Tag Archives: Gaston Von Wernich

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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Willis Allen Memorial Cup Finals

What a day!  Not only did we have fantastic Polo in San Diego on Sunday afternoon, but we had a handful of wonderful sponsors.  Giving Back Magazine hosted their 3rd annual “Day of Polo” tournament and raised money to benefit the San Diego Symphony and San Diego Opera.

1pm Match: Trinity vs. Southwind/Adeptus- 8-goal polo

Trinity:
Rick Paicius 0
Patrick Uretz 1
Jared Sheldon 1
Mariano Gutierrez 5

Southwind/Adeptus:
Colleen Wilson 0
Mike Kerley 3
Pedro Orellano 4
Chris Collins 1

Starting off the day, we had Southwind/Adeptus vs. Trinity featured in the 1pm game.  Trinity was up by 3 at the end of the second chukker, but Pedro Orellano scored 3 in the 3rd chukker, bringing the score to 7 to 6, Trinity.

Chris Collins played great defense in the second half, keeping the ball out of the Southwind/Adeptus goal.  At the end of the 5th chukker, Trinity was up 9 to 8.  Mariano Gutierrez scored another for Trinity in the 6th chukker, bringing them up to 10.  Chris Collins scored and Pedro Orellano scored to tie up the game, 10 to 10.

Our very own founding member and patrona, Colleen Wilson, had a break away with just a couple seconds left and scored the winning goal for Southwind/Adeptus!

Meanwhile, guests bid on the silent auction items and drank Mai Tais in the CitiBank Lounge.

The San Diego Symphony played a live parade march to welcome in the two competing teams.

Next up, a representative from the San Diego Opera blew us away with the National Anthem.

3pm Feature Match and Willis Allen Memorial Cup Finals: Starmeadow vs. Tritech/San Judas

Tritech/San Judas:
Ramon Richard -1
Ashton Wolf 3
Gaston VonWernich 5
Chris Maloney 1

Starmeadow:
Jessica Bailey 1
Jesse Bray 3
Graham Bray 5
Joy Bancroft -1

After Alisha Wray’s fall a couple of weeks ago, Ramon Richard stepped up to the plate and took her place on Tritech/Princeps, now renamed, Tritech/San Judas.  Alisha is doing well and attending the matches, but taking time to heal.


Although this is only 8-goal polo, it sure feels like 12-goal.  Jesse Bray started off hot with 2 goals in the first chukker for Starmeadow.  Gaston VonWernich matched his two goals in the second chukker and added a few more in the second half of the match.  Also in the second chukker, Graham Bray had a beautiful back shot near the goal line that barely made it through the goal posts.

Ramon Richard of Tritech/San Judas had two very important goals in the 3rd and 5th chukkers, which were very instrumental in the win.

Jesse Bray continued to knock them in, tallying up 7 goals total.

We had a couple of falls, 2 from Ashton Wolf and 1 from Gaston VonWernich.  The crowd was spooked when Gaston and his horse, Fleur, fell.  Sure enough, the horse just got the wind knocked out of her and got right back up.  The horse is healthy and we are all very thankful Gaston and Fleur are doing okay.  Although Ashton’s ribs are a bit bruised, that didn’t stop him from playing his best.

In the 6th chukker, the match was 10 to 9, Tritech/San Judas on top.  Jesse Bray sailed the ball into the air during a penalty shot, but missed it by inches.  His second penalty shot was deflected by Ashton Wolf’s mallet.  In the 3rd penalty shot, Jesse missed it again, by centimeters!  Time ran out before Starmeadow had a chance to score, leaving the win to Trinity/ San Judas!

Gaston Von Wernich‘s horse, Fleur, won Best Playing Pony.

Runner’s up received gift bags from Giving Back Magazine and South Coast Plaza.  Jesse Bray won MVP.

Tritech/San Judas won the Willis Allen Memorial Cup.  After taking lessons in the arena and graduating to grass polo last year, Ramon Richard was thrilled to be a part of the winning team.  He celebrated with dousing his teammates in Veuve Cliquot Champagne.

Trophies were presented by Tiffany & Co. of Fashion Valley.

Danitza Villanueva of Giving Back Magazine, Ramon Richard and his wife Virgina Calero, Ashton Wolf, Gaston VonWernich, Chris Collins, grandson of Willis Allen, Chris Maloney, Peggy Stevenson of Tiffany & Co., Esteban Villanueva of Giving Back Magazine, and Gaston’s children.

Meet Gaston Von Wernich.

A native of Argentina, Gaston Von Wernich grew up on a farm about 3 hours west of Buenos Aires. Gaston came from a home of polo players, and he learned to play from his uncle–a skilled, 10-goal player who lived close by.  He has been playing in San Diego for a handful of years with Chris Maloney.

To prepare for competition, Gaston employs a few simple tactics: he makes sure to ride early in the morning and, before any match, he makes sure to focus his mind entirely upon the game.

He enjoys being with his family and drinking maté with his friends in the barn.  Thus far, the highlight of his polo career was winning the Spreckels Cup in 2007 with his brother and Chris Maloney.

Gaston’s long term polo goals are to continue to compete professionally and, one day, to play alongside his sons.