luis & Lovie Rocha, owners of  JL Rocha, have been designing and manufacturing handmade leather shoes & jackets for over 3 generations in Mexico and now they are in the United States. Lovie & Jose Luis presented each of the winning players with a fine lambskin jacket from their collection completely made by hand.

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Scott Walker, USPA Lieutenant Governor for Southern California, presented the winning teams with their trophies as well as awarded Most Valuable Player of the game to Gaston von Wernich!

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Guests stayed until dark, dancing and partying with polo players and members. DJ Beatnick kept the energy up and rocked the beats for one of the best after parties in history!

Photos by Jim Bremner & Topher Riley. To see more, visit us on Facebook.com

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Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament at the San Diego Polo Club

San Diego Polo Club Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament

On July 5 & 6, the San Diego Polo Club played host to one of many tournaments organized by the Pacific Coast Arena League.  USPA members from all over California traveled to SDPC to compete in the two-day event hosted by both San Diego Polo and Poway Polo clubs.  Roughly 40 players and 80 horses gathered at our arena to compete against one another over July 4th weekend.   The club was bustling more than usual and playing host to our guests brought a wonderful, different, refreshing air to the club.  Many of the competitors over the weekend got their start at our Arena School lessons and now compete regularly all over California at various other clubs. Each day had 6 matches consisting of 4 chukkers of various levels of competition. From our Interscholastic teenaged players to our best A-rated players, the day was action packed with some of the most amazing arena polo you’ll ever see.  Some of the other clubs represented were OC Polo, Central Coast Polo, Lakeside Polo and Poway Polo.

San Diego Polo Club Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament-Maryam Jahani

Each day consisted of 6 matches, A-Flights, B-Flights and C-Flight Student chukkers. A-Flight is the more advanced and C-Flight is more beginner level, even though there’s still a lot going on in C-Flight, just watch!  For each match, 3 Awards were given:  Most Valuable Player, Sportsmanship and Best Playing Pony.  MVP is usually given to the player who contributed the most to the game, not necessarily who scored the most goals, an all around player acknowledged for their effort and skill, as well as their knowledge and respect for the game and rules.  Sportsmanship is given to a stand-out player who perhaps showed a mutual respect for another player, horse, or rule and did not put personal triumph above how the game should be played.  Perhaps an overall attitude toward the chukkers and other players. One young man was awarded Sportsmanship for initiating the “great game” handshake exchange to the other team’s players and to thank the umpires at the end of his match.   Best Playing Pony is given to the stand-out horse that performed brilliantly in terms of perhaps speed, ride-off, responsiveness to needs of the rider, and overall performance within the game.

San Diego Polo Club Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament-Heather_perkins

Arena polo is often mistaken as less exciting and more condensed than grass polo.  If you take just one quick moment to watch some chukkers of some A rated players, you’ll very quickly realize how scrappy, exciting, action packed and different Arena polo is from grass polo.  It’s amazing just how different the entire game can be within the 100×50 yard field.  You can often use the wall or boards of the arena as a “4th man” in your chukkers, using it for your team, or against the other team.  You can smack the ball against the boards at an angle to change the line of the ball to pass to a teammate, something you can’t really do in grass unless you hit it low enough to bounce it off the red boards on the ground.  The close contact in the arena is extremely exciting, sometimes looking more like a demolition derby instead of Formula One racing.  Most of the same rules still apply in either game – grass or arena – but the strategy tends to be much different.

San Diego Polo Club Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament-sdpc

While hitting and carrying the ball tends to be much easier on the grass, since most people prefer to play golf on the green instead of the sand pits, imagine just how much more skill you might need to “play golf in the sand pits” all the time?  The arena ball tends to glance off mounds of sand or mud, or get stuck in hoof holes created by the galloping horses.  But to develop enough skill to work around that and STILL be a dynamite polo player, I’d say that’s a mission worth trying, and a feat often underestimated and overlooked. With the deck stacked against you in getting the ball to move anywhere in a straight line, you might argue that arena polo is harder.

San Diego Polo Club Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament-Julie Empey

New players may rush themselves through Arena as their end game or end goal might be to play on the grass.  Take one look at an arena tournament and you are in for one hell of a ride. You can see Everything right up close, you can hear the grunts of the horses, hear the clanking of stirrups during a ride off, see all the action up close from wherever you’re standing – it’s easier to see every detail.   Get ready to duck out of the way of a ball flying out of bounds!

