Monthly Archives: January 2019

January NYTS Championship to Antelope

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The January 26th and 27th  National Youth Tournament Series tournament featured four youth polo teams playing a fast and very exciting brand of polo. All four games were played on field number four – the Cantina field – which provided a perfect locale to showcase the youthful talent and ability that currently exists.

Day one’s first game highlighted Antelope (Grant Palmer, Hope Kerley, Ryan Kerley, Jazmine Trotz) versus Bush League (Quin Kyle, Riley Jordan, Elise Pardue, Micaela Saracco) with Antelope emerging as the winners.

The second game on opening day featured Empire (Athena Malin, Ian Schnoebelin, Alyssa Garcia, Grace/Rose Gonzalez) and Seattle Polo (Bayne Bossom, Colby Smith, Lars Neuman, Charlize Bisogni). Seattle Polo prevailed to advance to the Sunday final.

Sunday’s competition saw Bush League stop Empire in the Consolation final by a score of 4 – 2 and the Championship went to Antelope with a 5 – 4 victory over Seattle Polo.

In NYTS tradition, seven All-Stars were selected in alphabetical order; Bayne Bossom, Riley Jordan, Hope Kerley, Ryan Kerley, Athena Malin, Grant Palmer, Ian Schnoebelin.

December, owned, trained, and played by Bossom , was selected as the Best Playing Pony.

Tony Gregg

Cotterel Farms Wins Officer’s Cup 4 Goal

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The final game of the USPA Coachella Valley Officer’s Cup featured Thermal (Reg Whyte, David Carlson, Ernesto Ezcurra 2, Felipe Sordelli 2) lining up against Cotterel Farms (Jenny Luttrell-Benardoni .5, Francisco Benardoni 1.5, Mike Kerley 1, Gabriel Saccullo 1).

Thermal came into the decider undefeated for the entire month and, as well, World Gym champions – playing as Ocean Air – while Cotterel qualified in a shootout after a so-so World Gym Tournament.

From the outset, it appeared as if Thermal’s hold on their perfect status might be in jeopardy as Cotterel outscored the unconquered foursome to lead at the end of the first at 2 – 1.

The second was scoreless and it was now obvious that Cotterel had figured out the previously successful Thermal offense and were able to keep it at bay.

Cotterel maintained their slight advantage as scoring was even in the third at one apiece. The final had indeed turned into a defensive battle with the Idahoans leading at 3 – 2.

Scoring in the fourth was, once again, even at one and the final count was 4 – 3 to favor Cotterel and they became the Officer’s Cup champions.

Cotterel scoring featured Kerley with a pair, and Benardoni and Sacullo with one each.

For Thermal, Ezcurra scored twice and Sordelli provided one.

Benardoni’s aggressive play was rewarded with his selection as the MVP and Alba, owned by Erik Wright and played by Ezcurra in the third was chosen as the Best Playing Pony.

Tony Gregg

Bush League/FMB Turn Around to Win Officer’s Cup

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The start of the first January 8 Goal Tournament (Jason Memorial) did not go well for the Bush League/Farmers and Merchants Bank entry (Virgil Kyle, Danny Walker 2, Henry Walker 2, Ulysses Escapite 4) as they finished at the bottom.

Of course, the early season can be somewhat difficult as players who haven’t played together become accustomed to each other and horses haven’t reached midseason form. Whatever the reason was for the new combination’s issues, they were mitigated for the second tournament – the USPA Coachella Valley Officer’s Cup.

The final, played on an absolutely perfect afternoon with a temperature of 77 degrees and in front of a large crowd, would feature the rejuvenated group and undefeated Antelope (Geoff Palmer, Grant Palmer, Santiago Trotz 5, Jimmy Wright 3). The pronghorns, however, were the team that Bush League/FMB still had an issue with – the result of a loss in qualifying play.

The Officer’s final started off with good scoring opportunities for both teams but the only goal came off the mallet of Geoff Palmer converting a penalty number two  offering and Antelope was up by one at 1 – 0.

The second was all Bush League/FMB as Danny Walker scored three open goal awards along with a field goal and Escapite counted from the field as well. Trotz got one for the pronghorns and it appeared that the money men might be on their way as they led 5 – 2.

With Trotz masterminding the lineup, Antelope scored three times in the third – Geoff Palmer, Trotz, and Wright) as Bush League/FMB was able to counter with just one – Escapite – and the second period lead was now just one at 6 – 5 going to the half.

Antelope drew even in the fourth as Trotz counted a field goal to tie the count at six with no reply from the financiers. It appeared that the undefeated Palmer group could very well stay that way – not.

