• US Trust Cup At Grand Champions Polo Club

    US Trust Cup Begins Friday At Grand Champions Polo Club; Team USPA Will Tune Up For FIP World Polo Championship

    The US Trust Cup, featuring Team USPA, will begin Friday with a round-robin at Grand Champions Polo Club.
    By Sharon Robb
    Team USPA is practicing at Grand Champions for the Oct. 21-29 XI FIP World Polo Championship in Sydney, Australia. Team USPA is one of eight teams from five world zones competing at the Sydney Polo Club.

    On Friday at 4 p.m., four members of Team USPA (Matias Gonzalez, Jesse Bray, Felipe Viana and Jimmy Wright) will compete in a three-team round-robin with Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, Andres "Lala" LaPlacette, Mike Azzaro and Cacho Galindo) and Audi (Marc Ganzi, Guille Aguero, Kris Kampsen, Brandon Phillips).

    U.S. Trust winning players Marc Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, MVP Jared Sheldon and Nic Roldan with awards presenter Olexa Celine.

    The top two finishers advance into Sunday's championship at noon. The third-place finisher will play Flexjet in the subsidiary final at 10 a.m.

    On Saturday, a match game at 11 a.m. will feature Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Jason Crowder, Juan Bollini, Pablo Dorignac, Carlitos Gracida) against Team USPA (Jesse Bray, Felipe Viana, Jimmy Wright, Cacho Galindo, Matias Gonzalez).

    Legendary Hall of Famer and former 10-goaler Mike Azzaro returns to Grand Champions for the fall season after a successful summer debut at Aspen Valley Polo Club. Azzaro, winner of eight U.S. Open titles, was a top American player rated at 10 goals for 13 years. He remains one of the sport's most popular players.

    Argentine Andres "Lala" LaPlacette, a 5-goal rated player and coach, is coming off the CBC Sport Arena Polo World Cup Azerbaijan in Baku. LaPlacette, head coach of the winning CBC Sport/Elite Horse & Polo Club team based in Baku, made his Grand Champions debut last weekend for Casablanca. 

    Grant Ganzi of US Trust defends Jesse Bray of Newport, in last year's US Trust Cup.

    For the third consecutive year, Bray is making his fall debut at Grand Champions. He is coming off a successful season at Santa Barbara. In March, 2015, Bray was a member of Team USPA's FIP World Polo Championship runner-up team to host Chile in Santiago.

    In last year's US Trust Cup, US Trust (Marc Ganzi, Grant Ganzi, MVP Jared Sheldon and Nic Roldan) won the title for the second consecutive year. 

    Because of Hurricane Matthew, the tournament was condensed into a one-day, round robin format based on net goals. US Trust defeated Flexjet (Carlitos Gracida, Jason Crowder, Juan Bollini, Glenn Straub), 5.5-3, in the third and final game.

    US Trust, founded in 1853, is a wealth management and private banking company designed to address the needs of its clients, regardless of complexity. It provides investment management, wealth structuring, credit and lending services to clients.

    Rated No. 1 by Consumer Reports as the best auto brand overall, Audi is a valued sponsor with a rich winning tradition in polo. The German automobile manufacturer designs, engineers, produces, markets and distributes luxury automobiles throughout the world including West Palm Beach.

    Mike Azzaro

    Casablanca, founded by polo players who understand the needs of today's polo players, supplies a wide variety of polo products, equipment and apparel through superior quality, value and service around the world. Behind the Casablanca brand is a serious pledge to quality, excellence and elegance.

    The US Trust Cup is the second of six medium goal tournaments during the fall season. In last week's season-opener, Audi defeated Casablanca, 11-10, in overtime on Marc Ganzi's game-winner.

    Grand Champions is one of only two clubs in the nation to host two 20-goal tournaments, the USPA North American (Oct. 27-Nov. 5) Cup and USPA National 20-Goal (Nov. 8-19).

    The highlight of the season is the Nov. 25 doubleheader with the Carlos Gracida Memorial Legends of Polo and International Cup pitting defending champion Team USA against Brazil.

    During the fall season, roster lineups change from tournament to tournament with evenly-matched teams to help improve players skills and performance. The games also give players an opportunity to work young horses.

    Felipe Viana

    During fall, winter and spring seasons, Grand Champions Polo Club, the nation's largest club with 11 well-manicured fields, hosts polo tournaments ranging from six to 26-goal in addition to special events.

    Grand Champions Polo Cup attracted a record 72 teams during its 2017 winter season that featured the $100,000 World Cup, $50,000 National 12-Goal, 20-Goal Sterling Cup and 20-Goal Molina Cup, and another 18 teams during the spring season.

    The entire fall season will be live-streamed on Wellington-based ChukkerTV, leaders in polo broadcasting with cutting-edge technology. ChukkerTV also features team challenges and instant replay which made their debut at Grand Champions in January, 2014.

    Grand Champions Polo Club caters to men, women and youth polo players at all levels. 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, the only polo club in the U.S. to offer the unique program.