BMW of Encinitas Wins 8-Goal USPA Spreckels Cup Match in OT

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Polo in San Diego, where surf and turf meet, is well and alive. The final tournament for the season was the 8-goal Spreckels Cup match in front of a sold out crowd on Sunday October 2. The match was held to honor the tradition of the cup and to benefit the club’s charity partner, Dress For Success San Diego, a non-profit that empowers women to succeed in the work place and improve the quality of life for their families.

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Team BMW Encinitas with Nour-Dean Anakar in the one position, Nicholas Ramos playing two, Rodrigo Salinas playing three and Doug Blumenthal at four, took on Roseville Motors with Topo Mendez at one, Juan Jose Gonzales at two, Ashton Wolf at three and Eric Hammon at four. The match was a hard fought battle from start to finish with Roseville Motors jumping out to a fast 3-1 lead in the first chuker with two goals from Mendez and one by Gonzalez. BMW Encinitas came roaring back with five-consecutive goals with Anakar and Ramos knocking in two each and Salinas adding one. The second half was a tight defensive battle with neither team able to score until the last chukker. Wolf and Mendez each scored to force overtime. Anakar converted a penalty 3 in extra time to bring home the win for Team BMW.

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The 107-year-old Spreckels Cup was presented to Team BMW Encinitas by USPA Governor-at-Large Scott Walker, USPA Committee Member Tony Yahyai and special guest, David Lewis, the grandson of John D.Spreckels. Topo Mendez won MVP and Ashton Wolf’s horse Chica won Best Playing Pony. The trophy presentation was followed by both teams soaking each other with champagne. After the Spreckels Cup presentation, the club celebrated the season finale with a members’ barbecue party.

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Becky Schaller, Kristi Hammon, Ashton Wolf, Eric Hammon and Ellen Greenhill win the pro-pool Spreckels Cup!

Congrats to the first and second place pro-pool teams who played for the Spreckels Cup earlier in the afternoon. Team Monteverde/RosevilleMotors was victorious! Kristi Hammon won MVP and Eric Hammon’s horse won Best Playing Pony.

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Marc Berry, Juan Jose Gonzales, Tony Yahyai & Nour-Dean Anakar win 2nd place of the pro-pool Spreckels Cup! On stage with announcer Steve Lewandowski and David Lewis, grandson of John D. Spreckels.

Thank you all for a wonderful summer season! We are winding down with Fall Polo through October and arena play through the end of the year. If you’re interested in lessons or playing polo, feel free to reach out to us at *protected email* or 858-481-2247. Otherwise, we’ll see you on Opening Day 2017!

USPA Spreckels Cup Finals presented by Woodford Reserve to benefit WWF

Polo Team Adeptus/Sycamore Wins 106th USPA Spreckels Cup

in support of World Wildlife Fund

2015-SDPC-Spreckels-Cup-Winners.-Diego-Cossio,-Max-Menini,-Colleen-Wilson,-Bryon-Ward.-Photo-by-Jaime-Dixx-webThe tournament’s underdog, Team Adeptus/Sycamore won the 106th USPA Spreckels Cup at the San Diego Polo Club, which took place on Sunday, September 27. The charity polo match benefited World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s leading conservation organization that helps protect the future of nature. With the help of local Rancho Santa Fe residents, polo players, friends and WWF supporters, the charity raised over $11,000 at the San Diego Polo Club.

In partnership with the United States Polo Association, the San Diego Polo Club hosted the 106th Annual USPA Spreckels Cup, the oldest polo tournament on the west coast. The USPA Spreckels Cup is a historical tournament named after John D. Spreckels, an entrepreneur who founded a transportation and real estate empire, including the San Diego Railway, Hotel del Coronado and San Diego’s first polo club in Coronado.

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Multiple teams played in the two-week Spreckels Cup tournament, bringing in international polo players for the duration of the tournament. Favored to win, Team San Judas had a strong team consisting of Mexican polo professional Alvaro Tadeo; American professional player, Joseph Stuart; 15 year old prodigy, Harrison Azzaro, son of one of the most talented American polo players; and team owner, Ramon Richard. In previous games, San Judas was victorious, even in their previous match up against Sunday’s opponent, Adeptus/Sycamore. However, with the help of Argentine polo professionals, Diego Cossio and Max “the machine gun” Menini, Team Adeptus/Sycamore came out on top and celebrated their victory in front of Sunday’s Closing Day crowd, alongside team owners Colleen Wilson and Bryon Ward.

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Joseph Stuart kicked things off in the first chukker with a goal for San Judas, knocking it straight through the goal mouth from 90 yards back. Max Menini scored for Adeptus/Sycamore to tie it up, but Harrison Azzaro with San Judas scored, bringing the score 2 to 1 in the first chukker.

