Banking For the World Polo Traveler

Polo has a distinctly international appeal with teams in over 77 countries.  With this diverse following, it’s natural that both players and enthusiasts should also share a love of travel.  If you are a travel enthusiast and are planning an international trip this summer, our financial safety tips can help you ensure your money remains secure.

Preparation Is Key

Making sure that your money and your financial affairs are in order long before you travel can help put your mind at ease. Doing a bit of leg work before your plane takes off can help to ensure that your funds remain safe, as well as your identity.

  • Lighten your wallet. Do you really need your preferred shopper cards and your business credit card while traveling? Your wallet should contain a little cash, at least two credit cards, and your ID. Keep the other important cards in a secure place at home.
  • Make a few copies of your identification. If your wallet is stolen, you will be happy to have a copy of your ID and passport available to you. You may also want to leave a copy with a trusted family member or friend stateside who can scan and send you the information if you happen to lose your copy.
  • Talk to your bank. Even with a bank-issued credit or debit card that boasts its versatility for international travel, you will want to talk to your bank and let them know the places you will be visiting. This is also a great time to ask whether the bank has a partnership with any banks overseas that will allow you to access local ATMs without the high exchange rates or withdrawal fees.

Be On Guard

Always be aware of your surroundings and where your money is while you are traveling. One great way to keep tabs on your cards is to download your bank’s app to ensure you are receiving alerts for each purchase that is made. Beyond tracking your own spending, try these tips to keep your money safe.

  • Keep your money close. Using a bag that keeps your money close to your body is still the safest way to ward off pickpockets. You may also want to consider dividing your money. If someone grabs your wallet, you will have an emergency card in your pocket so that you still have access to your money.
  • Watch out for cyber theft. Be wary when logging on to your bank accounts while abroad. Request an overseas data plan if possible and stay away from unknown Wi-Fi networks. Wi-Fi networks can be the easiest way for someone to hack into your account and steal your login information without your being aware.
  • Avoid unknown ATMs. Stick to ATMs in your hotel or at a bank that you know and trust. Thieves have been known to set up fake ATMs in busy locations in hopes of capturing the card information of unaware tourists.

Don’t Get Robbed by Currency Exchange

If you are using an airport kiosk, you may be paying anywhere from $24 to $44 for your transaction. Those charges can really add up. Save yourself some money by knowing how to get the currency you need.

  • Land with cash in hand. While most of the world accepts credit cards, there may be a small café or taxi cab you encounter when you first land that will require cash. Exchange a few dollars stateside so that you can begin your adventure the moment you land, without needing to seek out a currency exchange counter.
  • Going off the beaten trail? If you are going to a remote location, a native speaker may receive a more favorable exchange rate than a tourist. If you have friends in town, ask them to negotiate the exchange rate for you
  • Visit the ATM. If you have access to a partner bank as we discussed earlier, you may be able to access your money through their ATM without highly inflated exchange rates.

Whether you are traveling for work or pleasure, taking a few moments to make sure you have secured your finances can help to ensure that your trip is as stress-free as possible.  For information on Virtus Bank – the concierge banking division of BofI Federal Bank, visit us online at http://go.virtusbank.com/polo

Virtus Bank

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What if you had the chance to design your own bank? What if it could deliver best-in-class client service by providing dedicated on-call Relationship Managers that know you personally and understand your needs? No call centers, no waiting in line… What if it could offer an exceptional range of services while ensuring an unparalleled level of trust and privacy protection? Could this result in a truly uncompromising service to you?

Virtus Bank, the premier, concierge banking brand of BofI Federal Bank provides this level of exclusive, concierge service.   The Virtus service mandate includes the highest standard of dedicated relationship management with front-line decision making authority, progressive deposit products, and high yield savings accounts. The result is a high performance platform that truly provides “Service without Barriers”.

