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Mon 23rd Apr 2018

Daily Racing Form Become American Champions

U.S Polo Open Championship Final

Sunday 22 April saw the highlight of the culmination of months of hard work and preparation for the ultimate goal of the 2018 American high goal season. Going into this Final, C.V. Whitney Cup and USPA Gold Cup winner Valiente looked like the stronger team, but as the Floridian rain began to fall and the national anthem rang out across the Engel & Völkers Field 1 at the International Polo Club, Palm Beach, all previous matches were forgotten, with focus on the job at hand. 

Facundo Pieres was the first to find the posts, turning the ball from a defensive line to fly through the posts at the far end of the field, quickly answered by Daily Racing Form’s (DRF) 10 goal powerhouse Hilario Ulloa. DRF continued to shut down Valiente’s plays, despite impressive teamwork from the world number one and two, Adolfo Cambiaso and Facundo Pieres. It wasn’t until the third chukka that the stalemate was broken, as DRF took the lead for the first time, following an in-air goal from Ulloa. They quickly extended their lead to 5-3 with a field goal, but just before the half-time bell, Cambiaso ensured Valiente weren’t done yet, scoring a goal to bring Valiente within a goal of DRF once again. Valiente continued their attack, but whilst still a goal down in the fifth chukka, an errant ball connected with Ulloa’s face, temporarily halting the match while he received stitches to his right eye. The Obregon cousins, Agustín and Mariano, stepped up their game as they welcomed their 10 goal team mate back onto the field, but Valiente evened the scoreboard just before the final chukka. Jared Zenni scored a breathtaking goal, from an almost impossible angle, to give DRF a little more breathing room as they went up to a two goal lead. As the seconds ticked down, DRF gave away an all-important penalty, which Pieres ably slotted through the posts, but as the final bell sounded, DRF’s defense had held off Valiente to the final moment and their fervour was rewarded with the US Polo Open Championship Final title, with a 10-9 final score, halting Valiente’s Triple Crown dreams in their tracks. For his incredible angled goal, Jared Zenni was awarded the Most Valuable Player Award, whilst his team mate Mariano Obregon’s pony Millonaria, was presented with the Best Playing Pony rug. 
This tournament marks the end of the American high goal season, with the lion’s share of professional players now turning their attention to the UK high goal season, which is due to commence in the coming weeks. Polo Times will be on hand throughout the season to keep our readers up to date with all the polo action, so be sure to keep an eye on our social media feeds and news pages to stay up to date. The forthcoming May issue includes the 2018 High Goal Guide – not a subscriber? Click here to subscribe now!
The US Polo Open Championship Final Teams:
Valiente (26): Bob Jornayvaz (2), Tommy Beresford (4), Facundo Pieres (10) & Adolfo Cambiaso (10)
Daily Racing Form (26): Jared Zenni (5), Agustín Obregron (5), Hilario Ulloa (10) & Mariano Obregon (6)

Photograph: Brit Tommy Beresford battles Hilario Ulloa for possession in the Final of the US Polo Open Championships at the International Polo Club. By Joel Auerbach
 

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