Argentine 8-goaler Santiago Toccalino will be back in Wellington this winter after a strong 2019 season. Toccalino’s 2019 highlights include winning the Pacific Coast Open at Santa Barbara Polo, where he played on the Farmers & Merchants Bank (FMB) team, and an appearance in the Indian Empire Shield Trophy Final at the Guards Polo Club in England, where he played on the UAE Polo Team. That followed appearances in Wellington in the C.V. Whitney Cup Final on Las Montijas and the Joe Barry Memorial Cup Final on Patagones. Look for Toccalino during the Gauntlet of Polo series at IPC playing once again on the Patagones team with Gonzalo Avendano, Tomas Garcia del Rio and Geronimo Obregon.
The exhilarating sport of polo has officially returned to the grounds of the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington. Both new and seasoned polo fans came out for the opening day of the 2020 high-goal season on Sunday, Dec. 29 featuring the Herbie Pennell Cup final, which is well-known as the tournament that kicks off the exciting winter polo season in Wellington.
Next on the competition calendar is the Iglehart Cup from Jan. 1-5, followed by the Joe Barry Memorial Cup taking place Jan. 5-12. The 18-goal series wraps up with the Ylvisaker Cup, from Jan. 11 through Feb. 2.
The renowned Gauntlet of Polo series will commence next, hosting three separate tournaments of 22-goal competition. First up is the C.V. Whitney Cup from Feb. 1-23, followed by the prestigious USPA Gold Cup from Feb. 22 through March 22, and concluding with the historic U.S. Open Polo Championship, running March 21 through April 19.
Each season brings the best players and ponies from around the world to compete in the elite tournaments on IPC’s hallowed grounds. The iconic venue sprawls over 250 acres with seven state-of-the-art fields, a newly constructed polo arena, a spectator-friendly stadium and 7,000 square feet of indoor event space.
Based in the heart of Wellington, IPC offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the “sport of kings.” Each week, spectators are invited to attend the numerous matches held across the property with casual tailgating. On Sundays, guests can enjoy the electrifying feature game on the U.S. Polo Assn. Field 1 at 3 p.m. with even more hospitality options, such as stadium seats, premium box seating, tailgates and field-side tables in the Veuve Clicquot Pavilion. Delicious food vendors are available around the main field, as well as a Kids Fun Zone sponsored by Wellington Regional Medical Center for families to enjoy each weekend.
An impressive social scene and lavish brunch can always be found in the Veuve Clicquot Pavilion prior to the start of the celebrated 3 p.m. match. Also returning this winter is the luxurious Celebrity Cruises Polo Lounge featuring all of the VIP amenities guests would expect to experience at a polo event. The enjoyable atmosphere, coupled with a perfect field-side view, makes the Pavilion and the VIP Polo Lounge two of the most enviable tickets during the winter season.
In addition to the traditional Sunday high-goal calendar, IPC has added several other events to its schedule. For the first time, IPC will be hosting the U.S. Open Arena Polo Championship in its custom-built sand arena located by Field 2. Set to run Jan. 2-11, the tournament has a rich history dating back to 1926. For the first time in the history of the event, competition will be played for a $50,000 prize purse.
In February, spectators can enjoy the U.S Polo Assn. 40-Goal Polo Challenge, to be held on Saturday, Feb. 15 from 3 to 6 p.m. on IPC’s Field 1. This is the highest-rated polo event in North America. The annual 40-Goal Challenge benefits the Polo Players Support Group, which provides financial assistance to seriously injured or ill players and grooms. The purchase of a VIP package includes tickets to the cocktail reception, seated dinner, and silent and live auctions following the 40-goal match and awards presentation. The 2019 40-Goal Polo Challenge raised more than $375,000, and this year’s goal is set for $500,000.
Returning for the second year in a row to IPC is the 2020 U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship Final on Saturday, March 21. The charitable, all-female tournament will take place on the U.S. Polo Assn. Field 1 as a 22-goal competition to benefit Susan G. Komen Florida. Tickets are available for stadium seats and tailgates, with a fun contest planned for the “best outfitted” tailgate theme and, of course, a halftime champagne pour and divot stomp will take place in between the third and fourth chukkers.