We invite you to meet the Virtus team this Polo season and learn how you can join the elite clients that bank with Virtus. Visit us at https://go.virtusbank.com/polo

 

San Diego Polo Opening Day (4 of 89)

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Russ Sheldon Honored with Iglehart Award

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Russ Sheldon is being honored posthumously with the Iglehart Award. For over 25 years Russ dedicated countless hours to the sport. He has been recognized with numerous awards that are a testament to his contagious passion and excitement for polo, a love that he eagerly passed on to his children, grandchildren and countless others. He started Poway Polo Club and was a champion of “grass roots polo” in California, a passionate promoter of Arena Polo and a devout mentor and supporter of youth polo programs. His contribution to the USPA Intercollegiate-Interscholastic program and the initiatives that he put in place will continue to benefit the sport for decades to come.
National Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame
Wellington, Florida
February 2016

Member of the Month: Vance Barse

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Who are you, Vance Barse? 

I am the amalgamation of dichotomous stereotypes, and have been told I unintentionally challenge the status quo given my eclectic passions that often aren’t associated with one another.  I like big words, too.

I was actually first introduced to polo while dining at Scalini’s about a decade ago.  My intellectual curiosity prompted me to attend a match to learn more about the game and I was immediately hooked, so I became a social member.  Polo is an endeavor one must experience first-hand to truly value its inherent thrill.  Given my L4-L5 back issue, I’ve been afraid of playing but several members this season have convinced me to take my first lesson.  Topo, are you reading this?

A few years after becoming a social member, the firm for which I was working moved me (against my will, I might add) from San Diego to Florida.  Not many members know this, but I travelled full-time for years consulting the top private wealth advisors at family offices, RIAs, wire houses, etc.  I travelled to multiple cities each week and thus had no time to enjoy polo as I did at home here in San Diego.

Life took an unexpected turn when my grandmother “Red,” with whom I was very close, had a major stroke.  The docs told me she couldn’t walk, could barely talk, and needless to say was miserable, so I resigned from my career to go spend time with her in the nursing home during what we thought would be her rehabilitation period.  Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, and it became apparent that she was permanently immobilized and never going home.  In that time we shared together, she and I had countless heart-to-heart discussions on life, spirituality, family, happiness, and what truly matters in life.  She emphasized how none of our material possessions can be taken to the “other side” and stressed the importance of living the life we want to live, not the life we or others think we have to live.

After she transitioned, I decided to ride across the country on one of my Harleys to make up for the lost time sacrificed while living out of a suitcase.  It was an amazing journey!  I rode to Manhattan, Miami, Chicago, the Space Needle, Yellowstone, the Ryman Auditorium, Colorado Rockies, Old Faithful, Mt. Rushmore, Jackson Hole, and ended up back here in my beloved San Diego.  As soon as my feet hit the sand, the decision to move back was made and that was a year ago this month.

As fate would have it, I decided to leverage the expertise acquired in my career and join Manning Wealth Management, a San Diego-based registered investment advisor that is affiliated with Commonwealth Financial Network®.  Commonwealth is one of my former client firms (and in my opinion, the best broker-dealer out there!).

Oh, and I love ZZ Top, Vivaldi, smoking cigars, black-tie events, riding my Harleys, stand-up comedy, really really strong coffee, and above all else, the always amazing Jodi Fliss.

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What do you do?

I provide a much more personal approach to comprehensive investment services.  In addition to investment management, my firm specializes in unique strategies designed to help alleviate income and estate tax issues and works closely with clients’ CPAs and estate attorneys in doing so.  There are a number of strategies and services of which individuals and families are unaware.  All that is needed is the opportunity to learn more about their situation to identify where we can be of service and we often compliment the financial planning that has been done by their current advisor and work in conjunction with other advisors.

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What can you tell us about the current market?

Quite a bit, but I’ll try to keep it short.  I actually have a free Economic Insights newsletter to which readers can subscribe by emailing me at moc.m1544904990wgnin1544904990nam@e1544904990cnav1544904990.  The newsletter is educational, easy to read, features my media appearances, and keeps readers in-the-know on current happenings in the economy.

Speaking of which, we are at a very unique time from an historical perspective because for several years, the Federal Reserve has stimulated our economy via Quantitative Easing and by keeping interest rates (specifically the fed funds rate) artificially low.  To ensure I don’t sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher, allow me to paraphrase: essentially, the Fed’s efforts have allowed the U.S. economy to live Joe Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way,” which has been great, and we now have good fundamentals.  But this “free” party, like all parties, must come to an end, and the difficulty is that we can’t just end a multi-year party cold turkey without experiencing a hangover of epic magnitude.  The Fed needs to end this party slowly, gradually, and methodically, and I suspect it will.

