Mariano Gonzalez Sr.

Mariano Gonzalez Sr.

Originally from Argentina, 7-goaler Mariano Gonzalez Sr. is now a U.S. citizen. He started riding at age four and has been active on the polo field since age nine. He is the father of 19-year-old Mariano “Peke” Gonzalez Jr., who can also hold his own in the sport, rated as a 5-goaler. In recent years, they can often be found playing together on the same team. Highlights from 2018 include the East Coast Open Final at the Greenwich Polo Club and the Ylvisaker Cup Final at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, where Gonzalez’s team GSA narrowly fell to powerhouse Valiente 8-6. Look for him back in action on the Equuleus team this season at IPC with Joe DiMenna, Iñaki Laprida and Magoo Laprida.

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Mariano “Peke” Gonzalez Jr.

Mariano “Peke” Gonzalez Jr.

Mariano “Peke” Gonzalez Jr., now 19, is a rising polo star and the latest generation in a polo-playing dynasty. The son of 7-goaler Mariano Gonzalez Sr., the younger Gonzalez currently sports a 5-goal handicap. He has been quickly rising through the ranks of the sport. Following a season that included action here in Wellington and at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in California, Gonzalez was given the high honor of representing the United States in the Westchester Cup last summer at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club in England with Julio Arellano, Jeff Hall and Nic Roldan. Look for him this season at the International Polo Club Palm Beach playing on Maureen Brennan’s Iconica team alongside Sebastian Merlos and Matias Magrini.

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Guillermo “Sapo” Caset Jr.,

Guillermo “Sapo” Caset Jr.,

Polo runs in the family for Argentine 10-goaler Guillermo “Sapo” Caset Jr., who was in the saddle by age five, hitting a ball around the field. As a teen, he quickly soared from a 1-goal handicap to a 6-goal handicap. By 2011, Caset had established himself as one of the best players in the world, reaching the coveted 10-goal rating, which he maintains to this day. Last season at IPC, Caset was named MVP of the Joe Barry Memorial Cup tournament final, which his team Tonkawa won with a 12-9 victory over Villa del Lago/Modere. When not in Wellington, Caset can be found competing with Las Monjitas Polo in Argentina and RH Polo in the United Kingdom. Caset will be back in action with Tonkawa in 2019, alongside Jeff Hildebrand, Agustin “Tincho” Merlos and Sterling Giannico.

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Sayyu Dantata

Sayyu Dantata

Nigerian oil and gas billionaire Sayyu Dantata will be playing on the field at the International Polo Club Palm Beach this season with his SD Farms team alongside Peco Polledo, Juan “Tito” Ruiz Guiñazu and Jesse Bray. An American-educated mechanical engineer, Dantata returned home to his native Nigeria to begin the energy conglomerate that became MRS Holdings, growing it into one of the nation’s largest companies. Polo has long been a passion for Dantata, who is known to be low-key despite his wealth. However, he is revered in the growing Nigerian polo community as a patron and also ranks as a strong player. Rated as a 2-goaler in the U.S., he saw some action on the field at IPC last season. Expect to see much more of him this year.

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Sebastian Merlos

Sebastian Merlos

Sebastian Merlos has a fierce passion for horses, making him one of the strongest horsemen playing polo today. The 46-year-old Argentine native is one of the few elite polo players in the world to achieve the coveted 10-goal ranking. Now playing as a 9-goaler, he has captured the titles of every major tournament in more than 18 countries. Merlos played for Travieso in 2017, making it all the way to the U.S. Open semifinals. He was back in action with Travieso last season at the International Polo Club Palm Beach. He returns to Wellington after playing on La Cañada during the fall season in Argentina with Ezequiel Martinez Ferrario, Agustín Obregon and Jared Zenni. Look for him this season at IPC on the Iconica team with Maureen Brennan, Peke Gonzalez and Matias Magrini.