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Adeptus/Sycamore had a strong defense and San Judas fell behind in the second chukker, while Bryon Ward and Diego Cossio scored for Adeptus/Sycamore. Joseph Stuart and Maz Menini both scored on penalty hits in the third chukker, bringing the score to 4 to 3, Adeptus/Sycamore on the lead. While Joseph Stuart and Harrison Azzaro take the credit for the goals for San Judas, Alvaro Tadeo was a workhorse on the field, making it hard for Adeptus/Sycamore to score.

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Diego Cossio and Max Menini were a dynamic duo, always working together both defensively and offensively to help each other out. In the fourth chukker, Diego Cossio scored another for Adeptus/Sycamore and kept San Judas at bay until the 5th chukker.

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Alvaro Tadeo passed the ball up to team owner, Ramon Richard, and Ramon took it away to the goal and scored an important point for San Judas. In the final chukker, Max Menini scored for Adeptus/Sycamore and Alvaro Tadeo scored for San Judas. It was a hard battle, but Adeptus/Sycamore stayed in control of the game steadily through with the final score 7 to 5.

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Dr. Colleen Wilson has served on the Board of Directors for the San Diego Polo Club for many years, and has played polo in Rancho Santa Fe for 18 years. Over the course of this time, she has played with multiple teams and various professionals, but this winning combination has taken her to the top and led her team to victory for the first time, thus proving how difficult it is to enter the historical tournament. One of Dr. Wilson’s strengths is her string of eight beautiful polo ponies; she is well-known in the equestrian community for her healthy horses and horsemanship. There are two athletes on the field: the horse and the rider. A polo players mount is just as important as the talent riding the animal.

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In partnership with the La Jolla Polo Team, the World Wildlife Fund hosted their first-ever fundraiser in San Diego to raise awareness about their global initiatives. For more than 50 years, WWF has been protecting the future of nature. The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.1 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. WWF’s unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature.

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California State Assembly member, Martin Garrick and San Diego Council-hopeful Ray Ellis enjoyed the afternoon in the VIP tent with other guests, including Regional Director of WWF Britta Justesen, Director of Philanthropy of WWF Anne Trela, Vice-President of SDPC Nour-Dean Anakar, Zeeto Media’s CEO Stephan Goss, General Manager of BMW Encinitas Darrin Fetterolf, Reuben and Natasha Katz of La Jolla Polo Team, and local philanthropic supporters Naomi Gallego and Berenice Blake.

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The San Diego Polo Club invited guests to the Woodford Reserve’s VIP Lounge with polo players, local celebrities and philanthropists alike. VIP guests enjoyed the Distiller’s Select Kentucky Bourbon and Doubled Oaked Bourbon pairing with sweet caramel and fresh pear slices. Woodford Reserve offered specialty cocktails that benefited WWF, including “Panda Punch” and the “Jaguar Julep”.

Korbel California Champagne offered tastes of champagne to all guests during the half-time divot stomp and BMW of Encinitas refilled glasses from the back of their luxury automobiles parked center field. Woodford Reserve presented bourbon barrel heads and bottles of bourbon as gifts to both teams.

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BMW of Encinitas led the ceremonial Parade of Teams with a fleet of luxury cars, including the new hybrid BMW I-8. Steve Lewandowski, the voice of the San Diego Polo Club for the last 25 years, emceed the event.

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The national anthem was sung by Jazmin Feteke, and Billy Ray, National Brand Ambassador for Woodford Reserve with Suzanne Brown of Brown-Forman provided the ceremonial first ball throw in to start the game.

2015 SDPC Spreckels Cup. First Ball Throw In Billy Ray. Photo by Eric Young

United States Polo Association Governor, Scott Walker, presented trophies to the winners alongside three generations from the Spreckels family, Molly Spreckels-Agee, Jessica Spreckels-Burch, and Torry Spreckels-Metrovich.

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Son of San Diego Polo Club’s founder, Willis Allen, displayed over a dozen antique Steerman biplanes on the grass, which took off over the large crowd after the matches.

Recap of USPA Spreckels Cup Finals & Closing Day of Polo presented by Woodford Reserve

The San Diego Polo Club (SDPC) celebrated the end of their 28th season in Rancho Santa Fe with the United States Polo Association (USPA) Spreckels Cup & Closing Day presented by Woodford Reserve. Heels2Heal was the exclusive charity partner with specific ticket and auction proceeds benefiting San Diego Youth Services.

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Gates opened at 12:30pm and guests were lined up as early as 9:30am itching to get a good spot to watch the final match at 2pm. Players and VIPs mingled in the Woodford Reserve Lounge and sipped on bourbon infused specialty cocktails as they took awe of the 105 year old Spreckels trophy that was on display with hundreds of beautiful garden and piano roses overflowing the cup.