San Diego Polo Club Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament-Niki Mobtaker
The next time you hear about an arena tournament at SDPC, come on down and check it out.  It’s really an amazing display of expertise horsemanship, and expert ball-mallet handling, turning in tight circles, dribbling the ball to keep it away from a fast approaching opponent.  It has non-stop ride-offs, precision maneuvers within the small space… it is a RUSH!

San Diego Polo Club Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament-Alvern Vorn Steeg

A very big thank you to SDPC Polo Manager Graham Bray for letting us host the two day tournament, it went off without a hitch, so thank you very much for everything!  A very special thank you to Dr. Colleen Wilson of Adeptus Nutrition for donating her equine supplements for the Best Playing Pony awards given to the best horse in each match voted on by the umpires and officials of each game.  Thank you so much to Kimo Huddleston who worked tirelessly all weekend umpiring most of the games, fitting in teaching some lessons, and dragging the arena in between chukkers.   A monstrous thank you to the Godfather of Southern California Polo – Mr. Russ Sheldon.  Most of the organizational details are old hat to him, this ain’t his first rodeo, a valuable resource in the polo community, a hard working man dedicated to keeping polo alive and attainable for everyone in the San Diego area.  Thank you to Megan Judge, Heather Perkins, Russ Sheldon, Graham Bray, Heather Chronert, Kimo Huddleston and Gillian Young, for your help in organizing and making it all happen.

San Diego Polo Club Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament-Kelly Newton

And the best thank you of all – to all the competitors for coming down and enjoying the tournament with us!  We love hosting visitors and opening our doors to different players of all levels. We hope you enjoyed your time at SDPC, its picturesque setting, and hopefully you made it down to watch our Sunday Matches!   I know we’ll see some of you back over Labor Day weekend when we host the National Youth Tournament Series final matches.  That’ll draw visitors from all over the country to watch the kids (all under 19) play on the grass.
San Diego Polo Club Pacific Coast Arena League Tournament-Central Coast Polo
Thank you again for coming down to celebrate with us.

-Gillian Young

All photos by Jeffery Trout.

3rd Annual Woodford Reserve Polo Classic

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Bourbon Chocolate Cherry Pairing

July 13th was a beautiful day for polo at the San Diego Polo Club. Patrons were in for a real treat with our wonderful sponsor Woodford Reserve offering delicious tastings of their Kentucky bourbon. It was a day filled with equestrian fun, including a lovely Pa De Dux Dressage Demo.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Bourbon 5 sources of flavor

Woodford Reserve Bourbon is hand crafted in small batches. This artisanal process allows Woodford Reserve’s all five sources of bourbon flavor to have a distinct taste and crisp, clean finish. Their tasting booth sampled the Woodford Reserve Bourbon paired with dark chocolate and dried cranberries.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Bourbon Tasting

In the first match of the day at 1pm, we had San Fernando vs Twin Palms/San Judas. In the 1st Chukker Roberto Estudillo scored the first goal of the match, followed by Ashton Wolf. Ashton then scored two more goals for Twin Palms/San Judas in the 2nd Chukker followed by one by Eugenio Garza who was subbing for Ramon Richard on Twin Palms/San Judas. In the 3rd Chukker Diego Velarde scored two goals via penalty shots for his team San Fernando. Topo Mendez scored anther as well for Twin Plams/San Judas. At the half time break it was 3-5 in favor of Twin Palms/San Judas.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Tritech-San Fernando

The 4th Chukker, started off with a goal by Diego Cossio, and then one by Diego Velarde, both for San Fernando. Ashton Wolf scored one as well for Twin Palms/San Judas. The 5th saw Diego Cossio again, followed by Chris Maloney scoring 2 more for Twin Palms/San Judas. The excitement got heavy in the 6th and final Chukker as Diego Velarde and Adolpho Ramos for San Fernando. Followed by Topo Mendez scoring anther for Twin Palms/San Judas to bring it to a tie. Chris Maloney scored another for Twin Palms/San Judas to break the tie, but due to a foul, it did not count, sending the match into over time. Diego Velarde finally scored the winning goal for San Fernando in the over time 7th Chukker.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Dressage

