Interscholastic Polo Season begins in Southern CA

What is an Interscholastic Polo Program?

The Interscholastic/Intercollegiate, also know as the I/I Program, was developed by the United States Polo Association to help grow the sport and recruit new youth players. Local clubs are encouraged to get young players together during the fall semester for organized competition and regional and national tournaments. These programs help develop strong players’ sportsmanship and horsemanship, plus they have a ton of fun doing it!

Who can play Interscholastic Polo?

Anyone! We have two teams in the San Diego program ranging from age 12 to 16 and we just had our first scrimmage against OC Polo.  Most kids have a strong riding background and some polo experience. San Diego Surf Polo Club also offers lessons to help develop skill, strategy and knowledge of the rules, so while you’re competing, you’re also training and developing as a player.

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Julie Empey is a die-hard polo fanatic. She’s one of San Diego’s best instructors and focuses her energy on our youth programs, including the Interscholastic/Intercollegiate program, Work to Ride Program and youth lessons. She also plays an integral part of southern California polo, connecting multiple polo clubs in the Pacific Coast Circuit to join together for tournaments and league play. Julie is an USPA Certified Umpire and USPA Certified Polo Instructor, making her one of four in all of California!

cpi-logoMore info:  760-994-7667 or *protected email*

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  • We have 7 kids signed up in our Interscholastic Program ranging in age from 12 to 16.
  • October 8 kicked off our Interscholastic Polo Program with a scrimmage against OC Polo.
  • San Diego Surf Polo Club provides a string of polo ponies for the San Diego Interscholastic teams to ride. However, when they play against other teams, they are required to ride at least one horse they’ve never ridden, often belonging to the other team. This can be quite challenging for our students, but a great way to improve and develop horsemanship and riding skills.
  • According to the United States Polo Association, 150 women and 97 men compete in collegiate polo.
  • Students are able to receive a VARSITY letter in polo!
  • The Interscholastic/Intercollegiate Program is affordable and anyone can play!

 

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!

Polo Ponies

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Polo Ponies by Andrea Damewood

From champion-level players to devoted amateurs, the marriage of a rider and his horse in polo is a bond unrivaled in sports. Memo Gracida, perhaps the best polo player in the world, checks on them before he sleeps. Pablo Llorente, president of the Argentina Polo Players Association and a top breeder, says that a good pony makes all the difference in competition.

Elite players are so attached to their best ponies—bred for speed, agility and demeanor—that today they’re willing to pay upwards of $100,000 to harness new technology and clone their most beloved horses. Spearheaded by the cloning of renowned Argentina player Adolfo Cambiaso’s star stallion Aiken Cura, the practice of creating replica ponies for play has been growing steadily over the last five years.

Daniel Juarez, a head pro and former breeder based in West Linn, Ore., calls it “probably the most interesting and exciting thing” happening in the polo world. He pointed to the recent US Open in Florida, where Cambiaso played two clone horses. Llorente says that the best horse he’s ever seen play is Cambiaso’s mare Cuartetera. She’s been cloned as well, with her offspring playing in matches today.“It’s awesome to see four or five clones of one ‘crack’ playing together in a match,” Llorente says.

The cloned horse, created from the cells of a top equestrian athlete, will resemble its predecessor right down to the markings—which may not be exact, but will certainly be in the same place. Players have found that despite being raised at a different time or in a different environment, these “children” of the original pony will have the same athletic ability, temperament and disposition.

But the high cost of cloning means the majority of polo ponies are still being bred via embryos carried in a surrogate mare, as they have been for the last couple of decades, Juarez explains. That allows the top mare to continue playing in matches while the colt spends the four or five years it needs to be fully trained under the care of another mother.

And no matter how the pony is born, players—many of whom can own dozens of horses and play nine different ponies in a game—are looking for specific characteristics. Historically, polo horses were about 14 hands tall; today, they range in the 15 to 16 hand range. Juarez says his top mare, Dairy Queen, is just over 15 hands.

“She’s the complete package,” he says. “She’s compact, powerfully built, she’s got speed, and she’s got the ability to change directions without even thinking about it. I don’t even have to think about what I do, I just do it.”