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The VIP tent was filled with 500 guests, including players, family, friends, sponsors, and of course, the Heels2Heal guests right in the front row. Over 1,300 guests piled into the venue, dressed to the nines in red accents, hats and chic polo outfits.

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The day started out with a classic demonstration of rider and foxhounds, presented by the Santa Fe Hunt. Established in 1969, the Santa Fe Hunt/West Hills Hounds is a Masters of Fox Hounds Association recognized Hunt located in Temecula, California. They are a diverse group of riders brought together by love of horses, open spaces, country values and riding with a fine pack of foxhounds as they work a scent. The San Diego Polo Club is honored to welcome back Terry Paine and the Santa Fe Hunt every year.

Next up was the highly anticipated fashion show presented by Heels2Heal chair and polo player, Sonya Berg the Zen Fashionista.

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Sonya is a TV Personality, Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger, Fashion Show Designer & Producer, and philanthropist. Her “Sexy Socialite News Girls Pre-Fall Fashion Show” featured the San Diego News Girls, including Brandi Williams, Kimi Evans, Natasha Sweattle, Sabrina Fein, Tabitha Lipkin, and Staci Ortiz-Davis. Over 20 female models and 10 male models featured fall fashions from Matti D, Nicole Miller, Mister B’s, Jill Courtemanche Millinery, TRE, and Van de Vort.

After the fashion show, guests were encouraged to grab a drink at the bar or get a bite to eat and settle in for the final match of the season, the USPA Spreckels Cup Finals.

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Five teams had been competing for the chance to play in the 105 year old tournament, The USPA sanctioned Spreckels Cup. On September 28th, 2014 the top two teams fought it out for the title of Spreckels Champions. After weeks of
competing for a spot in the final game, Starmeadow/Roseville Motor Car and Twin Palms took the field for the final tournament of 2014.

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Anthony Ballard did the honors of singing the national anthem during our Opening Ceremonies. With over 25 years’ experience, Anthony’s diverse background spans opera, musical theatre, non-musicals, tap, jazz and ballet. Anthony is an active member of the San Diego Opera’s Core Chorus and has appeared in over 50 San Diego arts productions since moving to the area in 1993.

USPA Closing Day- First Ball Throw-In

After the anthem, Suzanne Brown from Woodford Reserve did the honors of throwing in the ceremonial first ball and starting off the first chukker!

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The first goal of chukker one was scored by Graham “the big guns” Bray for Starmeadow. Twin Palms’ Gaston Von Wernich was right behind him, scoring for his team. Playing for the trophy, Von Wernich scored the next three goals in chukker two.

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Ashton Wolf made a comeback, scoring two goals for Starmeadow. Chukker three started with a goal from Twin Palms’ Ryan Robertson. Colton Bancroft fired back, scoring one for Starmeadow. Not one to back down easily, Robertson scored the remaining goal of chukker three, lengthening his team’s lead. At halftime, the scores were Starmeadow 4 / Twin Palms 6.

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During the traditional “Pretty Woman Divot Stomp,” guests enjoyed a sample of Korbel California Champagne as they mingled with friends and replaced the divots that were kicked up by the horses during the first half of the game.

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Plowing ahead in chukker four, Robertson again scored. Passing the reins to teammate Von Wernich, Twin Palms scored their 8th goal of the game; Von Wernich’s 5th.

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Like chukker four, chukker five belonged to Twin Palms. Alvaro Tadeo scored first for his team. Robertson picked up the second goal. Going into the last chukker, the score was Starmeadow 4 / Twin Palms 10.

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In chukker six, Starmeadow fought back hard. Bancroft scored first, followed by two goals from Ashton Wolf. Following suit, Graham Bray scored narrowing the lead Twin Palms had on his team.

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The final goal was scored by Tadeo of Twin Palms. Adding in team handicaps, Starmeadow ended with nine goals. Though Starmeadow fought hard, Twin Palms was on fire. They came to win and with eleven goals, they did just that.

Watch post game interviews with Colton Bancroft and Alvaro Tadeo by Mikki & Shay.

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Both teams joined together on the trophy deck for the Trophy & Awards Presentation. First off was the most improved player award, which was awared to Virgil Kyle by previous president and founding member, Ron Bonaguidi. Kyle has excelled in his skill level in 2014.

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Second was the sportsmanship award, which went to one of our newest members, who has displayed courtesy and sportsmanship to his fellow players. Eric Hammon was the recipient of this great award.

