WELLINGTON, Fl., February 7, 2020—On another historical day for the World Polo League, the second season got under way Thursday with a new team winning the opener at windswept SD Farms Field.
Dundas (Sarah Siegel-Magness 0, Gringo Colombres 8, Sebastian Merlos 8, Jejo Taranco 8) came from behind to defeat J5 La Dolfina Breeding (Gonzalo Ferrari 4, Isidro Strada 7, Jero del Carril 7, Robertito Zedda 5), 10-7.
“I am absolutely thrilled,” WPL Commissioner Dale Smicklas said. “I can’t believe how well we started off this year right where we left off last year and maybe even better.
“The umpiring was absolutely perfect. The teams played the style of polo we talked about playing when we put this league together which is hit-and-run, very physical, thrilling polo. It is a new breed that we started last year. I am just thrilled and very happy with our first game.”
On Friday, a doubleheader is scheduled with Sebucan (Pablo Pulido 2, Tincho Merlos 8, Corcho Zavaleta 7, Nacho Novillo Astrada 8) playing SD Farms (Sayyu Dantata 2, Santi Torres 7, Guille Terrera 8, Juan Martin Zubia 8) at 1 p.m. at Jan Pamela Field. In the second game, Richard Mille (Camilo Castagnola 7, Pablo MacDonough 10, Barto Castagnola 7) will play Alegria (Matias Magrini 7, Nachi du Plessis 8, Freddie Mannix 7, Henry Porter 3) at Valiente Polo Farm at 4 p.m.
Two of the sport’s hottest players, brothers Barto and Camilo Castagnola will play for the first time together in the U.S. for Richard Mille.
With winds gusting up to 25 to 30 miles per hour, J5 La Dolfina Breeding jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the opening chukker with two goals on handicap and goals from Ferrari and Zedda.
Dundas started clawing its way back outscoring J5 La Dolfina Breeding, 2-0, in the second chukker to trail, 4-3. The teams played to a 1-1 tie in the third with J5 La Dolfina Breeding still leading by one goal, 6-5, at the half.
“It was the first time we played together and needed time to warm up,” Colombres said. “In the fourth and fifth chukkers we start playing a little better, the horses were better and we made a couple of runs.”
The teams again played to a 2-2 tie in the fourth chukker before Dundas took control and broke the game open with a 4-0 fifth chukker to take the lead, 10-7, for the first time.
In the fast-paced chukker, Colombres scored a quick goal to tie the game at 7-7. Taranco then gave his team the lead, 8-7, and Colombres scored two more goals, one from the field and the other on a penalty-four conversion. J5 La Dolfina Breeding was unable to play its way back into the game.
“I’m really happy to be playing in the World Polo League, it’s excellent,” said Colombres, who scored a game-high five goals. “We start the season with a new team and we won.”
It was the first time Colombres played with Merlos in his career.
“I have never played with Sebastian, he was amazing,” Colombres said. “He is easy to play with, a real 10-goal player.”
Merlos said the team regrouped at halftime and was able to come out stronger in the second half.
“We started moving the ball a bit more,” Merlos said. “Sarah did a great job with them and gave us some space at the right times. Gringo scored a few nice goals. We started to find our way of playing.
“Playing in this league is amazing, it’s very nice to play 26 goals,” Merlos said. “The speed and adrenaline and field was amazing. They were a good team. We know how to play, we just have to learn to play together. It took us three chukkers but I think we are going to get better and better.”
Other scorers for Dundas were Taranco with three goals and Merlos with two goals. Zedda led J5 La Dolfina Breeding with four goals. Ferrari added one.
“It was quite tough for us, it was the first time we played together with Gringo and Sebastian as a team,” Taranco said. “It was good fun. It took us a little while to recover. Luckily, we won the first day and that is important.”
The game was only the second high goal game for Siegel-Magness, who has been playing polo for five years. It was her second competitive game in two months after coming back from a torn groin injury.
“That was really hard today for me,” Siegel-Magness said. “When it’s a four-man pro team it is really hard to catch up to their speed which was double faster than the last game we played. My timing was off and I shanked the ball every time I hit it. Frustrating!
“Our team won which is important,” Siegel-Magness said. “Over time I am going to get better and better. This is another level of polo. I love playing in the World Polo League. It’s super challenging.”
It was Dundas’ second victory in three days. With a slightly different lineup, Dundas (Sarah Siegel-Magness 0, Guillermo Terrera 8, Jejo Taranco 8, Diego Cavanagh 8) had an impressive 14-9 victory over Palm Beach Equine led by 10-goaler Hilario Ulloa in $100,000 World Cup play on Tuesday.
Seminole Casino Coconut Creek is the hospitality sponsor for the World Polo League. Open 24/7, 365 days a year, Seminole Casino Coconut Creek presents a fully integrated, energized, stylish and upscale local’s casino experience, world-class dining, including its award-winning steakhouse, NYY Steak and live entertainment.