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Alegria Wins On Day Four Of Triple Crown Of Polo; Doubleheader On Thursday

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Alegria Wins On Day Four Of Triple Crown Of Polo; Doubleheader On Thursday 
WELLINGTON, Fl., April 4, 2019----Alegria won its first game of the World Polo League's Triple Crown of Polo Wednesday with a convincing win at blustery Jan Pamela Field.

By Sharon Robb 
Alegria (Freddie Mannix, 8, Jesse Bray, 6, Gringo Colombres, 7, Juan Martin Obregon, 5) dominated most of the game for a 16-12 victory over Black Watch (Juan Cruz Merlos, 5, Nacho Figueras, 6, Pite Merlos, 8/Lucas Lalor, 5, Tommy Biddle, 5).

Gringo Colombres of Alegria works the near side shot out of the saddle.

Alegria had to dig itself out of a hole early when Black Watch started with a 3-0 lead on handicap. By the end of the first chukker, Alegria trailed by only one (5-4) on Bray's goal with 31 seconds left.

"We had a good team dinner last night at Franco's and we just said we know the style of play we wanted to play but we didn't want to make any more mistakes," Mannix said. "We can make physical mistakes but not try and make mental mistakes. Of course, we made a few but we made less and when you make less you play better."

Lucas Lalor of Black Watch outraces Juan Martin Obregon of Alegria for the ball in the second half.

Alegria tied the game, 6-6, with 4:27 left on another Bray goal. The teams tied twice (7-7 and 8-8) before Alegria went ahead, 9-8 on Obregon's 40-yard penalty conversion and never trailed after that.

"It was a tough start having a 3-0 deficit at the beginning," Obregon said. "But luckily we were able come out strong and maintain our focus and that's not easy to do for six chukkers. It was a game we had to play simple and keep our rhythm going and not let the other team take that from us."

Jesse Bray of Alegria goes for the big hit for one of his team-high six goals.

Black Watch cut Alegria's lead to one, 11-10, in the fifth chukker after Figueras scored off a nice long pass from Biddle. But Alegria pulled away for a 13-10 lead behind back-to-back goals from Obregon and Bray. Alegria ended up outscoring Black Watch, 7-4, in the second half.

"The team is performing," Mannix said. "It's a long season. The horses are so fundamental to the game and we played a lot of games in a row. The first game of the Triple Crown we played against Valiente. The horses were a bit flat, we were a bit flat. Valiente is serious business so you have to play awesome to beat them.

Jesse Bray of Alegria hooks Juan Cruz Merlos of Black Watch as he tries to hit.

"Today you could tell the horses had a little more go in them and we had a little  more go," Mannix said. "We have a big game now ahead, nothing is impossible. We will be putting all the guns pointed at that game."

Alegria is 1-1 and Black Watch is 0-2 in Bracket I play. 

Nacho Figueras of Black Watch defends Freddie Mannix of Alegria while he works the ball in the air.

"This was one of the most important games we had to win to keep our hopes alive," Obregon said. "Our next game is very difficult but we have to go in with a killer attitude and try to keep our rhythm."

Bray led Alegria in scoring with a team-high six goals. Obregon had five goals, Colombres had three and Mannix added two goals.

Gringo Colombres of Alegria looks to be flying on his horse as he follows up his hit.

"I think we are a team with four guys and when we play well we win," Bray said. "We don't have that 10-goal player that everybody else might so for us we all have to play well together and help each other out. Every game we are getting to know each other a little more."

Biddle led Black Watch with six goals including five penalty conversions. Figueras had two goals and Juan Cruz Merlos added one goal.

Lucas Lalor of Black Watch works the ball out of the air on the near side with Gringo Colombres of Alegria defending.

Two games are scheduled for Thursday. Mandarina plays WPL at 11 a.m. at Grand Champions Polo Club Field One. Colorado and Valiente renew their J5 Equestrian rivalry at 4 p.m. at Valiente Polo Farm Field Three.

Grand Champions and Valiente are launching the U.S. National Mixed Doubles Championship, featuring two men and two women with combined handicaps set for Friday, April 5 at a Valiente Polo Farm Field One at 4:30 p.m. 

Juan Martin Obregon of Alegria leans into his neck shot.

Valiente (Bob Jornayvaz, Mia Novillo Astrada, Mia Cambiaso, Adolfo Cambiaso) will play Audi (Marc Ganzi, Pablo MacDonough/Juan Martin Nero, Nina Clarkin, Mili Sanchez) in the unique event.

