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Tue 11th Sep 2018

East Coast Open Finale

Tradition continues for the Brant Family with victory

Exactly one week after The Pacific Coast Open in Santa Barbara, California, all eyes turned to Greenwich Polo Club in Connecticut for the Final of the East Coast Open on Sunday 9 September. Despite Iconica’s perfect record leading up to the Final, a fiery and determined Audi never relinquished the lead taking home The Perry Trophy with a final 11-9 score. 

In the first few minutes of play, Audi’s Toro Ruiz set the tone with back-to-back goals, the first an impressive run in front of a packed grandstand on bay mare Eleonor, the other an incredible cut shot off the end line for an early lead. A penalty in favor of Audi widened the margin as Joaquin Panelo sent the ball straight through the posts to end the first chukka 3-0. Iconica rallied in the second however, keeping Audi goalless and closing the gap with two penalty conversions from Mariano Gonzalez. Their momentum continued into the third chukka with two field goals from the father-son duo Peke and Mariano Gonzalez, closing the first half trailing by one, 5-4. 
Unwavering, Audi continued in the second half matching Iconica goal for goal and sinking another penalty conversion to increase their advantage to 8-6. The match’s top scorer Ruiz nailed his fifth goal of the game in the fifth chukka as Audi began to run away with the lead 10-6. Two penalties in the final two chukkas kept Iconica in the game as time wound down and with 35 seconds remaining on the clock, a centre hit following a Penalty 1 gave Iconica a flash of hope to tie the match and go into an extra chukka. The shot was intercepted by a backhand from Mariano Aguerre, dashing their hopes as Panelo raced down field, scoring a final goal to cement the Audi victory. 
Panelo was awarded the Most Valuable Player honours for exceptional accuracy from the penalty line. Similarly, his seven-year-old Argentine Thoroughbred mare Penelope, whom he played in the first and fifth chukkas, was awarded the Best Playing Pony prize. 
This was one of many East Coast Open titles for USA Hall-of-Famer Aguerre. The win with Chris Brant was especially memorable, having captured the trophy many times with Brant’s father and Aguerre’s long-time sponsor and friend Peter Brant. 
The East Coast Open Final Teams:
Audi: Chris Brant, Victoriano Ruiz Jorba, Mariano Aguerre & Joaquin Panelo
Iconica: Maureen Brennan, Peke Gonzalez, Mariano Gonzalez & Matias Magrini
 
Photograph: Audi took home The East Coast Open honours at Greenwich Polo Club over the weekend. By ©Marcelo Bianchi/USPA

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