Markets recently declined worldwide, but the U.S. should continue to fare well because of the overall structure of the economy, strong currency, and limited financial exposure.  As I write this, the Fed announced today that it will leave rates unchanged due to financial market instability and low inflation.  China has played a significant role in the volatility of the global economy, particularly with its unexpected devaluation of the Yuan, and China will likely be a source of further uncertainty and volatility.  One thing that should be of concern to investors is the negative impact rising interest rates will have on bonds.  Way too much to write here, but I am happy to share some insights over a Buzz Box and/or cigar.  These and other topics are covered in my newsletter, so I hope readers reach out to subscribe.

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Who are your firms’ clients? Who are your potential clients? Who can benefit from your services?

My firm’s core clients are business owners, executives, and high-net-worth individuals and families.  The aspect I value most in serving as a fiduciary is the opportunity to be of service to a broad range of individuals with whom I share similar interests.  As of now, I don’t have a minimum and I’ve structured this intentionally to allow the opportunity to serve people of varying financial situations for the long-term in guiding them in achieving their financial goals.  Most people can benefit from the services I provide, whether it be a rollover 401(k) or IRA situation, an “up and coming” entrepreneur, or a high-net-worth individual or family.  I often hear “…I have an investment person,” and one of my core competencies is investment management, but I’ve found that in most cases there is room to work adjunctively with a current advisor.  This can benefit a client by providing the comprehensive, holistic financial planning services in which my firm specializes.

I am saddened because we only have one week left in this polo this season—what am I going to do on Sundays now?—but I hope to see all the familiar faces of fellow polo enthusiasts between this season and next!  One last thing, please do me a personal favor: don’t text and drive.

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Vance Barse offers securities and advisory services through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. He is located at 401 B Street, Suite 2300, San Diego, CA 92101 and can be reached at 619-237-9977.

USPA Rossmore Cup Finals & White Party to benefit the San Diego Film Foundation

The San Diego Polo Club hosted its USPA Rossmore on September 6, with its annual White Party to benefit the San Diego Film Foundation. The San Diego Film Foundation is an educational, 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that produces the annual San Diego Film Festival and hosts year-round, cinema-related events to foster and promote the film community in San Diego.

Guests entered the gates modeling their white ensembles. Before taking their seats, guests strolled around the venue, taking a look at our vendors including Buzz Box cocktails, JL Rocha leather goods, and Roast Coach.

For a quick (and fun) recap, watch the USPA Rossmore Cup & White Party Video below.

Brazilian-Dancers

Patrons enjoyed an intermission show of Brazilian Drumming/Dancing as they celebrated Brazilian Independence Day.

Sacha Boutros de Cázares had the pleasure of singing the national anthem. San Diego native, Sacha, has gone from gigging at a few San Diego clubs and U.S. festivals to touring the world and back, to having her recordings hit the top of the charts in Japan and on e­music, to even receiving a Grammy nod for best jazz and Latin jazz album in 2008 and 2013.

The feature match of the day began at 3:00pm between Twin Palms/Roseville Motors in blue and Pasion sporting the day’s theme of white. Merridee Books, Vice President of Development of The San Diego Film Foundation had the honors of doing the first ball throw-in.

The first chukker concluded with two goals from Graham Bray and Chris Maloney for Twins Palms/Roseville Motors. In Chukker Two, Kimo Huddleston and Diego Velarde each scored a goal for Pasion.

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Chukker Three left the game tied with one more goal from Patrick Uretz representing Twin Palms/Roseville Motors and another goal from Diego Velarde representing Pasion.

With the score at 3-3, the teams entered the fourth chukker. Uretz, Bray, and Maloney scored three goals for Twin Palms/Roseville Motors and Velarde scored once more for Pasion.