During our intermission was a lovely we had a wonderful Pa De Dux. It was a Prix St. Georges level Pas de Deux by Joy Rothe and Sarah Pinney, riding full sister and brother Oldenberg horses Rolex and Rohan. The two horses seemingly danced together to music often mirroring their upper level Dressage movements to match the beat of the music and the rhythm of the horses.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-National Anthem

We had the lovely Christina Peterson a 19 year old local pop singer/songwriter who has performed at Humphrey’s by the Bay, Petco Park, and Qualcomm Stadium. She is a student at San Diego State and also enjoys performing for non-profit organizations such as the Make a Wish Foundation and the American Cancer Society.

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We also had the very talented Jill Courtemanche Millinery showcasing her fabulous hats for people to do a little shopping for their perfect hat. Just in time for Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-First Ball Throw In

Woodford Reserve did the honors of throwing in the ceremonial first ball for the feature match.

The 2nd match of the day at 3pm was between Woodford Reserve and Herradura Tequila. John Eicher started out the first chukker of the match with a goal for Woodford Reserve. Followed up by one by Diego Larreglia. Colton Bancroft then scored one for Herradura Tequila.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Action-Ellen-Greenhill

In the 2nd Chukker Virgil Kyle made another for Woodford Reserve. Graham Bray and Chris Collins also both scored for Herradura Tequila.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Action

For the 3rd Chukker there was another goal scored by Colton Bancroft, followed by Graham Bray. Virgil Kyle scored one for Woodford Reserve. At the half time it was 5-6 in favor of Woodford Reserve.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Action-2

Coming into the 4th Chukker, Herradura Tequila made another 4 goals, two by Colton Bancroft, one by Chris Collins, and one by Graham Bray. In the 5th and 6th Chukkers Graham Bray made another 2 goals and Chris Collins 1 to finish and win the game for Herradura Tequila. The match ended with a total of 7-11 in favor of Herradura Tequila.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Players

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Bourbon Herradura Tequila Winners

Written by Cara Helminski

Photos by Arielle Vey (social) & Matt Bentley (action)

Chambord Vodka Classic 2014 Recap

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Chambord
Sunday, June 29th was another beautiful day here at the San Diego Polo Club– a bright, breezy polo-filled afternoon.  With our fantastic sponsor Chambord Vodka in attendance, we had a festive purple and pink theme to the tents to match their blackberry flavored liqueur and vodka.  Patrons enjoyed tastes of Chambord Vodka & Liqueur while watching the action on the field.

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Chambord tasting

The PEERS Network & Challenged Athletes Foundation were also in attendance as proud supporters of Sunday Polo.

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Chambord Linens
The first match at 1pm between Starmeadow/MonteVerde and Twin Palms/San Judas, started of with a bang when Jennifer Alexy scored the first goal for her team, Twin Palms/San Judas.  Colton Bancroft also scored for Starmeadow/MonteVerde.  The match ended with at Twin Palms/San Judas at 9 and Starmeadow/MonteVerde with 10, taking the win.

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Guests

 

 

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Chambord-VIP-tent

 

Guests of all ages attended the Sunday Polo event, from tailgating to the VIP tent!

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Chambord-guests-divot stomp

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Roberto Estudillo-paint

At intermission we had a fun and informative polo demonstration by Diego Velarde and Diego Larrreglia.  They showed us all some great moves and demonstrated the basic hitting positions and rules, while announcer, Steve Lewandowski broke down the line of the ball and a bit about strategy.

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Anthony Ballard
Anthony Ballard, a long time polo fan and a San Diego resident with 20 plus years of singing, locally and abroad, sang our national anthem beautifully.

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- throw-in-challenged-athletes-foundation

 

 

 

A representative of the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Jeffrey Odom, did the honor of throwing in the first ball. Jeffrey is a former F-16 Crew Chief for the United States Air Force and Captain of Team USA Wheelchair Rugby. The Challenged Athletes Foundation also have a space at the event that showcased how they help those with physical disabilities.

It is the mission of the Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) to provide opportunities and support to people with physical disabilities so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics. CAF believes that involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life.