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Our founding father, Willis Allen was very instrumental in encouraging young players to get involved in the sport of polo. The San Diego Polo Club created his namesake award to honor Willis and congratulate the best all-around young player under 30 based on horsemanship, sportsmanship and playing ability. Judy Collins, daughter of Willis Allen, presented this award to 17-year old Colton Bancroft.

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Out of the 48+ horses played in Sunday’s polo match, the best playing pony is just that– the best pony out there. Gail Greggson of the California Thoroughbred Breeder’s Foundation presented the trophy to Graham Bray for his horse P1. This horse has won 4 best playing pony awards in the last two years!

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Torry Spreckels is the great granddaughter of John D. Spreckels. She and her daughter Jessica and granddaughter Molly presented the second place team with the Spreckels trophies. Both Molly and Jessica play polo today, carrying on the Spreckels family tradition. Christine Wuthrich, the great great grand daughter of John D. Spreckels also helped present the trophies.

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All of the players were then welcomed onto the stage and everyone was gifted with a nice bottle of Woodford Reserve, a small-batch straight bourbon distilled in central Kentucky. The distillery itself is a national historical monument!

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Jose Luis & Lovie Rocha, owners of  JL Rocha, have been designing and manufacturing handmade leather shoes & jackets for over 3 generations in Mexico and now they are in the United States. Lovie & Jose Luis presented each of the winning players with a fine lambskin jacket from their collection completely made by hand.

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Scott Walker, USPA Lieutenant Governor for Southern California, presented the winning teams with their trophies as well as awarded Most Valuable Player of the game to Gaston von Wernich!

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Guests stayed until dark, dancing and partying with polo players and members. DJ Beatnick kept the energy up and rocked the beats for one of the best after parties in history!

Photos by Jim Bremner & Topher Riley. To see more, visit us on Facebook.com

History of the Spreckels Cup

 The Spreckels Cup

John D. Spreckels, San Francisco financier, shipping magnate, and scion of the fabled Spreckels family, first discovered polo in the late 1800’s.  Shortly thereafter, he visited Coronado Island and was so completely captivated by the area, known at the time as the playground for the wealthy, that he immediately made plans to play polo on the island’s beautiful green lawns.  Spreckels built a polo facility on the island that quickly became known throughout the United States for the quality of its fields and climate, as well as the number and proficiency of its players and horses.

In the ensuing years, the Coronado Polo Club became known as the “Meadowbrook of the West”, after the famous club on Long Island New York.  Coronado was the site of many early prestigious polo tournaments, and its fields saw the first playing of the Pacific Coast Open, still considered one of California’s premier polo events.   Among those tournaments was the match that Spreckels inaugurated in 1909.  Calling it the Polo Challenge, he enlisted the aid of designers Brock and Feagus of Los Angeles, and commissioned a dramatic silver trophy almost two feet high.  Engraved on the trophy was the inscription, “Polo Challenge Trophy, presented by John D. Spreckels.”  The trophy was designed to be engraved with the names of the winners each year and was intended to be held by the winning team for one year.

The trophy was played for each year, with the exception of the years of World War I, and its engraved names read like a “Who’s Who” of California polo.  The last team to win the trophy before it was retired in 1921, was captained by Carleton F. Burke.  Burke, a dedicated horseman, was responsible for reintroducing thoroughbred racing in California in 1932, after a 23-year blackout.  He later became one of the founders of the California Horse Racing Board.  The Spreckels Cup remained among his most prized treasures.

 In an effort to document the history of polo in San Diego and in Southern California, Julie Mulvihill-Mayer launched a search for polo memorabilia in the archives of the Coronado Library.  Joseph E. Jessop, longtime San Diego resident and founder of Jessop’s Jewelers, had been employed at the Coronado Polo Club as a young boy and became a lifelong polo fan.  He recommended that the search continue at the Coronado Historical Society.   Following that lead brought Mulvihill-Mayer upon a veritable treasure trove of old polo trophies including the Spreckels Cup.  The trophies were brought back to San Diego, and Joseph E. Jessop and Jessops Jewelers President, Ken Laughlin, cooperated in masterminding their restoration.

When the season officially opened on June 10, 1988, the newly refurbished Spreckels Cup occupied a place of honor in the club’s trophy case.  Restored to its original appearance, and flanked by its companion pieces, the impressive silver cup cast an undeniable glow upon the matches and players.  The trophy’s presence provided a tangible link across the years and forged a bond between the players of today, John D. Spreckels, and the band of polo players that had such an influence on our sport and upon the San Diego Polo Club.

The California Thoroughbred Breeders Association generously loans the trophy to us annually.  We’d like to thank the CTBA’s Board for their role in securing this prestigious trophy for the continued use in this historical event.

Winners from 2010.  Chris Collins, Mariano Fassetta, Christopher Collins, Krista Bonaguidi