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In the 5th chukker, Bray took a hard bump from the opposing team, knocking both him and his horse on to the ground. The horse rolled on top of Bray before running back to the tie rails. Bray sat on the field for some time and while his fellow players told him to take it easy and sit out for the remainder of the game, Bray pushed them aside, wiped off the blood and mounted up. In the final two chukkers, Bray played his hardest.

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By the sixth chukker the score was 8-7 with Twin Palms/Roseville Motors in the lead. Diego Velarde scored two more goals for Pasion. Maloney and Bray together scored three goals in the final chukker leaving the final score at 11-9, Twin Palms/Roseville Motors.

Alice Collins presented Chris Maloney with the Best Playing Pony Award for his horse Pulona.

USPA’s Mike Uretz presented the winning team with awards. Eric Hammon, Patrick Uretz, Graham Bray and Chris Maloney.

Needless to say, Graham Bray won the Most Valuable Player Award. He’s one of the most skilled horsemen in the sport and one of the toughest guys on the field.

USPA Rossmore Cup MVP

Absolute Leisure: Spending Sunday Polo with Shane Baum & Chris Klein

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A few years back, CEO, CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) member, Shane Baum of Leisure Society, fell in love with the game of polo. It all started when Mr. Baum won polo lessons for his two daughters, Holland and Auna, at a silent auction. While at the lesson with his daughters, he was asked if he would like to join the lesson, so he thought, “Why not?!”
Now, polo has become a passion that borders an addiction.
 As a result, Shane now owns two polo ponies and, along with his family, spends most weekends in the barn taking care of his horses and playing as much polo as possible. Shane has been eager to sponsor a polo club and after attending several matches at the San Diego Polo Club, he found his home. Shane is delighted to have his company, Leisure Society, be the official eyewear sponsor of the San Diego Polo Club 2015 season.
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On Sunday, August 23rd, Leisure Society hosted an elegant tailgate with 50 VIP guests from Los Angeles, Orange County and the surrounding San Diego area. Several VIP guests in attendance included: Shane Baum, Erin MacAlpine, Actor Chris Klein and his wife Laina Klein, Alex Beh, Ashley Stern, Liz James, Tim and Polina Mudrick, fellow CFDA peer and TOMS Eyewear Creative Director John Whitledge, Zack and Carly Bates, David and Aimee Rueda and Seth and Jenny Nelson.
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 Highlights started early in the day at the Leisure Society sponsored polo lessons before the pros kicked-off at 1pm. Long time horseman and first time polo player, actor Chris Klein, having a beginner and quintessential yet dramatic fall off the horse. Klein was playing in his first game of polo ever during our morning polo lessons and with the active encouragement of a vocal audience, Klein found himself over committed and took a slow motion fall off the polo saddle onto the ground.  Everything seemed fine, until we realized that his left foot was still in the stirrup.  We simultaneously gasped in horror as the horse began to kick and pick up speed as Klein bounced around like a rag doll, or better yet, a seasoned Hollywood stuntman doubling in a John Wayne movie. It lasted only moments and I was positive that Chris was maimed or even worse.  Eventually, his boot was pulled off his foot and he laid there limp and motionless, the horse went on its way.  Klein hopped up, regrouped, brushed off/spit out the dust, slipped the boot back on and remounted his steed.  It was a true Clint Eastwood moment, the stuff of legends.  Klein, ever the actor, was quite upset that none if it was captured on film. It seemed so grisly that all cameras were seemingly deafened by the severity of the situation.  I’m happy to report that Klein made it to the festivities later in the day, bruised in ways only a true horseman knows…a courageous moment.

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In the afternoon, Leisure Society designer and CEO, Shane Baum and Erin MacAlpine hosted guests at their tailgate with up-close, panoramic views of the match with ponies racing at 30mph up and down the field.
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A close game with the winning trophy going to the Roseville Motors Cars. Shane, on behalf of Leisure Society, was truly honored to award their MVP, Graham Bray, with Leisure Society Cambridge sunglass: 24ct gold-plated titanium and polarized CR-39 lens with a 12-layer Diamond Cast anti-reflective coating.

Father’s Day Brunch & Rancho Santa Fe Cup Finals

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The San Diego Polo Club (SDPC) celebrated Father’s Day on Field 5 with a special Father’s Day Brunch. Guests enjoyed a brunch buffet and coffee while enjoying a day full of equestrian fun.