New developments this season include enhanced food and beverage options for all spectators and family-friendly ticket pricing. Lower-level sections in the stadium will now start at just $20, offering an up-close and personal view of the intense match taking place. Additionally, delicious new signature cocktails will be served for fans seated in the stadium and in general admission zones, featuring Old Hickory Bourbon. For the avid shoppers, the USPA Brand Shop will be open each Sunday behind the stadium featuring beautiful U.S. Polo Assn. clothing products and fun polo accessories. A smaller shopping location will be positioned on the east side of the field for spectators seated in the Veuve Clicquot Pavilion and east tailgates.
In its inaugural year, the Gauntlet of Polo series brought in a record number of participating teams to vie for the coveted $1 million prize and ultimate victory of three tournament wins. The Pilot Polo Team, led by patron Curtis Pilot, mastered the triple champion title, claiming the Gauntlet trophy. This year, 14 teams have registered to compete, including the reigning Pilot champions, all seeking to secure the $1,000,000 prize money purse.
Beyond world-class polo, IPC has become a hotspot for other popular field sports and special events. This past November, the IWLCA Presidents Cup, arguably the world’s largest female lacrosse tournament, was held at IPC. More than 20,000 athletes and spectators were on hand for competition on a total of 47 lacrosse fields. The inaugural Palm Beach Balloon Festival followed a week later, bringing in guests from all over Palm Beach County to view the amazing hot air balloons light up after dark on Field 1, while some spectators even took tethered rides up in the sky.
Brides have also turned their sights on the fields of IPC, booking fall, spring and summer weddings in the Pavilion or out on the main field. With picturesque backdrops and exclusive equestrian-style experiences, the venue offers one of the most unique wedding spots in South Florida. The club has made several great improvements to both its indoor and outdoor event spaces in order to stay with the trends of modern brides. Bookings for events of all sizes and styles are now being made for 2020-21.
To learn more about the 2020 season at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, or to purchase tickets, visit www.internationalpoloclub.com.
As the high-goal polo season kicks into gear at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, the venue highlights the large group of committed sponsors, each aiming to help grow the sport, the club and their relationship with its members and spectators during the winter months.
IPC’s Sunday afternoon polo match is one of the most popular and exclusive social scenes for players and other polo enthusiasts to enjoy. Therefore, sponsors of the club reap extraordinary benefits, including brand awareness, consumer engagement and new customer acquisitions.
Each year, IPC is committed to further broadening the sponsorship opportunities for both lifestyle and commercial brands at the venue. Just last season, IPC entered a three-year partnership with the U.S. Polo Assn. global clothing brand and the United States Polo Association, the governing body of the sport, hoping to attract new fans and introduce them to polo.
Following suit with many of the professional sporting league trends, corporate sponsorship deals continue to have a major influence on the prominence and distinction in the sports sector and industry, helping brands reach new target audiences and provide unparalleled experiences for fans and attendees.
As brands and businesses look for creative ways to tap into new and pre-existing audiences, one thing remains certain: sports and sporting events provide a unique gateway for fan engagement and recognition, the ultimate key to a successful sponsorship.
With a trifecta of opportunity, including audiences attending the Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, the Adequan Global Dressage Festival at Equestrian Village and the continued expansion at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, corporate sponsorship at equestrian events in Wellington continue to thrive.
This year, IPC will welcome the following sponsors to the venue for the 2020 season: U.S. Polo Assn., the United States Polo Association, CaptiveOne, Celebrity Cruises, Four Seasons, Horseware Ireland, Lugano Diamonds, NetJets, Old Hickory Bourbon, Rosenbaum PLLC, Veuve Clicquot and Wellington Regional Medical Center. Media partners include Palm Beach Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal and Discover the Palm Beaches. The U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship will be held once again at IPC this March to benefit Susan G. Komen Florida.
A few of the exciting sponsor activations include brunch and champagne sampling in the Pavilion presented by Veuve Clicquot, the VIP Polo Lounge within the Pavilion and the halftime divot stomp both presented by Celebrity Cruises, the Kids Fun Zone presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center, a signature cocktail featuring Old Hickory Bourbon, the U.S. Polo Assn. Brand Apparel Shop, a weekly player spotlight to be featured on IPC’s social media presented by Four Seasons and Best Playing Pony blankets provided by Horseware Ireland. NetJets remains as IPC’s official private jet service provider, partnering with the club to offer unique experiences to its members. CaptiveOne will also be the title sponsor of the 2020 U.S. Open Polo Championship tournament taking place in March and April.