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The Best Is Yet To Come In 2019 At The International Polo Club Palm Beach

The Best Is Yet To Come In 2019 At The International Polo Club Palm Beach

The International Polo Club Palm Beach welcomes back another elite season of world-class polo beginning Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, and continuing for 17 weeks until Sunday, April 21, 2019. The 2019 season will host teams and spectators from around the world.

Sprawling nearly 250 acres of pristine turf and South Florida landscape, the iconic venue has captivated the attention of polo enthusiasts for decades.

Nestled in the heart of Wellington, IPC offers something for everyone, whether it is viewing and enjoying the atmosphere of a prestigious high-goal match on Sunday, or experiencing and relaxing within the renovated amenities and restaurants, the club becomes the heartbeat of the winter equestrian season.

IPC, acquired by Wellington Equestrian Partners in 2016, has seen a number of additions and improvements throughout the facility in the past three years, attracting more players, patrons and enthusiasts to contest polo’s most competitive North American season. Significant investment into the turf and field maintenance has revolutionized the playing surface, with the club now supporting more games than ever from December through April.

“It’s a very exciting time for our partnership group as we continue to explore new opportunities and possibilities at the International Polo Club,” said Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners. “We’re anticipating an incredibly competitive season this winter, as many of the adjustments that have been made in the off season will positively benefit current and emerging players and teams.”

The season is set to begin with the Herbie Pennell Cup, the annual first tournament of the calendar year, and parlay into a slew of high-goal matches for the ensuing four months.

The introduction of the Gauntlet of Polo has made waves in the polo community, uniting polo’s major forces, the United States Polo Association (USPA), United States Polo Association Global Licensing (USPAGL) and the International Polo Club. The series will highlight the three major tournaments of the season, the coveted C.V. Whitney Cup, the USPA Gold Cup and the U.S. Open Polo Championship, totaling more than $1,000,000 of prize money if a competing team captures victory in all three tournaments, making it the most valuable tournament series in polo history.

Along with the game of polo comes the glitz and glamour of the impressive winter social scene at IPC. The Veuve Clicquot Pavilion and Celebrity Cruises Coco Polo Lounge will return again for another season of social entertainment, featuring an immense and delicious Sunday brunch prior to the start of the iconic 3 p.m. game each week at the venue.

The enjoyable atmosphere, coupled with a perfect field-side view, makes the Veuve Clicquot Pavilion and Celebrity Cruises Coco Polo Lounge two of the most enviable tickets during the winter season. Premier stadium boxes and grandstand seating are also available for purchase throughout the season, as well as field-side tailgating spaces.

Members of the club can experience two spectacular restaurants, the Mallet Grille and 7th Chukker Lounge, as well as utilize a full fitness center, spa and thriving tennis program. The spacious pool and deck are perfect for a lounge day or events, offering an additional amenity for members and their guests.

Weddings, corporate events and sporting tournaments can also be booked and reserved at IPC, making it an ideal location for any special outing or occasion. The picturesque venue offers an extensive list of event spaces and offerings and is open year-round.

In addition to the extensive amenities at the venue, IPC’s management introduced the Polo School in 2018, offering lessons and amateur-friendly games for individuals interested in learning more about playing the sport of polo. Last year, the school welcomed more than 30 students throughout the season, and this year will increase the number of polo ponies and instructors. Lessons are available seven days a week and can be purchased in hourly sessions or in a package plan. In addition to commencement of the Polo School, IPC also launched its first-ever low-goal league, allowing Polo School students and other amateur players in the area the opportunity to compete in a traditional tournament setting.

Gladiator Polo is scheduled to return to the venue in 2019, debuting a new state-of-the-art arena and creating a new buzz in Wellington on Friday evenings. A spectator-friendly and intense version of arena polo, Gladiator Polo will pit eight of the top arena teams against each other over the course of eight weeks, culminating in an exciting final match in April. A traditional Argentine-asado-style buffet will be offered for premium ticket holders, as well as free general admission seating during the matches.