Whatever was said in the Bush League/FMB huddle between the fourth and fifth chukkers will never be known but to say it worked would be a gross understatement. The orange and white shirts came out and absolutely dominated with four goals – two from the field by Danny Walker, a penalty number one, and an open goal counter by Walker as a result of a perfect set-up – from Escapite – on the free shot from center after the number one call. Going to the final period Bush League/FMB led by four 10 – 6.

Sensing a victory – and a halt to the Antelope winning streak – the leaders did not slow down as enormous pressure allowed Walker to convert another open goal chance and Escapite counted  from the field to now lead by six. As if it mattered, Wright scored for Antelope to come within five and it was over at 12 – 7. Bush League/FMB became the champions and at the same time handed Antelope their first loss of 2019.

Because of his very aggressive play and his ability to deliver and set up when needed, Henry Walker was selected as the Most Valuable Player to his team and Martina – owned by and played by Trotz in the fourth – was awarded the Best Playing Pony blanket.

Tony Gregg

USPA Coachella Valley Officer’s Cup 8 Goal

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LAZY 3 (7)
Louisa Musselman Fikes
Jared Sheldon 4
Peter Blake 3
Audrey Persano

Geoff Palmer
Grant Palmer
Santiago Trotz 5
Jim Wright 3 

Virgil Kyle
Dan Walker 2
Henry Walker 2
Ulysses Escapite 4

Chris Maloney 1
Ryan Robertson
Graham Bray 3
Ruben Coscia 4

Saturday January 19; Lazy 3 vs Twin Palms, Antelope vs Bush Lg/FMB
Sunday January 20; Antelope vs Lazy 3, Bush Lg/FMB vs Twin Palms
Sunday January 26; Bush Lg/FMB vs Lazy 3, Twin Palms vs Antelope
Sunday January 27; Bush League vs Antelope

Antelope                  3 0 d Bush Lg/FMB, Lazy 3, Twn Plms
Bush League/FMB   2 1 d Twn Plms, Lazy 3 l Antelope
Lazy 3                      1 2 d Twn Plms   l Antelope, Bush Lg 
Twin Palms               0 3 l Lazy 3, Bush Lg/FMB, Antelope

Coachella Valley Officer’s Cup 4 Goal

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CedarCreek (3)
German Coppel 0
Nicholas Wilhelm -1
Ashton Wolf 3
Conrad Kissling 1

Reg Whyte 0
David Carlson 0
Ernesto Ezcurra 2
Felipe Sordelli 2

Dan Horn 0                                                           
Lamar Rutherford -1
Matthew Walker 2                                                                                                
Rodrigo Salinas 3


Jennifer Luttrell-Benardoni .5
Francisco Benardoni 1.5
Gabriel Saccullo 1
Angel Jose Rodriguez 0

Jennifer Alexy 0
Shannon Mendez -.5
Diego Larregli 3
Santiago Mendez 1.5

Saturday January 19; CedarCreek vs Cotterel, Ocean/Thermal vs Luna
Sunday January 20; Palm Dsrt/Exit vs Luna, Cotterel vs Ocean/Thermal  
Saturday January 26; Luna vs CedarCreek, Palm Dsrt/Exit vs Cotterel
Sunday January 27; Final
Bracket #1 – 50% for a win. Bracket #2 – 33% for a win.
Top two teams will play final; Cotterel vs Ocean Air/Thermal


Ocean Air/Thermal        100% 2 0 d Luna, Cotterel
Cotterel (won Shootout) 66% 2 1 d CdrCrk, Plm Dsrt/Exit  l Ocn Air/Thrml 
Luna Polo                        66 %   2  1   d Plm Dsrt/Exit, CdrDrk l Ocn Air/Thrml
Palm Desert/Exit                          0   2   l Luna, Plm Dsrt/Exit                            
CedarCreek                                  0  2  l Cotterel, Luna


Ocean Air/Thermal Win Second World Gym Title

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The rain delayed 2019 World Gym Tournament 4 Goal final – played on Thursday afternoon – featured the 2018 champions Ocean Air/Thermal (David Carlson, Reg Whyte, Ernesto Ezcurra 2, Felipe Sordelli 2) and Luna Polo (Jennifer Alexy, Shannon Mendez -.5, Francisco Guinazu 3, Pepe Roriguez 1). Guinazu and Rodriguez were replacing the injured Diego Larregli 3 and Santiago  Mendez 1.5 respectively.

With Luna Polo starting with a handicap grant of one half, Ocean Air/Thermal scored twice in the first to lead 2 – .5.

Luna came back with three in the second but the defending champions scored a pair and still led at half-time at 4 – 3.5.

Ocean Air/Thermalcounted another in the third chukker to lead by one and a half going to the fourth at 5 – 3.5.

Scoring was split in the fourth with one apiece to give a final score of 6 – 4.5 and the 2018 winners had successfully defended their title and had won the 31st annual World Gym Tournament.

For the victors, Sordelli scored three goals and Ezcurra counted three as well (2 fouls).