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Chambord Action
The second match of the day at 3pm was an exciting one with San Fernando vs Team Chambord.  San Fernando dominated, scoring the first 3 goals of the match in the first chukker. The talented John Eicher scored 4 of the 9 goals for his team, Team Chambord.

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- hook

 

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Chambord-action-diego-velardeHowever, San Fernando was still able to capture the win. The match ended with San Fernando at 11 and Team Chambord at 9.

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Roberto Estudillo & mother

San Diego Polo Club Chambord Vodka Classic & Fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation- Chambord divot stomp

 

 

Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration

Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-1 The patriotic spirit was everywhere on Sunday as we enjoyed The Pan American Cup Finals on Sunday July 6th. It was the perfect way to cap off an amazing 4th of July weekend. Red, white and blue was abundant, from our lovely patrons stylish attire, to the tablecloths and trophy decorations.

Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-2In the first match at 1:00pm, Topo Mendez scored the first goal in Chukker 1 for his Team Twin Palms/San Judas. Followed by John Eicher with one for Leisure Society. Then another by Virgil Kyle for Leisure Society and the last by Ashton Wolf for Twin Palms/ San Judas, wrapping up Chukker 1. In Chukker 2 Jennifer Alexy bringing one in for Twin Palms/ San Judas, followed by anther for Leisure Society by John Eicher.

Ryan Robertson finished it off by scoring a goal for Leisure Society in the last chukker, bringing the final score to 11 to 9, Leisure Society.

Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-Oceanside-Police-k9

During our intermission, we had a wonderful demo by The Oceanside Police Canine Officers Association.

San Diego Polo Club Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-Oceanside Police Dog Bite Suit San Diego Polo Club Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-Oceanside Police Dog demonstration

Spectators were on the edge of their seats watching the dogs go through their amazing skills. Demonstrating a variety of tactics to assist their human counterparts in the safe and efficient handing of dangerous situations. Spectators were then invited to enjoy picture ops with the dogs and service men and woman.

Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-oceanside-police

The Oceanside Police Canine Officers Association thanks you for being here this afternoon. Their nonprofit, established by the officers in 2013, bridges the gap for our K9s healthcare, training tools, and retired police dogs.  In the line of duty, sometimes our dogs get injured requiring expensive veterinary care. Their goal is to be able to have funds available for each of our 4 canines should a medical emergency occur. Thanks to donations from our generous community members, their dogs can stay healthy and safe, while they protect and serve.

San Diego Polo Club Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-EMT

We also hosted the Del Mar Lifeguards, Del Mar Ranger, San Diego Fire & Rescue and local EMTs. Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-Del-Mar-Lifeguard-Truck-Tomas-Bryant-2

The Lifeguard Department serves the community with a wide variety of community service programs. The Department staffs permanent and seasonal lifeguards. Lifeguards patrol and oversee 2.5 miles of beach. Each day, lifeguards establish and maintain safe swimming and surfing areas. They warn visitors of dangerous swimming areas, rip currents, and unstable cliffs and bluffs. Environmental conditions are constantly monitored and weather and surf are updated and posted throughout the day. The Del Mar beach has very strong rip-currents and several inshore holes. The department averages 1,400 water-related rescues and 1,100 medical aids per year.

The Lifeguards are highly trained in several areas. Qualifications include being emergency medical technicians with advanced airway and defibrillator accreditation. The department operates year-round cliff, swift water and scuba rescue teams. The Department also cross trains for mutual aid responses with the Aerial Support to Regional Enforcement Agencies (ASTREA) and the United States Coast Guard.

San Diego Polo Club Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-Rihanna

Our national anthem was sung by the lovely, Rhianna Wilson, a 16 years old and just finished her Sophomore year at Ramona High School. She has had the honor to sing the National Anthem for the SD Padres, Ceremonies aboard the USS Midway, KSON Radio and many community events.