Training, veterinary care and nutrition have all improved tremendously, players say. Former Governor of the USPA Pacific Coast Circuit, Glen Holden, says, “The biggest change in polo in the last ten years has been the quality of the horses. In the early days of American polo, many of the ponies resulted from the breeding of ranch mares to Thoroughbred stallions. In contrast, many of the polo ponies today are Thoroughbreds from the racetrack.

A well-built horse of a player’s dreams includes physical characteristics—known as a pony’s conformation—including large muscling in the hindquarters, strong, clean legs and a supple neck. A good feature is a close-coupled back, which allows for those critical tight turns during play.

Training is also key. Experienced breeders know that even if the pony has the best athletic ability, it still has to have its skills harnessed and broken to the demands of polo play. Those early years are spent training and conditioning a horse to “accelerate to full speed, change direction or slow down to zero in the shortest distance,” Gracida has said.

The horse must also be able to act as one with its rider, and must be conditioned to “have patience and perseverance and to play and play and play,” Llorente says.

Horses are brought on slowly: players will put four-year-olds into club chukker matches and really immerse them in tournament play at six. A pony isn’t considered “made,” or completely trained, until it has has two full seasons of polo. The time and effort of training and care mean starting with a well-bred pony that has success in its very genes is of utmost importance.

“The horses are paramount,” Juarez says. “They’re the most important thing. You can overcome a lot of deficiencies in other parts of your game if you’ve got top horses.”

The Life of Willis Allen

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[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Willis M. Allen – Willis Allen, 93 years of age, passed away on June 13, 2004 at his home in La Jolla, California.  Willis Allen, the son and grandson of rear admirals, was born in Philadelphia.  He was married to Ruth Annable, who also shared his passion for polo ponies.

As a youth in Connecticut, he became enamored with polo, a sport he would play up to two weeks before his death.  His last game being played at Lakeside Polo Club with seven other members of his family, including two daughters, two grandkids, two great grandchildren and his son-in-law (4 generations).  Willis may have been the oldest active polo player in the history of the game at age 93.

At age 19, he accompanied some friends in driving from Greenwich, Connecticut to San Diego where he found work at Stables in Mission Valley.  He later sold automobiles, schooled polo ponies and competed in an arena on the old show grounds in Coronado.

In the 1930’s he purchased half interest in the College Riding Academy at 70th and El Cajon Boulevard, renting horses for 1 cent per minute.  They had a local polo club using the best of the rental horses and had only four mallets, so when switching players they had to share mallets.  From this start, Willis Allen ventured in other business interests, selling insurance policies, real estate and eventually establishing separate mortgage and insurance firms to compliment his real estate business.  His real estate firm became one of the largest independently owned companies in San Diego County.

Willis went overseas in the Navy during World War II, serving in the Pacific and left the Navy as a Lieutenant Commander. He loved to talk about Polo in the South Pacific and Hawaii during and after the war years.  His stories about the old days, playing polo on the beach at La Jolla Shores during low tide and Mission Valley were truly amazing.

Willis had a love for polo that took him too many parts of the United States and several countries around the world.  He was the recipient of the first annual sportsmanship award presented by the United States Polo Association.  He played in the U.S. Polo Nationals in Oakbrook, Illinois.  He represented the USA on a 1960’s team that included Bob Skeen and others in New Zealand and Australia.  He played in England and numerous other countries.

At age 70, Willis played on the Winning Team in the Eldorado Polo Club Senior’s Tournament.

Willis was a Founding Member of San Diego and Eldorado Polo Clubs and a long time member of Lakeside Polo Club.  Willis also indulged an interest in recreational flying. He was more than an Eldorado Polo founder he actually discovered the acreage by searching in his private plane.  Later the games on several fields would pause while he landed his plane and until Willis could taxied clear of the action.

Willis was a great supporter of youth polo, generously donating his time and money to help the young and upcoming players. He felt that the young players needed special recognition and came up with the San Diego Polo Club Willis Allen award to be presented annually to a young player exhibiting all the elements of a true sportsman.  The elements are, gamesmanship, mallet work, sportsmanship but most importantly horsemanship.

Willis was honored by the Polo Hall of Fame in 2003, being presented with the Iglehart Award.  Willis served a USPA Pacific Coast Circuit Governor from 1969 – 1974.