“Our organization is deeply committed to ensuring the future and longevity of polo. We are building a pipeline for future players and providing engaging platforms that will help continue to generate interest in the sport,” Bellissimo said. “We are actively pursuing and presenting field polo and the derivatives of polo that we are introducing to new groups of sponsors and investors, which will help redirect and improve the overall trajectory of the sport.”

The International Polo Club Palm Beach is located at 3667 120th Avenue South in Wellington. Visit www.internationalpoloclub.com to learn more.

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Inaugural Gauntlet of Polo Series Brings Extra Excitement To IPC This Winter

Inaugural Gauntlet of Polo Series Brings Extra Excitement To IPC This Winter

Polo is a sport where you can’t help but be awed by the unrivalled athleticism and the raw speed, strength and beauty of the participants — and that’s just the horses.

Few sports offer the sheer drama and spectacle of polo. Man and animal, competing as one, working in harmony to best their foe on a thundering battlefield.

Now, the rapidly growing “sport of kings” is getting a tournament series worthy of its incredible scope and pageantry.

The United States Polo Association (USPA), USPA Global Licensing (USPAGL) and the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) recently announced a thrilling new high-stakes polo event — one with a title almost as epic as the sport itself: the Gauntlet of Polo.

Launching in February and culminating in April, this trailblazing competition offers a total purse of $1 million — a payday previously unheard of in the world of polo. And all a team has to do to claim the prize is win all three of the sport’s biggest tournaments at the IPC stadium field, home of U.S. Polo Assn., in a row.

Sounds easy, right? Think again. The Gauntlet of Polo is a true “survival of the fittest” competition, and teams are focused on making this one of sport’s most unique and memorable winner-take-all tournaments. That means that the world’s most skilled polo players and finest horses have to be at the top of their game for nearly three straight months if they expect to be crowned champions and hoist the Gauntlet trophy.

The series begins with the coveted C.V. Whitney Cup, held Feb. 13-24, where the winning team will take home the trophy and $125,000.

It is immediately followed by the USPA Gold Cup, held Feb. 24 through March 24. At stake is another title, along with $125,000 in winnings.

The Gauntlet’s final stage is the prestigious U.S. Open Polo Championship, held March 27 through April 21. The Gauntlet highlight show will be aired to millions of viewers on CBS Sports on April 28, and the world will see the winning team take home one of the most beautiful trophies in all of sports, along with $250,000.

Should one team survive the unrelenting competition and win all three tournaments, that team will win an additional $500,000 bonus — bringing total winnings to $1 million. More importantly, that team will be crowned the inaugural Gauntlet of Polo Champion and have its name etched into polo’s history books forever.

USPAGL Chairman David Cummings sees this new series as a turning point for the sport in America.

“The Gauntlet will challenge the world’s top players and horses like never before,” he said. “It will provide an entirely new platform for athletes, teams and sponsors. That means we’ll see an expanded interest in the sport that will literally change the trajectory of polo in this country while offering an incredible game day experience for all fans.”

If you’re a polo player or fan already, the Gauntlet of Polo brings an all-new level of intensity to a sport that already offers it in abundance. If you’re new to the sport, there’s no better opportunity to discover what the excitement of polo is all about.

Whether you’re cheering the non-stop action from the stands in your finest fashions, rubbing elbows with celebrities in the social tents, or stomping divots with a glass of champagne in hand, there is simply no experience quite like it.

Teamwork, strategy, mental strength and physical toughness — teams will need all of these and more from both players and horses alike if they want to call themselves Gauntlet champions. It promises to be one of the most incredible displays of raw power and refined athleticism ever seen in any sport. And if initial buzz for this historic new series is any indication, the world will be watching.

The inaugural Gauntlet of Polo will bring tens of thousands of polo players and fans from around the world to Wellington this winter. Make plans now to be part of this historic event.