San Diego Polo Club Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-Action

The feature match of the day at 3:00pm was between San Fernando and MonteVerde/Starmeadow. The match started with Diego Cossio scoring the first goal of the match for San Fernando in the first Chukker. Followed by one by Diego Velarde and one by Roberto Estudillo. With Chris Collins scoring one for his team MonteVerde/Starmeadow. Followed by Colton Bancroft and Graham Bray coming in to score 4 goals each for MonteVerde/Starmeadow. It was a close game ending with Diego Velarde scoring 3 goals for San Fernando and taking home the win.Pan-American Cup Finals & Local Heroes Celebration-Graham-Bray

Written by Cara Helminski

International and Local Polo Players Kick Off 2014 Season with Opening Day at the San Diego Polo Club

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Opening Day at the San Diego Polo Club reached a record breaking 3,200 attendees on Sunday, June 1, 2014. Polo fans and San Diego socialites flocked to Rancho Santa Fe for two thrilling polo matches, a fashion show, live DJ and plenty of people watching.

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Land Rover of San Diego brought in a fleet of gorgeous 2014 Range Rover Evoques and Range Rover Sports, which was the main focal point during the fashion show & presenting ceremonies.

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The well-dressed attendees enjoyed mingling in the Polo Pavilion presented by Riviera Magazine, watching the match from the VIP tent, toasting champagne glasses in the garden section and bumping into friends in the general admission area.

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Opening-Day-San-Diego-Polo-Club-2014-Drinks

We had a few craft cocktails on draft, including a strawberry rhubarb Woodford Reserve julep and Herradura Tequila Flor de Paloma, two of our favorites. Guests also enjoyed an assortment of spirits, local craft beer, hand selected wines, and of course, champagne!

chef-dawn-parks-wild-thyme-company-opening-day-polo Our Sunday Polo Kitchen is presented by The Wild Thyme Company, offered plates to share (their cheese plate is delicious) or more traditional sandwiches, salads (another favorite is the beet caprese salad) and daily specials.

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Their food is both classic and trendsetting while maintaining the highest standards of culinary excellence with an emphasis on seasonal options. The full menu can be seen online here.

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Land Rover of San Diego’s Sales Guide, Matt Deep threw in the ceremonial first ball to kick off the 7-goal polo match. Team Rancho Santa Fe battled it out against team Del Mar.

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Mia Bray (subbing for Colton Bancroft), Kimo Huddleston (subbing for Ashton Wolf), Graham Bray and Mike Manno made up team Rancho Santa Fe (6-goal team). New to SDPC, Emma Stachowitz, Jennifer Alexy, and John Eicher joined resident player Diego Cossio to make up team Del Mar (7-goal team). Because team Rancho Santa Fe is 1-goal lower than team Del Mar, a point is put on the board in favor or the lesser team.

Things started off slowly in the first half with two points for each team. Both Kimo Huddleston and Mia Bray scored for Rancho Santa Fe. John Eicher and Diego Cossio scored for Del Mar. Mia Bray and Graham Bray both scored  in the second half, pushing their team into the lead. Jennifer Alexy scored one in the 4th chukker and Diego Cossio scored two more in the 5th and 6th chukkers. Although each team scored the same amount of points, Team Rancho Santa Fe was crowned victorious due to the lesser handicap.

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During intermission, Raina Leon Style & Design presented the 2014 Opening Day Fashion show, featuring local boutique, Van de Vort. Sunglasses were provided by another locally owned brand, RAEN. Men’s fashion was sponsored by J.Hillborn.

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After the fashion show, the feature match began with the parade of teams led by Matt and Patrick of Land Rover San Diego. Nationally acclaimed and Grammy Nominated Songtress, Sacha Boutros sang our National Anthem.

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Sacha impressed the crowd with her amazing vocals.

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Riviera Magazine’s partners threw in the first ball to kick off the 3pm match.

The 3pm match was between sponsors Woodford Reserve and Herradura Tequila. Ellen Greenhill, David Samaniego, Christopher Collins Jr, and SDPC president, Chris Collins made up team Woodford Reserve. Ramon Richard, Roberto Estudillo, Diego Velarde and Topo Mendez made up team Herradura Tequila.

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The first chukker started off hot with 3 goals on the board for Woodford Reserve, scored by David Samaniego (2) and Christopher Collins Jr (1). Both Ramon Richard and Diego Velarde scored for team Herradura. Christopher Collins Jr. kept up the momentum by scoring an additional two in the second chukker. Topo Mendez scored 1 for his team. By the 3rd chukker, the score was 6 to 4 in favor of Woodford Reserve.