Willis has many polo friends all over the world, written about in several books and won many polo games but the thing he valued most was the friends he made playing polo.

He taught that the competition itself was not important; it was how you played the game. Any young player that he could impact, he jumped at the opportunity to share his infinite wisdom with.  He had a warm smile and kind word for everyone but was feisty to the bone out on the polo field. His love of the sport has inspired many to be a better polo player and his love of life is something we should strive to emulate.

Willis leaves a memory of many years of polo going back to before 1940. He will be missed by his many friends worldwide.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][vc_column_text]
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″ animation=”none” column_padding=”padding-10-percent” column_padding_position=”all” background_color=”#8da8bf” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″][testimonial_slider style=”default” color=”default”][testimonial title=”Testimonial” tab_id=”1468705784499-3″ name=”The Crowder Family” quote=”The first time I saw him was about 1980 and he was sitting on a horse in Indio. I thought he was an old cowboy from West Texas or the foothills of Colorado. Willis looked just like many of those hard and as tough as rawhide. He had a glint in his eye that said “try me young feller. Make my day.“ Little did I know he was rich, famous and the most important man in Southern California Polo. Willis was the tick behind the clock in making Eldorado the biggest club in the U.S. and he was the Godfather of San Diego Polo Club. He made it happen and I think that’s the way he was. Willis made it happen. He knew horses, people and power. Willis never used these things for anything else, only to improve someone or something he liked. I do not know if he ever used it for anything he did not like because it would be gone and you would never know it. My son, Jason, won the Willis Allen award a few years ago and he thought that was the coolest thing because he really liked to ask him questions so he could hear Willis talk. He did talk just enough to make you really enjoy that sparkle in his eye and he leaves polo for the big one in the sky. Guess what Artie and Big Gee & Eric Friden? You now have a boss up there. Our thoughts are with his family.” id=”1468706297129-9″]

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[/testimonial][testimonial title=”Testimonial” tab_id=”1468705784883-8″ name=”Russ Sheldon” subtitle=”Grandfather of Poway Polo Club” quote=”I will always remember Willis Allen for his good humor, love of polo and as a good friend to everyone. I first met Willis at Lakeside Polo Club when I took my grandkids, Shane & Danika Rice to some kids polo chukkers. When Willis saw how much they loved Polo, he told me the only way they were going to get to be good polo players was to have a horse that already knew polo. He sent us to his ranch in Julian to pick up “Cookie” a great polo pony he had purchased from Tommy Wayman, played and then retired her to pasture. He said when the kids are done with her, take her back to the Ranch & we will do the same for my great grandkids when they are ready. Cookie never made it back to the ranch as she won the hearts of all my grandkids, teaching them not only polo but how to love and care for horses. Willis knew what the kids needed and made sure they got what they needed because to him all polo players were family.

I also had the pleasure of sharing a special game of Polo at San Diego Polo Club with Willis and his family playing my family in a two chukker pre-game match. Four generations on his side and three on mine, we were all winners for knowing Willis. Willis was a great supporter of youth polo, generously donating his time and money to help the young and upcoming players. He felt that the young players needed special recognition and came up with the Willis Allen award to be presented annually to young players exhibiting good sportsmanship, playing ability but most importantly horsemanship. He was always there to make sure the local Interscholastic Polo Team had what they needed to be able to travel to the National Finals for the last six years. It was super for him and Harry to share with the Chris Collins family young Chris playing in the Interscholastic National Championship game this last April. It was neat for Great Grandpa, Grandpa and family to travel to Texas for some special time together during this tournament.

Willis was honored by the Polo Hall of Fame in 2003, being presented with the Iglehart Award. Both he and Joe Rizzo received the award in 2003 and both pasted away this year. Willis has many Polo friends all over the world, written about in several books and won many polo games but the thing he valued most was the friends he made playing polo.

