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.
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.
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.
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.
Danielle Pizorni, San Diego opera singer, blew us away with her rendition of the National Anthem.
Joe 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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Member, Joe Cuillo and his daughter.
Gatsby-inspired guests stomp divots during the Korbel California Champagne Divot Stomp!
The Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach presented the After Party and guests rocked out to Crush Effect DJ and live trombone and drums.
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.