The reply for Luna was Alexy with a pair and Guinazu counted two foul conversions.

Mike and Claudia Uretz were on hand to present the unique World Gym Trophy and the Best Playing Pony award went to Pepo, owned by Whyte and played by Sordelli in the first period.

Tony Gregg

Antelope Comes Back to Win Jason Memorial

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Antelope: Grant Palmer, Geoff Palmer, Santiago Trotz, Jim Wright presented by Madelyn Cobb, Lyn Jason Cobb, Ty Cobb, Bobby Knoop

It has long been stated that if you work slowly but constantly, you will succeed better than if you work fast for a short while and do not continue. This of course was the moral of the famous Aesop fable about the hare and the tortoise, but it was enacted in real time on Sunday in the 2019 Mack and Madelyn Jason Memorial final.

Coming in to the game undefeated, Geoff Palmer and his Antelope herd (Geoff Palmer, Grant Palmer, Santiago Trotz 5, Jimmy Wright 3) lined up against once defeated Louisa Musselman Fikes’ Lazy 3 (Louisa Musselman Fikes, Jared Sheldon 4, Peter Blake 3, Audrey Persano). Lazy 3’s only loss was to Antelope in qualifying play.

With a handicap award of one, Lazy 3 started very fast and right off the opening bowl-in Persano scored to take a two goal lead. The charge continued as Sheldon then scored three times (one penalty 2) and in what seemed – and probably was – record time, the Texans led by five at 5 – 0. Trotz and Wright recovered somewhat and were able to get a couple back to narrow the gap to three, but Persano counted her second and the first was over with Lazy 3 leading by a staggering four at 6 – 2. Lazy 3 was – in a word – overwhelming.

Sheldon converted another penalty 2 opportunity in the early second and Lazy 3 now led by five – would it ever stop? In another word – yes. Trotz took control and Antelope recovered as Geoff Palmer converted an open goal counter and Grant Palmer scored from the field. The second ended with the pronghorns trailing by just three.

The third period was scoreless as the Antelope recovery continued.

Lazy 3 came out in the fourth and appeared to be okay as Sheldon was allowed another open goal opportunity which he converted. However, Antelope continued to apply pressure and Geoff Palmer – perfect on the day – converted his second penalty offering. Trotz then scored his second and the fourth was over with the Texas lead narrowed to a pair at 8 – 6.

The fifth gave Antelope two goals – Wright on a penalty 4 and Trotz from the field – and the count was tied at eight going to the final.

Wright scored to give the pronghorns their first lead of the game but Sheldon converted another open goal chance to tie. Overtime looked to be inevitable as play proceeded into the final 30 seconds. With less than 15 seconds on the clock, Trotz sent one through from 65 yards and after some confusion on the part of most everyone, Antelope had won the Jason Memorial by a final count of 10 – 9.

The comeback was complete as Antelope allowed just three goals in the final five chukkers and garnered eight in the same time frame. Aesop would have been proud.

Because of his gifted playing and coaching abilities, Trotz was named the Most Valuable Player to his team and Sheldon’s first chukker gelding SportsCenter was named the Best Playing Pony – not the first such honor for this talented equine athlete.

Tony Gregg

Sunday Polo 2019

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Opening Day Presented By Ketel One Botanical

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Opening day 2019 was presented by Ketel One Botanicals and the expansive crowd witnessed games from the 8 Goal Mack and Madelyn Jason Memorial and the 4 Goal World Gym Tournaments.

The Jason Memorial featured Lazy 3 (Louisa Musselman-Fikes 0, Peter Blake 3, Jared Sheldon 4, Audrey Persano 0) and Bush League/FMB (Virgil Kyle 0, Danny Walker 2, Henry Walker 2, Ulysses Escapite 4) in an extremely entertaining game.
After six wide open, hit and run chukkers, Lazy 3 prevailed by three goals (one handicap) by a final count of 12 – 9.
For the winners Shelden led all scorers with eight goals (two fouls) and Blake counted three.
The reply for Bush League/FMB saw Danny Walker with five (two fouls), Kyle had a pair, and Henry Walker and Escapite struck once each.

In the World Gym 4 Goal, Ocean Air (David Carlson 0, Reg Whyte 0, Ernesto Ezcurra 2, Felipe Sordelli 2) defeated Luna Polo (Jennifer Alexy 0, Shannon Smull -.5, Diego Larregli 3, Santiago Mendez 1.5) 9 – 6.
Sordelli led the winners with five goals, Ezcurra grabbed three (one penalty 4), and Carlson had one.
For the runners-up, Larregli scored four (one foul) and Alexy provided two.

The winning teams from both games were presented with bottles of Ketel One Botanicals by Eric Estrada of Pacific Wine and Spirits.

Tony Gregg