For more information and tickets to see these incredible matches live at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, visit www.internationalpoloclub.com.

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Behind The End Lines With Polo Groom Elly Brien

Behind The End Lines With Polo Groom Elly Brien

Behind every good polo player is a great horse. Behind every great horse, you will most often find an incredibly hardworking, dedicated and passionate groom, who loves the sport as much as he or she loves the horse.

Each featured Sunday match held at the International Polo Club Palm Beach requires at least 78 horses to be prepped and ready for play, and it is no small feat to organize that many horses at once. Each horse requires care, training and love, both on and off the field.

The grooms of polo are instrumental to a team’s success, perhaps even more so than for other disciplines. To get an insider’s look into the daily life of a groom, we sat down with Elly Brien, the top groom at Mariano Aguerre’s high-goal polo operation.

A native of Ireland, Brien first started her involvement with polo 20 years ago at Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm in Greenwich, Conn. Seven years later, Brien began working for Aguerre and has been on his team ever since.

It is common in the polo industry — as well as the equestrian world in general — to see frequent movement of grooms and players alike. Why has she stayed in one place for so many years? “It just clicks for us,” Brien said. “It just works, so we stayed!”  

It wasn’t always about polo for Brien. She began her barn days back in County Waterford, Ireland, with show jumpers, first competing herself and then working for professionals. She made the trip over to the United States first with jumper barns before finding her way to White Birch. “I was always more interested in polo anyway,” she said.

Even after all these years, however, she’s not quite interested in playing on the field. “I love riding them around, but I was never any good at sports, so I’d probably never hit the ball,” Brien joked. “I wouldn’t have the hand-eye coordination and be able to ride at the same time.”

Her daily routine is similar to most other grooms in the horse world: wake up, feed the ponies, muck out some stalls, do some grooming before the horses are exercised, and maybe ride a few of them herself. However, in Brien’s case, she has 12 to 15 horses to look after, not just three or four, which is typical in most other disciplines.

It’s a long day at the farm with her boyfriend sharing the general duties. The pair also does most of the fitness training, such as taking daily sets and riding singles. Then, there is the preparation, organization and trailering to weekly practices or games. They are with Aguerre and his horses 24/7 for whatever they may need.

Having that background in two disciplines offered unique insight on the biggest difference between grooming for high-goal polo and hunter, jumper or dressage barns.

“I’d imagine that the biggest difference between them is the number of horses we take care of and present to one competition,” Brien said. “A polo team would have about 40 horses for a top tournament, versus a top jumper or dressage barn would probably be concentrating on getting three to five horses ready for a top competition.”

It’s not just the sheer number of horses being prepared for competition. It’s also the quality and level of prep that a polo groom has to focus on, because each of the 10 horses a player uses must be at the same physical and mental level. Brien’s favorite part of the job is seeing all of these horses at the peak of their fitness and looking their best on game day.

What’s Brien’s “top tip” is for grooming? “I’m not sure I have just one trick,” she laughed. “I’ve just always believed in being organized and treating all your horses as individuals. I think that’s important.”

But this approach doesn’t mean that it’s easy for her to pick out just one favorite horse.

“I have a soft spot for all of my horses that we take care of, so it’s hard to have one favorite in the polo sport,” Brien said. “If I have to think of one in particular, I’d say Califa is definitely one of my all-time favorites.”

Now quietly living out a happy retirement at Aguerre’s farm, Califa had a pretty impactful life both on the sport and the science behind polo. He received multiple awards throughout his career, including the USPA Horse of the Year in 2006, and the APHA Horse of the Year in 2009. In 2016, Califa was even inducted into the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame for his achievements. Perhaps Califa’s most notable claim to fame, however, is his title as the first ever polo pony to be genetically cloned in 2010.