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Gates opened at 11:00am as guests and their fathers enjoyed items from a wonderful brunch menu that included Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits, Crème Brulee French Toast Casserole, Spice Rubbed Tri Tip and an Andouille Sausage Carving Station, along with Kale Caesar Salad, Fresh Fruit Platters, and Mini Carrot Cake Cupcakes.

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The first polo match of the day began at 11:30am between Adeptus Nutrition/Pasion and Von Furstenburg. Diego Cossio scored twice in the 1st Chukker for Von Furstenburg followed by one goal from Ashton Wolf representing Adeptus Nutrition/Pasion. By the 3rd Chukker Von Furstenburg had leaped ahead by one point from David Samaniego. Diego Cossio locked in the win in the Final Chukker with one more goal from Von Furstenburg; the final score being 5-3.

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We had the pleasure of hosting Rhianna Wilson as our national anthem singer during the day’s intermission. Rhianna Wilson is 17 years old and will be a Senior in High School this fall.  She is a 3rd Generation San Diego Native who resides in Ramona with her family. Rhianna is a Petty Officer in her NJROTC class at school and a vocal artist for the Girls Against Abuse Musical Charity.  She has had the honor to sing the National Anthem for the SD Padres, Rodeos, SPAWAR Ceremonies, but the one that has meant the most was for NBC’s Salute to Service aboard the Midway on Veteran’s Day this past November.

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The feature match of the day began at 1:30pm between Luna Polo and Night Watch. the 1st Chukker consisted of two goals from Diego Larregli representing Luna Polo and one goal from Diego Velarde representing Night Watch.

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In the 2nd Chukker Bernie Diaz scored for Night Watch. Topo Mendez brought Luna Polo ahead by one point soon after.

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Diego Larregli scored three goals in a row for Luna Polo in the 3rd Chukker. Diego Velarde scored one for Night Watch.

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In the 4th Chukker Diego Velarde and Manny Rodriguez scored for  Night Watch, leaving the final score in Luna Polo’s favor at 6-5.

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Diego Larregli won MVP with 5 goals on the afternoon. Steve Pollack presented Diego with a pair of sunglasses, courtesy of SDPC’s Official Eyewear Sponsor, Leisure Society.

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Opening Day Exceeds Expectations

Opening Day at the San Diego Polo Club has evolved into one of San Diego’s signature events, where people flock to the fields for thrilling polo, champagne, divot stomping and an incredible fashion scene. On Sunday, May 31, 2015, the San Diego Polo Club celebrated the kick-off of their 29th season in Rancho Santa Fe and 109th anniversary of polo in San Diego with a crowd exceeding 4,000, all to benefit local charity, Wounded Warrior Homes.

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One of the day’s most captured moments was at the entrance of the venue. The team at SDPC worked with local artists to build a wall made with recycled wood, succulents and plants arched with the letters “SD Polo”. Guests of all shapes and sizes posed in front of the SD Polo Wall. To see your photos, visit our Facebook Page.

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As an added feature, this year’s Opening Day showcased Southern California’s Food Truck Challenge and 3rd Annual Hot Rods for Heroes, a car and food truck competition. Over 100 hot rod cars, vintage autos and motorcycles were on display for everyone to peruse. Guests sampled food from the competing food trucks and tasted beers from San Diego’s finest craft breweries, including Ballast Point, Belching Beaver and Left Coast Brewing.

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The day started off with a game between Luna Polo (Virgil Kyle A, Jennifer Alexy A, Topo Mendez 2, Diego Lareggli 2) and San Fernando/San Judas (Roberto Estudillo A, Ramon Richard B.5, Francisco Guiquazu 3, Sam Sheike 1). Francisco Guiquazu scored the first goal on the afternoon and two total in the first chukker for San Fernando/San Judas and Topo Mendez shot one in for Luna Polo.

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In the second chukker, Jennifer Alexy, Topo Mendez and Diego Larregli all scored for Luna Polo, bringing the score 4 to 2 at half time.

