SDPC Teams Up with Miracle Babies for UPSA’s National Youth Tournament Series & Sunday Polo

White Party 2014

The San Diego Polo Club is excited to announce its recent partnership with Miracle Babies, a non-profit dedicated to providing education, support, and financial assistance to families with newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

On Sunday, August 31 from 12:30-7pm, guests are invited to a day of polo, including the USPA’s National Youth Tournament Series, the USPA Rossmore Cup Finals, dressage, charitable giving, music and fun at the San Diego Polo Club, located at 14555 El Camino Real, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067.

Originally known as The Polo Association, the United States Polo Association, or USPA, was created in 1890 to govern polo handicaps, rules, and tournaments in America and Canada. The U.S. Polo Association 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.

The National Youth Tournament Series began in 2013 and the main objective for the program since the beginning was to create more opportunities for youth to play against they peers. But so much more has come out of it. NYTS is a training module that prepares youth for formal tournament competition. It challenges players to get to know their team and identify their opponents strengths and weaknesses.

Kids from all over the United States compete locally at their home clubs to qualify for the National Tournament Series. The San Diego Polo Club is honored to host this national tournament and the championship games.

USPA-NYTS-San DiegoQualifiers for National Youth Tournament Series Championships – Team San Diego: Colton, Zander, Austin and Molly.

Teams from all over the country will travel to San Diego to compete in the last few championship matches, beginning on Friday, August 29. The highly anticipated finals of the USPA’s National Youth Tournament Series will be held at 1:00pm in front of the Sunday Polo crowd.

Donna-Richardson-dressage

After the NYTS Championship game, guests will enjoy “Dancing with the Equine Stars,” a pas de deux with two upper level Lusitano dressage horses by Donna Richardson.

SDPC-USPA-Rossmore-Cup-2013Winners of 2013 USPA’s Rossmore Cup: Adeptus

At 3:00pm, we will host the finals to the USPA Rossmore Cup, one of two USPA sanctioned tournaments held at the San Diego Polo Club.

garden-seatingMiracle Babies invites attendees to celebrate polo and the fine work of the charity. Multiple ticket options are available from $12-125 per person. The Miracle Babies Pavilion event price includes delicious fare from Wild Thyme Catering and one free drink ticket after which there will be a no-host bar available for the afternoon (21+ ID required at check-in).

“We’re truly honored to be the beneficiary of this prestigious event and celebration,” said Sean Daneshmand, M.D., founder of Miracle Babies. “Many mothers of premature or critically ill newborns are financially unable to be at the hospital with their babies every day,” he said. “We founded Miracle Babies to provide support and financial assistance to parents who find themselves in such situations.”

istock-Miracle-Babies---photoMiracle Babies, founded by Dr. Sean Daneshmand and based in San Diego, is a non-profit organization structured to provide education and financial support to families with newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Its mission is to provide financial assistance and support to families in need with newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit. For additional information, please visit www.miraclebabies.org.

Suggested attire: White or light colors to celebrate Labor Day!

For more information and to purchase tickets for the USPA National Youth Tournament, USPA Rossmore Cup Finals & Miracle Babies Fundraiser, please click here.

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.

San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-group San Diego Polo Club Woodford Reserve Polo Classic Event-Step-Repeat

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)

Our Favorite Hats for Opening Day at the Del Mar Races!

With Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack just around the corner, there is still time to get fitted for a stunning hat. Jill Courtemanche Millnery will be at the San Diego Polo Club this Sunday, July 13 from 1-5pm displaying tons of her gorgeous hats and facinators. She even has hats and bowties for men! We love TRUNK SHOWS!

Del Mar Racetrack Opening Day Jill Courtemanche Millnery San Diego Polo Club Hat Butterflies

Whimsical and fun this wide brimmed picture hat in an open weave straw trimmed with feathers and butterflies is a perfect statement piece.

Del Mar Racetrack Opening Day Jill Courtemanche Millnery San Diego Polo Club Peach Hat
This soft blush hat is a perfect wide brim for more petite ladies. It is larger side to side than front to back so it does not overwhelm. Trimmed with silk organza, feathers and straw it is soft and feminine.

Del Mar Racetrack Opening Day Jill Courtemanche Millnery San Diego Polo Club Perfect Black Facinator
This is the little black dress of fascinators! It is on a headband so it is easy to wear and the feathers add the perfect amount of fun.
Del Mar Racetrack Opening Day Jill Courtemanche Millnery San Diego Polo Club Hat Headband black purple

This platter style fascinator rides the line between hat and headband perfectly. With silk organza, ostrich plumes and silk flower petals it packs a big entrance into a small package.

Del Mar Racetrack Opening Day Jill Courtemanche Millnery San Diego Polo Club Silk Asymetric Cloche
This small asymmetric cloche is perfect for a longer face or petite frames. Trimmed with silk organza flowers it’s fun for the races or a day of polo.

Del Mar Racetrack Opening Day Jill Courtemanche Millnery San Diego Polo Club Oversized Brim Breakfast at Tiffanys

This oversized down brim is a perfect race day hat. The shape channels Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the trim is modern and fun feathers and silk organza.

Come on by the San Diego Polo Club this Sunday, July 13 from 1-5pm to shop for your gorgeous new hat (or bowtie), watch two exciting polo matches and enjoy the day with Woodford Reserve!

Right now, if you purchase a VIP ticket to the Woodford Reserve Classic this Sunday, July 13, we’ll give you admission tickets to the Del Mar Races (valid any day including Opening Day)! Plus, the Woodford Reserve Classic is one of those really fun polo tournaments you don’t want to miss! Hope to see you there.

All hats by Jill Courtemanche Millnery
410 South Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach, CA 92075
+1 858 876 6353 or info@jillcourtemanche.com

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

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

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.

Opening-Day-2014-San-Diego-Polo-Club-Ramon-Richard

 

Opening-Day-2014-San-Diego-Polo-Club-Land-Rover

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.

2014-Opening-Day-San-Diego-Polo-Club-Riviera-Magazine-Kathy-Wright-French-Layout
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.

Opening-Day-2014-San-Diego-Polo-Club-Kathy-Wright-Riviera

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.

2014-Opening-Day-San-Diego-Polo-Club-Riviera-Magazine-Wild-Thyme

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.

Opening-Day-2014-San-Diego-Polo-Club-First-Ball-Throw-In-Land-Rover

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.

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

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.

Opening-Day-San-Diego-Polo-Club-2014-crowd Opening-Day-San-Diego-Polo-Club-2014-crowds

 

Opening-Day-San-Diego-Polo-Club-2014-van-de-vort

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.

Opening-Day-2014-San-Diego-Polo-Club-Van-De-Vort-Fashion-Show

 

Opening-Day-San-Diego-Polo-Club-2014-Sacha_Boutros-National-Athem

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.

Opening-Day-San-Diego-Polo-Club-2014-Throw-In-Soethbys

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.

Opening-Day-San-Diego-Polo-Club-2014-action-2

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.

Opening-Day-2014-San-Diego-Polo-Club-Korbel-Champagne-Divot-Stomp

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.