We will miss you Willis but you will always remain with us in all the fond memories you provided. Keep the polo fields green up there and the ponies ready – we will see you again.“” id=”1468706297222-2″]

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[/testimonial][testimonial title=”Testimonial” tab_id=”1468705892103-9″ name=”Sherry Sheldon” subtitle=”Poway Polo Club” quote=”Willis Allen has helped my family so much with polo that words can not come close to expressing my gratitude. He gave us the best gift of a horse named “Cookie“. Many of you saw Shane, Danika, Jared and many other children getting their start playing polo on that horse. To this day, the best polo I have ever played was with Willis at Lakeside Polo Club. We all would be laughing during the chukkers, having the best time and telling me I reminded him of his grandaughter. I will cherish the memories of playing with him along with his family. The video of the Allen/Collins 4 generations playing the 3 generations of Sheldons will be one of my most valued treasures. His sponsorship of the Willis Allen Award at the San Diego Polo Club to promote sportsmanship along with playing ability for the young players hopefully will live on. Willis, I hope you and Cookie are now playing polo in heaven together. Look for those special polo balls that are marked with yours and Cookie’s names.” id=”1468706297274-5″]
[/testimonial][testimonial title=”Testimonial” tab_id=”1468705932172-4″ name=”Tom Goodspeed” subtitle=”Previous General Manager of San Diego Polo” quote=”If there was ever a story of a life that is to be celebrated as opposed to mourning, that would be the story of Willis Allen. My heart goes out to all of the family for their tremendous loss, but at the same time, how fortunate we all have been to know the man.

I have always admired his love of horses and his genuine interest of young players in the game of polo. Several years back, Willis agreed to have a trophy named after him, that would honor a young player who possessed all the elements of a true sportsman. The elements were horsemanship, gamemanship, malletwork, and above all, sportsmanship.

I was also gifted to have played at Lakeside this past year along with Willis. It was the first opportunity that I had to witness the routine Willis had to continue to participate in the sport that he so loved in his golden years. I sat and listened to his wonderful stories at his tackroom, and then witnessed his ceremony of mounting up onto his thoroughbred pony. Horse placed appropriately for ease of mount, and the mallet hanging on a well placed nail on route to the arena.

In the chukker, I tried to get the ball to Willis, only to have Willis immediately set me back up for a run to goal. It was an honor to receive an assist from a living legend.

I was so touched to hear the story of Willis’s dream to be a polo pro, but then realized if he were to capture the heart of his long time wife and partner, Ruth, he was going to have to get a better paying job. The rest is history. A wonderful history, that the families will be able to cherish.

I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to know Willis-he always had kind words and wonderful stories.“” id=”1468706297319-7″]
[/testimonial][testimonial title=”Testimonial” tab_id=”1468706044479-3″ name=”Chris Collins Jr.” quote=”A man we will never forget. We will always remember the stories and advice in between the chukkers. If you ever got to play with him at Lakeside Polo Club or anywhere you could always tell how much he loved the game. Truly he looked better on a horse than he did walking around. He was never afraid to go into a play at 93. I remember going down the field about a month ago and I was going full out down the field and he was right there next to me trying to ride me off. It scared the crap out of me, but he always knew that he knew what he was doing. At Lakeside also before every chukker he would ride up to me and say “you have to tell me where the ball is because I cant see it as well anymore.“ And always before a big game right when is was starting to play in like the four goal he would always ask “Now how many times have you gone to the bathroom.“ Then he would tell me that when he was younger and just starting out that he was so nervous he would have to go to the bathroom. I don’t know just one of those stories. Another thing that I will never forget is his tail. He could always get you the ball if he was hitting a tailshot. I know that the people that knew him will never forget him and his funny stories even if you heard them 3 or 4 times. We will always love you Willis and you are not going to be forgotten.” id=”1468706297372-7″]
[/testimonial][testimonial title=”Testimonial” tab_id=”1468706080823-10″ name=”Jessica Spreckels Burch” quote=”My husband and I have had the honor on many occasions to play with Willis in Lakeside. I personally enjoyed Willis’s great humor and spirit! When I first met Willis it was out in Lakeside. After a brief conversation, I mentioned to him that my Great Grandfather donated the trophy for the Spreckels Cup. He then mentioned to me that he had met my Great Grandfather many years back. I was completely taken back that I was, “actually talking to someone that had met my grandfather.” Willis mentioned that he was in his teens at the time. He played polo in front of the Hotel Del Coronado and that is how they met. I feel truly honored to have had a friendship with Willis. ” id=”1468706297423-7″]
[/testimonial][testimonial title=”Testimonial” tab_id=”1468706144324-6″ name=”Kip Hering” subtitle=”Lakeside Polo Club” quote=”Willis was my Dad’s best friend. They played polo together for the better parts of six decades, from the 30’s through the 80’s. Willis, Jess Mc Millin, and my father Bud Hering played their infamous “low tide” matches in front of the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club in 1940.

