Polo Players Edition

AUG 2018

Polo Players' Edition is the official publication of the U.S. Polo Association. Dedicated to the sport of polo, it features player profiles, game strategy, horse care, playing tips, polo club news and tournament results.

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P O L O R E P O R T 56 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N Gonzalez and Figueras tallied a combined three goals. Justin Klentner scored two in the final chukker of play to help the final count, but Antelope's early lead was too much to overcome. Antelope rode away with a solid, 17-12, victory in the Vic Graber Cup. Chava, owned by Santi Trotz, won her second consecutive Best Playing Pony recognition of the 12-goal tournament series. Most Valuable Player Hilario Figueras attributes his performance in the final to focusing on the basics. "My main strategy was to concentrate on hitting the ball smoothly and counting the players on the other team to create opportunities for our team. I am very proud of how the horses went today and how the team performed," he said. A few weeks later, Klentner Ranch celebrated its win the USPA Intra- Circuit after a tight final match against Novis Insurance, made up of Ivan Weiss (taking the reins from Geoff Palmer) and the rest of the Antelope team. They say revenge is sweet and after Klentner fell to virtually the same team in the previous final, it was hungry for victory. The first chukker of the match was déjà vu as Trotz and his teammates stormed the field, leaving Klentner Ranch in the dust, 3-0, to get the scoring started. Santi Wulff put Klentner Ranch on the board for the first time with a short penalty shot, but Novis Insurance kept its momentum going, scoring the next two goals from the field and creating a 5-1 spread midway through the second chukker. Wulff converted a second penalty to keep it in the game followed quickly by a goal from Trotz on a run down the field. Luke Klentner capitalized on his field position, scoring the final goal of the second chukker, 6-3, in favor of Novis Insurance. Klentner Ranch dominated the next two chukkers of play, scoring a combined six goals while holding Novis Insurance to a single goal from the penalty line. Justin Klentner added two of Klentner Ranch's tallies on goals from the field, pulling his team up by two goals after the fourth chukker, 9-7. Peke Gonzalez changed the game for Novis Insurance as he rode out into the fifth chukker on a white-faced mount named Poncho. Gonzalez changed the pace of the game, running coast-to-coast, scoring two goals from the field. A third goal from Trotz tied the score up with 10 goals a piece as the fifth chukker came to a close. It was looking like overtime as the eight players waited for the ball to be put into play in final chukker of regulation time. Klentner Ranch gained a small lead as Wulff scored from the penalty line, but it soon vanished as Gonzalez once again streaked down the field, tapping the ball through the uprights to tie once again, 11-11. With the clock ticking down, Wulff once again nudged Klentner Ranch ahead from the penalty line. A perfect pass from Luke Klentner to Bray went wide and Novis Insurance reclaimed possession of the ball with less than a minute and a half remaining. The whistle blew and Novis Insurance teed the ball up for a final Penalty 4 to tie the match up and send it to overtime. But Bray had eyes on the ball, stopping it before it crossed the goal mouth and sending it over to teammate Wulff as time ran out. Luke Klentner's defensive prowess earned him Most Valuable player honors. He said, "We had a team dinner last night and Santi [Wulff], Jesse [Bray], my dad and I were discussing our plan for the game and who would mark Trotz." Bray interjected, laughing, "Luke quickly told us Trotz was his for the game, not to worry. He did a really good job of marking Santi throughout the game and making clean plays on him. It helped us open the field up, which is what we struggled with against this team last time." Wulff has been a mainstay at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club for years but the USPA Intra Circuit title remained elusive until this year. Costi Caset's Poncho, played by Peke Gonzalez, was named Best Playing Pony. Poncho was also named Best Playing Pony in the 2016 Gulfstream Pacific Coast Open under Caset. Klentner's Santi Wulff, Jesse Bray, Luke Klentner and Justin Klentner won the 12-goal USPA Intra-Circuit Cup at Santa Barbara. Antelope's Santi Trotz, Geoff Palmer, Peke Gonzalez and Hilario Figueras won the Vic Graber Cup. DAVID LOMINSKA/POLOGRAPHICS.COM DAVID LOMINSKA/POLOGRAPHICS.COM

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