The WPL is being live streamed on ESPN Deportes and ChukkerTV/Polo Channel/Horseplay with Gus Whitelaw calling the action. For more information go to www.worldpolo.org.

Juan Cruz Merlos of Black Watch goes to hit with Gringo Colombres of Alegria defending.

Co-founded by Grand Champions owners Melissa and Marc Ganzi and Valiente Polo Farm owner Bob Jornayvaz, the World Polo League is the only 26-goal polo in the world outside of Argentina. The WPL is preserving the highest level of polo and its rich, hallowed tradition in the U.S. 

The WPL has its own set of simpler fan-friendly rules to improve the flow and action of the game.

Gringo Colombres of Alegria reaches for the ball.

The WPL, with tournament-quality fields to play on, features the All-Star Challenge Draw Tournament, Founders Cup, Palm Beach Open and Triple Crown of Polo. The WPL is open to teams that wish to compete in one or more of the tournaments. Games are offered on the flat (Open) and on Handicap.

The World Polo League has attracted a large international field of players from all corners of the world  including  Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Nigeria, New Zealand, Uruguay and U.S.

Pite Merlos of Black Watch wraps his mallet for the hook on Jesse Bray of Alegria.
Photos by Ramon Casares

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.
 
2019 WORLD POLO LEAGUE SCHEDULE



APRIL
March 27-April 14, Triple Crown of Polo
 

Thursday, 4/4:
11 a.m. Mandarina vs WPL at GCPC Field 1
4 p.m. Colorado vs Valiente at Valiente Field 3

Friday, 4/5:
10 a.m. Audi vs. Grand Champions at Valiente Field 2
 
WPL U.S. National Mixed Doubles Championship Finals
4:30 p.m. Valiente vs Audi at Valiente Field 1


Saturday, 4/6:
11 a.m. Colorado vs Alegria
4 p.m. Valiente vs Black Watch


Sunday, 4/7:
11 a.m. Audi vs WPL
4 p.m. Grand Champions vs Mandarina, GCPC Field 2

Wednesday, 4/10:
11 a.m. Subsidiary Semifinal
4 p.m. Subsidiary Semifinal

Thursday, 4/11:
11 a.m. Triple Crown of Polo Semifinal
4 p.m. Triple Crown of Polo Semifinal

Saturday, 4/13:
Subsidiary Final

Sunday, 4/14:
4 p.m. Triple Crown of Polo Championship Final, GCPC Field 2
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Games at Grand Champions Polo Club, Valiente Polo Farm and other local fields.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Chukker TV is live streaming the entire World Polo League season with film material content provided by Polo Channel. ChukkerTV, featuring cutting-edge technology, was the first to introduce state-of-the-art live streaming technology and instant replay in January, 2014 at Grand Champions Polo Club. For advertising opportunities please contact Mike Ferreira at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Rob Jornayvaz at Polo Channel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 
Jan-Eric Franck
"The Voice of Polo"
 
ESPN West Palm (106.3FM) and ESPN Deportes (760AM) signed an exclusive contract with the World Polo League and will target the West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami markets with various broadcasts, commercials and exposure on radio, ESPN.com, ESPN app and social media platforms to promote the exciting new 26-goal league. With nearly two decades of sustained success in sports and entertainment broadcasting, Josh Cohen is among the most influential, respected and popular on-air personalities and live event hosts in South Florida. Julian Zaldivar has been a part of ESPN West Palm team and ESPN Deportes760AM manager since its inception. He is the host of Comunidad ESPN Monday through Friday that features all-sports talk and interviews with the Latino community leaders from the local Hispanic market.


 
Josh Cohen
Julian Zaldivar
 
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB

WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.

DIRECTOR OF POLO: Juan Olivera, 561-644-5050, juan.olivera@gcpolo.com; hotline  561-644-5050.

INFORMATION: For spectators, there are great field side views for tournament action and also the Grand Champions Polo Club Boutique. The club is home base for pro teams Audi and Flexjet. Everyone is welcome to watch every level of polo in a relaxed atmosphere with food and refreshments during the featured games of the winter, spring and fall tournament seasons and other special events. Admission is free except for some special events.
 

 
 
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Grand Champions Polo Club, 13444 Southfields Road, Wellington, FL 33414
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