Brien said that the cloning of some of polo’s greatest ponies is something that people outside of the sport might not typically know but may find intriguing. “I think it’s interesting that not only are they being cloned, but currently those clones are playing at the high level of polo and doing so with great success,” she said.

As a groom to both Califa and his clones, Brien has a first-hand account of how cloning works and the outcomes seen so far. “Yes, [the clone] totally behaves and performs the same,” Brien explained. “He’s got the same likes and dislikes as our original Califa — things that we thought were learned habits from over the years, but the new clone arrived with the exact same behaviors.”

Not only has she had a front-row seat to the amazing technology, but Brien has also had the chance to watch generations grow up.

“It’s interesting being with one operation so long that we can see the generations of the horses,” she said. “We have granddaughters here now of certain mares that were just playing when I first joined the operation.”

After so many years caring for these mares and stallions, Brien and the grooms kind of know what they’re getting before the foal even comes out. As soon as the embryos are chosen, she knows what to expect from the new batch coming to the farm.

Brien remains dedicated and passionate about the game, and even more so about her horses. She works hard to keep each individual comfortable and in top form, so they are ready to play their best on the field. This season, when Aguerre rides out, she’ll be found behind the end lines, setting up her team for success from the first to final whistle.

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Breast Cancer Survivor Lisa Fitter Pays It Forward

Breast Cancer Survivor Lisa Fitter Pays It Forward

Imagine you’re the mother of young children hearing the news that your mammogram shows an abnormality. Because of pre-existing health conditions, you have no insurance to pay for the follow-up tests that could give you a sigh of relief or confirm your worst fears. The cost of biopsies, MRIs and ultrasounds is so far beyond your reach that you don’t know how you will ever pay for the tests that could save your life.

This was the distressing scenario that Wellington resident Lisa Fitter faced in 2013 when she was 47 years old. “When you don’t have insurance, you don’t realize how far out of reach healthcare is,” Fitter said.

Fitter’s situation is a common one for Susan G. Komen Florida. Every week, calls come into the organization from women — and sometimes men — desperately needing financial assistance to pay for the screenings, testing and treatment that could save their lives. Answering their urgent pleas for help is why Komen Florida calls itself the “first responders to breast cancer.”

In Fitter’s case, it was the Bethesda Women’s Health Center that let her know Komen offered financial support for the tests she needed. Fitter’s follow-up was paid for by Komen, and on Christmas Eve 2013, she received her official breast cancer diagnosis.

While it was a shock, Fitter no longer had to live with the unknown. She could now move forward and focus on treatment. “If there were no Komen, I honestly don’t know what we would have done,” she said. “You hate to think that you would ever be in that situation.”

Fitter’s next challenge was figuring out how to tell her twins, 10-year-olds Talia and Joshua. They had just completed a project at school about diseases people can die from. One of them was cancer.

Fitter opted to be very open with her children. She wanted to be direct and help them understand as much as they could.

“You can’t hide it,” she said. “Suddenly, you have a house full of people bringing you meals, you’re lying in bed all day, you’re going to the hospital. Children will sense something is going on. You can’t overload them with information, but they have to know that mommy is sick right now. You can figure out how much they can cope with.”

Fitter was fortunate. Her breast cancer was early stage and contained. She had a bi-lateral mastectomy with no need for chemotherapy. The timing of her surgery coincided with the Affordable Care Act, guaranteeing that she could receive insurance coverage even though she had a pre-existing condition. Even so, Fitter knew that if she had no insurance, “Komen would have been there for me.”

The friends Fitter has made in the Wellington community were also there for her. When she moved to Wellington in 2005, she found it to be a welcoming, family-centered community, perfect for her own young family — a strong benefit she shares with those looking to move into the area as a Realtor with the K Company.

The circle of friends she made when her children were in preschool came together to rally around her during her breast cancer journey. They were also there for her last year when she celebrated her fourth cancer-free anniversary on Feb. 10, 2018, gathering together in her kitchen, where her daughter Talia recited a poem she had written. Her words brought tears to everyone in the room.

