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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Herradura Cup

This past Sunday, September 16th marked Mexican Independence Day and we celebrated with the Herradura Cup hosted by San Diego Polo Club’s season sponsor Brown-Forman.  Guests were treated with tastings and drinks featuring Herradura Tequila, made from 100% naturally fermented agave and crafted authentically in haciendas since 1870.  The atmosphere of the spirited afternoon was complete with a twelve-piece Mariachi band from Chula Vista.

Ed Carias, Tequila Marketing Manager of Brown-Forman, conducted trophy presentations. The first place team of the classic was awarded with Herradura Reposado and the second place team was given Herradura Silver.  Reposado is aged for nine months longer than its category standard giving the liquor a rich copper hue and a decadently smooth taste.  Herradura Silver is the ideal ingredient for the ultimate margarita as it is a delectable amalgamation of citrus and agave flavors.

Sunday also served as an appreciation day for UC Alumni from all over the state. In addition, SDPC also played host to Miss San Diego and Miss County of San Diego, Anna Mason who delivered a beautiful performance of the National Anthem.  Barbara Jacobs, owner of Edison in Los Angeles, carried out the first ball throw in and hosted guests in the Herradura Pavilion.  Musical performances on Polo Sunday included the talented David Maldonado.

The first match of the Herradura Classic was a ten-goal match featuring team Trinity versus Team Hanalei Bay.  Santiego Trotz of team Hanalei Bay started off the match with the first goal of the game scored on behalf of Hanalei Bay.  Trotz’s point was soon followed by an additional goal for Hanalei scored by young player, Patrick Uretz.  Team Trinity was unable to answer Hanalei’s lead and the first chukker came to a close with team Trinity: 0, Hanalei Bay: 2.

The second chukker proceeded the first chukker in much the same manner.  Santiego Trotz proved himself to be Hanalei Bay’s MVP going on to score an additional two goals followed by a goal on behalf of Marcos Bignoli.  While Hanalei Bay was able to advance their lead by three goals, team Trinity closed the second chukker unable to score a goal on Hanalei.

Team Trinity took advantage of the third and fourth chukkers to make their move scoring their first two goals of the match by Rick Paicius and Artie Cameron.  The fourth chukker ended Trinity: 2, Hanalei Bay: 8.

Team Trinity utilized successful defense tactics in the fifth chukker preventing team Hanalei from scoring.   Mariano Gutierrez and Tim Rudy rose to the occasion scoring Trinity a goal apiece.  The fifth chukker ended at Trinity: 4, Hanalei: 8.

In the sixth and final chukker of the match, team Trinity fought for the win engaging Hanalei in an intense shoot out demonstrating excellent athleticism and teamwork.  Patrick Uretz of Hanalei scored the first goal of the chukker quickly answered by Rick Paicius of team Trinity.  Tim Rudy went on to advance Trinity by a point only to be returned by a goal on behalf of Marcos Bignoli. Ultimately, it was Mariano Gutierrez of team Trinity that scored the final goal of the chukker giving Hanalei Bay the win with a total of 10 points to Trinity’s 7.

The second match of the day was the tournament’s ten goal finals featuring Tequila Herradura (Twin Palms/StarMeadow) versus Hanalei Bay.  This match was an engrossing one as the score board reached some of the highest numbers of the season.  Gaston VonWernich of team Tequila Herradura scored the first goal of the game quickly answered by Jared Sheldon of Team Hanalei.  Both teams were matched for skill as reflected in the score at the end of the first chukker, Tequila Herradura: 2, Hanalei: 2.

While Tequila Herradura started off the match strong, they fell silent in the second and third chukkers as team Hanalei took to the offensive.  Both Mariano Fassetta and Chris Collins Jr. proved them selves to be valuable assets for Hanalei scoring a goal each in both the second and third chukker.  Going into the fourth chukker, the score was Tequila Herradura: 2, Hanalei: 7.

The fourth chukker was an impressive exhibition of talent as both teams refused to give the other any leeway.  Mariano Fassetta started off the chukker with a goal for Hanalei Bay sparking a charge on goal for Tequila Herradura who scored two points on behalf of Gaston VonWernich and Chris Maloney.  Ultimately, both teams were neck-in-neck throughout the fourth chukker scoring three goals apiece wrapping up the chukker with Tequila Herradura: 5, Hanalei bay: 10.

The fifth chukker proved to be the most riveting yet.  While Gaston VonWernich single handedly scored two goals for Tequila Herradura, Mariano Fassetta was ignited scoring three consecutive goals for Hanalei followed by an additional goal by Chris Maloney Jr. Going into the sixth and final chukker, the score was Tequila Herradura: 7, Hanalei Bay: 14.

In a surprising turn of events, Twin Palms took advantage of the sixth chukker to silence Hanalei Bay, making one final attempt at the win.  While team Hanalei failed to score a single goal in the sixth chukker, Colton Bancroft, Graham Bray, and Gaston VonWernich scored a goal each wrapping up the chukker at Tequila Herradura: 10, Hanalei Bay: 14.

If you missed the fun this past Sunday, join us this weekend for the USPA Spreckels Cup hosted by Giving Back Magazine.  The match will benefit the San Diego Symphony and the San Diego Opera.  The Spreckles Cup is held annually in commemoration of John D. Spreckels who first discovered polo in the late 1800’s.  The first Spreckels Cup was inaugurated in 1909 and, since it rediscovery in 1988, has been played for and revered ever since.