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Diego Larregli came back strong with two goals in the third chukker and one in the fourth, bringing Luna Polo up to 7 goals. Francisco Guiquazu scored twice more for San Fernando/San Judas, but it wasn’t enough to take the win.

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Sempra Energy’s Executive Vice President, Jessie J. Knight  congratulated Luna Polo on their win on the trophy deck. Jessie J. Knight is chairman of San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (SDG&E); chairman of Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas), an affiliate of SDG&E; and executive vice president of external affairs for Sempra Energy. Jessie Knight was Mayor Faulconer’s chief aide when he was a City Council member and is also currently heading Mayor Faulconer’s new Chargers Stadium Task Force.

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After the first match, guests stomped the divots that were kicked up by the horses and sipped champagne! Among the stylish polo crowd were polo players, celebrities, entrepreneurs and scientists alike. Scott Eastwood, son of Clint, is currently filming 3 major motion pictures and just starred in The Longest Ride, but he found time to stomp divots and watch polo with friends.

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Guests in the VIP tent enjoyed complimentary Woodford Reserve tasters and mini-cocktails with the Kentucky bourbon and lemonade, our favorite way to enjoy the liquor.

A 1954 Bentley Mark VI Sedanca Custom owned by David Young of San Diego led the parade of teams for the featured match. The car is fully restored and the only one of its kind in existence today. He drove alongside J. Craig Venter’s 1963 vintage Jaguar XKE.

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Genomics entrepreneur and one of Time Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People in the World, J. Craig Venter pitched the first ball into play Sunday for the San Diego Polo Club’s Opening Day featured match. Venter is a biologist renowned for his contributions in sequencing the human genome and creating the first synthetic bacterial cell. He is founder and CEO of the J. Craig Venter Institute, co-founder and executive chairman of Synthetic Genomics Inc and co-founder and CEO of Human Longevity Inc.  His new privately held company is focused on extending the healthy, high performance of the human life span. He’s been called one of the most influential scientists of our time.  He is a proud graduate of UCSD, an avid sailor and a award winning rare car collector.

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The 3:00pm match featured Team Von Fuerstenberg (Stephan Goss B, Nour-Dean Anakar A.5, Nicole DeBurg B, David Samaniego A.5, Diego Cossio 3) vs. Adeptus/La Pasion (Tracee Brunetti B, Colleen Wilson A, Ashton Wolf 3, Kimo Huddleston 2). Co-owner of Team Von Fuerstenberg, Stephan Goss had the first two goals on the afternoon, which set the tone for the remainder of the day.

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Diego Cossio scored another for their team, bringing the score 3 to 0 at half time. In the third chukker, Cossio scored again, but Kimo Huddleston retaliated by putting two in for Adeptus/La Pasion.

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Tracee Brunetti also scored one for their team in the fourth chukker. Final score was 4 to 3, Team Von Fuerstenberg.

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It was a sweet win for the underdogs and new polo players, Nicole DeBurg and Stephan Goss of Team Von Fuerstenberg. Nicole is known as the COO of the J. Craig Venter Institute, as well as past CFO of the San Diego Housing Commission. Goss, 27 year old CEO of Zeeto Media— San Diego’s fastest growing sustainable internet marketing company– was lucky enough to celebrate his first win at the San Diego Polo Club on Opening Day in front of the massive crowd. Founding Member and Vice President of the San Diego Polo Club, Nour-Dean Anakar has volunteered countless hours to SDPC and deserved the win more than anyone else.  Team Von Fuerstenberg couldn’t have been happier.

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Publisher of Riviera Magazine, Ken St. Pierre presented both teams with gift bags on the trophy deck.

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Esteemed member of OC Polo and the USPA and CEO of Leisure Society, Shane Baum presented the winners with umbrellas and gifted the MVP, Diego Cossio, with a pair of luxury sunglasses. Leisure Society is an eyewear brand created by Mr. Baum as an extension of his perspective on what life should be: spending time with family, friends, and enjoying intimate moments of absolute leisure.

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Craig Venter presented Leo, owned by Colleen Wilson of Adeptus Nutrition, with the Best Playing Pony award- carrots!

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Guests enjoyed the 7th Chukker After Party presented by Riviera Magazine with beats by DJ Here.