“That one phrase, ‘find the cure’ that didn’t mean anything to me before, suddenly became my whole world,” Talia wrote. “No, that one phrase, ‘find the cure,’ was all I thought about for the next few years… Now, it’s four years later… She is a fighter, she is my hero, she is who I aspire to be, and this whole time, she never gave up. See, now this ‘phrase’ means every little bit to me. It means bravery, and I never knew what bravery was until I saw it in my mom.”

Writing was Talia’s way to cope with her mother’s illness. Now she has taken the phrase “find the cure” one step further by joining the Komen South Florida Race for the Cure Junior Committee. In her mother’s honor, she has formed a race team at her school, Palm Beach Central High School, called “Lisa’s Warriors.”

Joining the Race for the Cure is something mother and daughter will do together on Jan. 26 in downtown West Palm Beach, with son Joshua and husband Rich at their side. Fitter is on the Survivor Committee, helping to recognize the hundreds of men and women who have fought her same battle. All will gather on the Meyer Amphitheatre stage at the conclusion of the race for the inspiring and emotional Survivor Recognition Ceremony.

This will be Fitter’s first race experience, the first time she has felt comfortable as a survivor coming forward in the larger community. She is grateful to help volunteer for the organization that saved her life. “I want to be able pay it forward,” Fitter said.

She and more than 10,000 supporters who come out for the Race for the Cure will help raise funds to take care of others like Fitter in the local community. Komen dedicates 75 percent of money raised to provide breast health education and breast cancer screenings and treatment in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties. Twenty-five percent is invested in breakthrough research benefiting breast cancer patients around the world.

“We’re able to be the first responders to breast cancer for thousands of women and men like Lisa because of the funds we raise through the Race for the Cure,” said Kate Watt, executive director of Susan G. Komen Florida. “The race is symbolic of our promise to never let anyone walk alone on her breast cancer journey.”

Fitter’s presence at the race will be a symbol, too, that with early detection and treatment, breast cancer is a battle that can be won. Just two weeks after the race, on Feb. 10, Fitter will mark her five-year cancer-free anniversary. In her daughter’s words, “she is a fighter… she never gave up.” Now she’s ready to be an inspiration to others.

Join or donate to Fitter’s team for the Race for the Cure, Lisa’s Warriors, at www.info-komen.org/goto/lisaswarriors, or create your own team by registering at www.komenflorida.org/race.

Also, be sure to take Lisa Fitter’s advice: get a mammogram every year to ensure early detection; if your mammogram is abnormal, have follow-up tests immediately; and if you have children and are diagnosed with breast cancer, be as open and honest as possible.

For more information, contact Susan G. Komen Florida at (561) 514-3020 or info@komenflorida.org, or find them on the web at www.komenflorida.org.

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Carlucho Arellano USPA’s Man on a Mission

Carlucho Arellano USPA’s Man on a Mission

Ripples of change are percolating through the world of American polo, and the epicenter of that change can be found here in Wellington. Carlucho Arellano, the executive director of services for the United States Polo Association (USPA), is focused on making a big and positive impact on polo in the U.S.

Arellano is not interested in being a polo dignitary, who appears in photos and is seen at ribbon-cutting ceremonies. Instead, he wants to aggressively expand the polo universe in the U.S., which currently has roughly 5,800 polo players.

Arellano has been on the job for almost a year, and he hasn’t stopped promoting, publicizing and playing the sport since he took the position.

Of course, it’s also important to realize that Arellano is not an outsider with wild dreams and unrealistic expectations. His life is firmly entrenched in the sport and has been for years. “I started in the sport by grooming horses and cleaning out stalls,” Arellano said.

He was then given a chance to ride and play — and he hasn’t stopped.

Arellano was the Intercollegiate Player of the Year in 2000 while a student at the University of Virginia, and he has played several times in the U.S. Open Polo Championships. He remains active in the sport.