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During half time, guests were encouraged to step onto the grass for the traditional champagne divot stomp presented by Korbel California Champagne.

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Flutes of Korbel Brut Champagne and Korbel Rose Champagne were served from the backs of four beautiful Land Rover Evoques by our Van de Vort models.

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Team Herradura Tequila increased their defensive strategy and didn’t allow team Woodford Reserve to score any in the 4th chukker, while Diego Velarde put one through the goal posts. In fact, their defense was so effective, team Woodford Reserve was not able to score for the remainder of the game. Team Herradura Tequila kept posession of the ball. Ramon Richard scored another goal and Diego Velarde scored two more for his team. Diego Velarde had the most goals on the afternoon: 5. Team Herradura Tequila beat Woodford Reserve 8 to 6.

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Publisher of Riviera Magazine, Jessica Cline, joins winning team Herradura Tequila on the trophy deck to present trophies.

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Sponsor, Armando Flores of Charco Design & Build poses with team Herradura Tequila before giving away an authentic Woodford Reserve polo jersey to a lucky fan.

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2014-Opening-Day-San-Diego-Polo-Club-Men-womens-Fashion 2014-Opening-Day-San-Diego-Polo-Club-Women-FashionWith a San Diego’s beautiful people, it’s no wonder Opening Day at the San Diego Polo Club is such a fashionable affair.

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DJ Here kept the party going by spinning beats until dusk.

Although we celebrated Opening Day at the San Diego Polo Club on June 1, the fun doesn’t stop. Join us every Sunday until the end of September for action-packed polo and family-friendly fun! See the schedule for more details.

USPA Spreckels Cup Finals & Closing Day

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Doesn’t it seem like Opening Day was just yesterday?  Time flies when you’re having fun!

On Friday, September 27, Twin Palms/San Fernando played Starmeadow/Monteverde for the chance to play on Sunday in the Spreckels Cup Finals.  Starmeadow/Monteverde beat Twin Palms/San Fernando 12 to 9 and confirmed their match against Hanalei Bay the following Sunday.

The 2013 San Diego Polo Summer Season came to an end on Sunday, September 29, 2013 with the USPA Spreckels Cup Finals.  In addition to the USPA Spreckels Finals, over 1,000 attendees enjoyed equestrian entertainment, an opportunity drawing to benefit Prince Harry’s charity, Sentebale, and After Party presented by Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach.

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We started the day with the Sundance Hills Drill Team, a group of six dedicated riders who put hours into meeting, practicing and perfecting their patterns and routines.

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The Santa Fe Hunt/West Hills Hounds is a Masters of Fox Hounds Association, MFHA, recognized Hunt located in Temecula, in southern California. They are a diverse group of riders, brought together by love of horses, open spaces, country values and riding with a fine pack of foxhounds as they work a scent.  They came out with about a dozen riders and hounds.

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Land Rover of San Diego and Porsche of San Diego had a fleet of luxury automobiles, including the 2014 Porsche Panamera.  Last Closing Day, president Ron Bonaguidi purchased a 2013 Range Rover from Land Rover of San Diego.  Ron said Jason Puga, owner of Land Rover of San Diego, is a great business man and he’ll never purchase another Range Rover from any other dealership.  His service is incredible and affordable.

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Danielle Pizorni, San Diego opera singer, blew us away with her rendition of the National Anthem.

joe-allisJoe Allis of Porsche of San Diego threw in the ceremonial first ball.  In the history of Spreckels Cup finals, there has never been a match so exciting and evenly matched as Sunday’s.  With 8 chukkers and at least 5 broken mallets, the competition was one of the best we’ve ever seen here in San Diego.

Hanalei Bay                 vs.              Starmeadow/Monteverde

Krista Bonaguidi (-1)                       Ellen Greenhill (-1)
Ashton Wolf (3)                               Colton Bancroft (0)
Mariano Fassetta (6)                       Martin Ravina (5)
David Samaniego (0)                      Graham Bray (4)

Sunday afternoon was the perfect San Diego summer day with 75 degree weather and slight ocean breeze.  Hanalei Bay and Starmeadow/Monteverde took the field, as Owner of Porsche of San Diego, Joe Allis threw in the ceremonial first ball.