In retrospect, I think Willis was everybody’s best friend. There was never an unimportant person in his life. He made us all feel special. He loved the Lakeside Polo Club and we loved him. He would ride up to a prospective new member or visitor before the first chukker and tell them quietly “ this is a friendly club, we play hard and have fun but we don’t holler, we only give encouragement”. He always had a kind word and a bit of wisdom to share, like “remember, you can pass the ball faster than your horse can run”.

We will miss his wisdom, his friendly encouragement and most of all the sincerity of his friendship. So long Ol’ Buddy, we’ll try to carry on in the spirit and tradition that you instilled in us.” id=”1468706297494-3″]
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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

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.

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.

Meet the Man on the Cover.

2015 SDPC Magazine Cover

Meet the man on the cover of 2015’s annual 116-page San Diego Polo Club Magazine, Christopher Collins. Chris Collins grew up at the San Diego Polo Club, learning to play polo from his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, Willis Allen, the original founders of the club. Chris has grown into a tremendous player and great guy both on and off the field.

How did you get into polo?
My Father, Grandfather and most importantly Great Grandfather got me into the sport at a very young age.  They all shared their individual passion for the sport, which ultimately got me passionate about this great game.
Collins Family

What is a special memory you have with the SD Polo Club?
Having the opportunity to play with my dad, my grandfather, and my great-grandfather, is definitely one of my best memories at the San Diego Polo Club. I was only 11 years old but I can still remember how nervous I was before the game. Another great memory is winning the Spreckels Cup for the first time in 2010 with my dad. Finally, even though I’m not sure how much of this I actually remember, one of my best memories was attending my first polo match just two days after I was born. I was in a stroller on the sidelines for the very first game at the San Diego Polo Club.

Where would you like to see the sport head in the next 10 years?
We need to keep the sport growing and continue to get more people involved, informed and in love with this amazing game. I want to see more people taking lessons and I strongly encourage everyone to do so. I think the USPA has done a great job with Team USPA in farming young American players and giving them opportunities they would have never had 5 years ago. If we can keep improving young polo players we will improve the sport here in the U.S. and make us even more competitive on a global scale.

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What has been your favorite moment in polo?
My favorite moment was when I was playing on team USA, and we beat Canada in the qualifying rounds to move on to the World Cup tournament in San Louis, Argentina. We were defiantly the underdog going into that final game of the tournament and we all played as hard as we could to eventually win the game.

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Where have you traveled to for polo?
I have been fortunate to play in many countries including, England, Argentina, and South Africa and the Dominican Republic.  I have also be able to travel to Wellington Florida, Dallas, TX, New York, Virginia, New Mexico and Colorado.

  Spreckels-winners-2013
What do you hope to accomplish still in polo?
I am still trying to achieve the highest handicap I can while being a full-time professional in commercial real estate.  I would also like to keep traveling and playing around the world as often as time allows.
Chris-Collins-Action

What player most influences you?
Willis Allen was a huge influence on me growing up.  He had such a drive for not only the game but the horses.  He had an understanding for the horses that most people overlook.  I pride myself on being half as good as he was with the horses and with the patience he exhibited in the time I was able to spend with him.

What do you love most about polo? 

The adrenaline every time you step on the field. After that, the horses and team aspect of the game.  Nothing beats those three things.
Pick up your copy of the 2015 San Diego Polo Magazine on Opening Day, Sunday, May 31, 2015.

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.

