MIAMI BEACH, Fl., April 27, 2019-–The stage is set for Saturday’s semifinal showdown in the World Polo League Beach Polo Miami Beach Cup at Collins Park.

With the glistening Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop, opening day action in the world’s largest beach polo tournament lived up to expectations during a full day of exciting polo on ideal surface conditions.

Four teams: Flexjet, Peroni, Speedart Motorsports and U.S. Polo Assn. remain in contention for the coveted WPL Beach Polo Miami Beach Cup. 

In the opening game, Peroni (Sarah Siegel Magness, 0, Jesse Bray, 6, Jason Crowder, 7) overcame a slow start to defeat The Setai (Rommy Gianni, 2, Juan Cruz Greguoli, 5, Pedro Soria, 6), 6-4, in windy conditions.

After falling behind in the opening chukker, 2-0, Peroni bounced back with a 4-1 chukker behind Bray’s three goals to lead 4-3 at the half. Peroni never trailed after that.

Bray scored a game-high four goals and Crowder added two goals. Greguoli and Soria each had two goals for The Setai.

In the second game, Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, 1, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 8, Wes Finlayson, 4) looked impressive with a 13-8 victory over Fiji (Sebastian Schneberger, 2, Santos Bollini, 2, Pablo Dorignac, 7).

Flexjet jumped out to a 5-1 lead and never relinquished its lead. Flexjet led 7-3 at half and 10-5 after three chukkers.

Novillo Astrada scored a game-high six goals, Finlayson had four goals and Melissa Ganzi had three goals including one off her steal. Dorignac led Fiji with four goals. 

In the third game, U.S. Polo Assn. (Grant Ganzi, 3, Juancito Bollini, 4, Carlitos Gracida, 5) also overcame a slow opening chukker to defeat Italkraft (Diego Urrutia, 0, Pablo Spinacci, 7, Juan Bollini, 6), 7.5-5.

Italkraft gave U.S. Polo Assn. young stars everything they could handle before Bollini got hot in the fourth chukker. Leading 4.5-4, U.S. Polo Assn. outscored Italkraft, 3-1, behind Bollini’s three goals. Bollini finished with a game-high five goals. Spinacci had four goals for Italkraft.

In the fourth and final game, Speedart Motorsports (Marc Ganzi, 2, Nic Roldan, 8, Tito Gaudenzi, 3) had no problem defeating World Polo League (Vinny Sangaline, Gussie Busch, 2, Kris Kampsen, 9), 8-4.

Speedart Motorsports started off strong with a 2-1 opening chukker and never trailed pulling away 5-2 at the half and 8-3 after three chukkers. Roldan led scoring with five goals. Ganzi added three goals. Busch and Juan Bollini each had two for World Polo League.

On Saturday, four games are again scheduled. The first two games will determine teams for the Barbados Cup. In the opening game at 11:45 p.m., Italkraft will play World Polo League in the opening semifinal and at 1 p.m. The Setai plays Fiji.

The World Polo League Beach Polo Miami Beach Cup finalists will be determined in the last two semifinal games of the afternoon. 

At 2:15 p.m., Peroni plays Flexjet and at 3:30 p.m. Speedart Motorsports plays U.S. Polo Assn. The winners advance into Sunday’s championship final.

The tournament wraps up Sunday with the Barbados Cup, Neiman Marcus Cup, Speedart Cup and WPL Beach Polo Miami Beach Cup final. 

The Neiman Marcus Cup at 1:30 p.m. will feature a charity game between Give Back For Special Equestrians featuring Argentine super model Ines Rivero, former University of Miami and New York Giants player Jeremy Shockey and a pro polo player against the Museum of Polo Hall of Fame featuring WPLG Local 10 News Miami broadcaster Louis Aguirre, actor Sterling Jones and a pro polo player.

Swiss polo visionary Reto Gaudenzi, the founder of the Snow Polo World Cup in St. Moritz and several other tournaments, created the Beach Polo World Cup in 2005, one year after beach polo was introduced in Dubai, and hosted the South Beach event through 2008.

Gaudenzi’s son, Tito Gaudenzi of Lifestyle Companies, resurrected the event last year successfully along with WPL co-founders Melissa and Marc Ganzi.  Wellington-based Grand Champions is host polo club.

Last year’s winner was La Martina (Riley Ganzi, Jesse Bray, Juan Bollini), 5-4.5 over Macallan (Sarah Siegel Magness, Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan) in the La Martina Cup final. 

General admission to the competition and adjacent Retail Village is complimentary. Concessions will be available for purchase. VIP tickets are also available.

Gaudenzi’s Lifestyle Companies is one of the leaders in organizing top events around the world including Switzerland, Germany, France, Azerbaijan and Russia.

For more information on the tournament and accompanying events, visit www.miamipolocup.com.

Grand Champions and Santa Rita Polo Farm is the largest and most unique polo facility in Wellington with 120 stalls in five self-contained barns, exercise track, five climate-controlled tack rooms, vet room, staff quarters, guest house and three polo fields with state-of-the-art underground irrigation including one field for stick-and-ball with plans to build more polo fields in the future.

Grand Champions Polo Club and Santa Rita Polo Farm caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels and ages. Its’ expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires in addition to lessons and practice sessions as part of its’ Polo On Demand program, created by Grand Champions President Melissa Ganzi when the club first opened in 2007.

The Polo School, a stand-alone USPA-sanctioned polo club, is dedicated to teaching polo to all ages, particularly grass roots youth. Its mission is to provide individuals opportunities in polo at every economic and ability level. Scholarships are available. The Polo School operates in Wellington January through May and September through November. Headed by Director of Operations Juan Bollini, The Polo School has nurtured several men and women polo players now playing in the pro and amateur ranks since its inception.

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