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Graham Bray started the first chukker by scoring the first point on the afternoon for Starmeadow/Monteverde.  David Samaniego also took a great shot and scored one for Hanalei in the first chukker.  Teammate, Mariano Fassetta also scored two beautiful shots.  Martin Ravina scored 2 (one penalty) and Bray scored another for Starmeadow/Monteverde, bringing the score to 4 to 3.

Krista-Ellen

Things heated up for Starmeadow/Monteverde in the second chukker, as Martin Ravina scored an additional 3 goals for his team.  Krista Bonaguidi, first lady and owner of Hanalei Bay took a penalty shot for the team and scored!

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In the third chukker, goals went back and forth, 3 for Hanalei Bay, 2 for Starmeadow/Monteverde, bringing the score to 9 to 7, Starmeadow/Monteverde in the lead.

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As if the tension wasn’t enough, during the first minute of fourth chukker, Martin Ravina was given a red flag and pulled out of the game for the remainder of the chukker.  Colton Bancroft scored one, but opposing team, Hanalei Bay used this time to catch up and Mariano Fassetta scored two for his team.

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Hanalei Bay should have been able to dominate the scoreboard, but with fouls called, and time running out in the chukker, Starmeadow was able to hold on to the narrow margin, going into the 5th chukker with a full squad of players.  The time on the bench gave Ravina that extra push needed to make the game competitive going into the remaining chukkers.

ravina

In the 5th chukker, Mariano Fassetta scored one for Hanalei and Martin Ravina scored one for Starmeadow/Monteverde.  The finals of the USPA Spreckels Cup couldn’t have been more exciting and all the guests were on the edge of their seats, some standing in the VIP tent, tense with anticipation.

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In the 6th chukker, Martin Ravina scored another for his team, bringing them ahead by one point.  With 30 seconds left in the match, Mariano Fassetta put one through, tying the game and taking it into over time.

The 7th chukker was a tough one.  Hanalei Bay’s Ashton Wolf had to call a time out due to lack of feeling in his hand and severe cramping.  At this point in the game, the horses were exhausted, the players just as tired.  At the beginning of the match, the players came on to the field, ready to fight for the win and prepared to expend every ounce of energy.  That energy was running out.  The play resumed and each team was able to defend their goals.  With less than a minute left in the 7th chukker, Colton Bancroft made a beautiful break away and, unfortunately, overshot a cut shot that would have been the most glorious win for Starmeadow/Monteverde. The 7th chukker ended, the match still tied.

penalty

In the beginning of the 8th chukker, Colton made a second break away and all eyes were on him.  The ball went over the line and out of play.  Shortly after, eyes fell on his teammate, Graham Bray, who was on the ground.  Not many saw it happen, but Bray’s horse clipped the back of Ashton Wolf‘s horse and fell, exhausted, throwing Graham Bray to the ground, knocking the wind out of him.  Graham is one of the toughest players in San Diego, and when he’s on the ground for more than a few seconds, it’s serious.  Bray stayed on the ground for a few minutes, barely moving his legs.  After consultation from the EMT and fellow players, Graham Bray slowly rose, walked around, and mounted a fresh horse.  The play went back and forth for a minute and the ball was left in a cluster right near the Starmeadow/Monteverde goal mouth.  Mariano Fassetta’s horse started dancing around and they should have gotten out of there immediately.  A foul was called on Hanalei Bay’s David Samaniego and Martin Ravina took an undefended penalty shot, winning the USPA Spreckels Cup Finals for Starmeadow/Monteverde.  Both teams played an unbelievable game and made Spreckels Cup history as one of the most competitive games of all.

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Winners of the USPA Spreckels Cup Tournament: Starmeadow/Monteverde

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Member, Joe Cuillo and his daughter.

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Gatsby-inspired guests stomp divots during the Korbel California Champagne Divot Stomp!

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The Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach presented the After Party and guests rocked out to Crush Effect DJ and live trombone and drums.

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Player, Mercedes Mafara and her friends celebrate the end of the season.  Mercedes won Most Improved Player, and her group won Gastby Best Dressed!

Thank you to our sponsors, players, members, fans, and staff for an amazing Closing Day and 2013 Summer Polo Season!  We’ll see you in June 2014.