USPA-Spreckels-Cup-2014-San-Diego-Polo-Club- Closing-Day-Woodford-Reserve-Santa Fe Hunt

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

USPA Spreckels Cup Finals & Closing Day presented by Woodford Reserve – September 28

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Closing Day at the San Diego Polo Club

USPA Spreckels Cup presented by Woodford Reserve to benefit Heels2Heal

Sunday, September 28, 2014


The San Diego Polo Club (SDPC) celebrates 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 is the exclusive charity partner with specific ticket and auction proceeds benefiting the organization. The San Diego Polo Club is located at 14555 El Camino Real, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067. The event will take place from 12:30pm to 6:00pm on Sunday, September 28, 2014.
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SCHEDULE:

Gates Open 12:30pm
Santa Fe Hunt 1:00pm
Fashion show by Sonya Berg Zen Fashionista 1:30pm
Feature Match & Finals of the USPA Spreckels Cup 2:00pm
Divot Stomp presented by Korbel California Champagne 2:45pm
Trophy Presentation 3:30pm
After Party featuring DJ Beatnick 4-6pm

FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT:

Local and international polo players will compete for the United States Polo Association sanctioned 105-year-old Spreckels Cup trophy in front of an estimated 1,500 spectators. 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. The first Spreckels match was in 1909 and winners were presented with a dramatic silver trophy over two feet high.

Spreckels-Cup

Engraved on the trophy is 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. It is the most important polo tournament in southern California and provides a tangible link across the years between the players of today, John D. Spreckels, and the band of polo players that had such an influence on the sport and upon the San Diego Polo Club. The actual tournament is played for three weeks and the final championship match will be held on Sunday, September 28, 2014 at 2:00pm in front of the Sunday Polo crowd.

Santa Fe Hunt

Prior to the match at 1:00pm, guests will enjoy 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.

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Heels2Heal is a non-profit that creates positive change within the San Diego community by supporting non-profit organizations that promote healing and education for underprivileged, critically-ill, abused women and children. Founder of Heels2Heal, Kat Cowling states, “Heels2Heal is honored to be a part of this prestigious polo match benefiting Heels2Heal and San Diego Youth Services, a non profit organization that provides financial and emotional assistance to improve the lives of homeless, abused and at-risk youth. Together we will make a difference in their lives.”  Guests can support Heels2Heal by purchasing Gold VIP tickets or participating in the silent auction.

Sonya Berg Zen FashionistaHeels2Heal Chair and polo player, Sonya Berg, Zen Fashionista, will produce a one-of-a-kind Fashion Show with surprise celebrity models at 1:30pm featuring local boutiques.

Polo-After-Party-with-DJ-BeatnickAfter the match, join polo players, members and guests for the anticipated 7th Chukker After Party featuring DJ Beatnick from 3:30-6pm.

SUGGESTED ATTIRE:

Celebrate “Hat Day” on September 28 and sport your favorite hat or fascinator to the polo match. Red is also the color of the day, which will match the gorgeous red roses that fill the Spreckels trophy and the coats of the lead huntsman of the Santa Fe Hunt. Women are encouraged to wear simple and stylish sundresses with a wedge or flat shoe. Men often wear sport coats, interesting patterned shirts and bow ties, although it is not necessary. A collared shirt and slacks will do just fine. Take advantage of the occasion and the closing ceremonies and dress to impress.

TICKET INFORMATION (PURCHASE TICKETS HERE):

SDPC has multiple ticket options, ranging from VIP to picnicking with your family. The VIP tent ($350-450/table of 10) is a center field grandstand that seats 500 on Closing Day. It’s an elevated, shaded area with wait staff for both food and beverage service. Garden Seating ($25) is a field-side reserved area with tables and umbrellas for shade. General admission ($12) is first come, first served with umbrella tables, cocktail tables and picnic tables. If you are interested in tailgating ($10pp or $75 for a reserved space and admission for 4) on the east side of the field, we encourage you to pack a picnic and enjoy the game from the tailgate of your car. Parking is $10 per car.

BUY TICKETS FOR CLOSING DAY

FOOD & BEVERAGE:
We have two full bars serving craft cocktails on draft, an assortment of spirits, local craft beer, hand selected wines, and of course, champagne! Woodford Reserve will be mixing specialty cocktails for guests in the Woodford Reserve Lounge. The main bar is accessible to all guests, while the VIP tent has wait staff. Cash and credit accepted.

The Sunday Polo Kitchen is presented by The Wild Thyme Company, offering plates to share or more traditional sandwiches, salads and daily specials. Their food is both classic and trendsetting while maintaining the highest standards of culinary excellence with an emphasis on seasonal options. Cash and credit accepted.

More information available online at www.SanDiegoPolo.com

2013-spreckels-cup-winners2013 USPA Spreckels Cup Winners