“I can still play, be competitive, and mix it up,” said the 40-year-old Arellano, who is currently a five-goaler.

It’s accurate to say that Arellano can “walk the walk and talk the talk.” During a recent interview, Arellano said that he has three main goals that he wants to achieve while serving in his current role with the USPA.

Firstly, he wants to get more young people playing polo. Secondly, he intends to put more emphasis on tournament play. Thirdly, he’s focused on raising the level of safety in the sport.

Along the way, he would like the U.S. to become the number one polo country in the world. Currently, Argentina rules the roost in world polo, while the U.S. and England are neck-and-neck for number two in the world.

In Argentina, polo is a way of life, where families have a legacy in the sport, he explained. Arellano is committed to bringing that same passion to the U.S.

To achieve that objective, he is working to boost interest in the sport from two different angles: from the grassroots up and from the top tier down.

At the grassroots level, Arellano is working to create more polo schools where the sport can be properly taught and developed.

“We are also in touch with more private polo families and private farms to get them involved in promoting the growth of our sport,” Arellano said.

While polo is known to be an expensive sport to play, Arellano counters by saying that it doesn’t take a big bank account to show an interest in the sport and learn to play, as he and his polo-playing brother Julio did.

Both were born in Nicaragua, but raised in Wellington, where they took care of horses, groomed them and fed them. “We did not have the same means we had in Nicaragua, so my brothers and I had to work hard if we wanted to play polo,” Arellano said.

Arellano explained how he and his associates at the USPA are working with American polo greats such as Adam Snow, Tommy Wayman and Mike Azzaro on having them sharing their expertise with young, talented, up-and-coming polo players.

According to Arellano, all three are great role models who are willing to share their knowledge, skills and experience with the next generation of American polo enthusiasts.

At polo events in Wellington, announcers are being trained to inform and educate those in attendance about what is happening on the field. Arellano explained that you can’t assume that everybody in attendance at a polo match truly understands what is taking place on the field and why.

“Every day, we are busy planting seeds of growth,” he stressed.

Another area of the sport that shows strong promise is with women’s polo. “Women’s polo is exploding,” Arellano said. “We have several great female polo players in the U.S.”

Arellano also noted that the USPA is updating and modernizing many of its instructional and educational videos, which people watch to learn about the sport.

At the top of the sport, Arellano wants to make the great events even better.

“I want to bring more prestige to our tournaments by having more prize money and getting more publicity and exposure,” Arellano said. “I really want to lift the quality of the sport.”

The three big events which he intends to make bigger are the C.V. Whitney Cup, the Gold Cup and the U.S. Open. All three events are contested in Wellington. The C.V. Whitney runs from Feb. 16 until early March, the Gold Cup takes place throughout most of March and the U.S. Open is held in April and concludes on April 21 to culminate the season.

The USPA is a sponsor of the new Gauntlet of Polo program that highlights these three tournaments by providing additional prize money.

Arellano is proud of the fact that every team entered into the U.S. Open this year has at least one American player on the squad.

Another feather in polo’s cap is getting CBS Sports to televise highlights from the finals of the U.S. Open, as it did last year. “It will probably be a 90-minute special,” Arellano said.

As for the issue of safety, by June 2020, all polo players will be required to wear a helmet that meets a certain minimum safety level, as determined by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE), which creates performance standards for safety gear in other sports, such as football, baseball, lacrosse, soccer, field hockey and ice hockey.

“We must raise the level of safety in the sport,” Arellano said.

As he approaches his one-year anniversary at the USPA, Arellano’s main goal is to, “gain the confidence of all polo clubs that I am committed to improving the sport.”

As time moves on, there’s one thing that Arellano would like to see happen, which will confirm that his grand plan is working.

“I want to still be the executive director when we have our next American 10-goaler,” Arellano said.

That sounds like the dream of a man on a mission.

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