Polo competition began this season on Sunday, Dec. 29 and will continue through Sunday, April 19, featuring some of the best polo in the world throughout the duration of the four-month tournament season, concluding with the prestigious U.S. Open Polo Championship Final. Many hospitality options are available for Sunday matches.
For more information about the International Polo Club, or to learn more about sponsorship opportunities, visit www.internationalpoloclub.com.
“Adapt or die” is a well-known business philosophy that transcends all industries. Companies must keep up with the times, and with the avenues of communication and advertising constantly changing, it is more important than ever to tap into the next big thing.
These principles hold true for the Wellington-based equestrian marketing and public relations firm Phelps Media Group (PMG), which underwent key changes in 2019. Primed to be better than ever, PMG’s leadership looks ahead with renewed passion.
Known for its team’s diverse marketing skills and unique networking abilities, PMG has long been one of the top marketing and public relations firms in equestrian sports. Under the leadership of founder and president Mason Phelps Jr., the majority-female team is breaking into the next decade with its eyes on the future.
After using 2019 to recalibrate and reconnect with its core values, PMG has reaffirmed its goal to revolutionize the way competitive equestrian sports are marketed in North America and is excited about the opportunity to represent the sport that launched the business in 2002 to more audiences than ever before.
One of the earliest changes in 2019 came in January when Lenore Phillips was appointed as vice president. Phillips, who joined the team in 2016 as a senior account executive, approached her new position with ideas for growth that were shaped by the years she had spent in the equestrian industry and the knowledge she gained at her position with the marketing and public relations company.
Armed with a team of experts that includes 10 female account executives, Phillips challenged her team to approach equestrian sports with a new lens, one that focused on passion and telling the stories that make horse sports so compelling to both participants and fans.
“When I realized that PMG needed to go in a new direction, I took real stock of what the company was built on and what our assets were,” Phelps explained. “Lenore stood out to me immediately as being a natural fit in a leadership position because of the work she had done with important PMG clients and because of her background in our sport. She has done it all and really understands what makes our community tick. From where the company stands today and the growth we have seen, it seems to have been a good decision.”
To this day, Phillips remains excited about the opportunities offered by her new position.
“Although I wasn’t expecting the opportunity to become vice president, when Mason presented it to me, I accepted without hesitation,” Phillips said. “I have been passionate about horses and equestrian sports my entire life, and I feel that I possess the vision and tenacity necessary to take PMG to the next level. I believe strongly in using new technology to advance our industry in a way that hasn’t been done before.”
Social media and the ever-growing power of the Internet is changing the way people learn, communicate and interact with the world around them. From designing elegant web sites to creating entertaining social media campaigns and implementing vital sponsorship initiatives, PMG prides itself on helping clients take advantage of all available avenues to reach their target audiences and communicate exciting stories.
“I feel there is so much opportunity for people to share in the passion that the relationship between horses and people inspire, and share in the excitement that our sport creates,” Phillips said. “More than anything, I want to be a part of a new era of horse sports in America, and I would love to help make more people aware of how exciting our industry is. I want to be a part of what the future looks like for all equestrian sports. To do that, we employ and investigate a number of ways in which to promote our clients, as well as increase the reach and engagement in our sport as a whole.”
The team at PMG is expanding, and thanks to the strong group of women at the helm, they are on the pulse of every new technology that becomes available. In addition to each staff member bringing relevant academic and professional business expertise to the table, they are all passionate hunter, jumper, equitation, polo and dressage riders.
“It is very meaningful and exciting that this is a business that, with the exception of Mason, is fueled entirely by women,” Phillips said. “I find one of the best things about equestrian sports is that businesswomen in our industry are not hindered by glass-ceiling problems that often plague other industries. The daily achievement of the women that make up PMG is incredibly empowering. Our group is collaborative, dynamic and achievement-driven. Many would be hard-pressed to find a more inspiring work environment.”
As the team focuses on the future, they welcome new clients, events and technologies to their roster, such as Bemer Veterinary, Barn Hero, Voltaire Design, Beacon Hill Show Stables and Mark Edward Partners. These new partnerships will merge with events and farms such as the National Horse Show, the Upperville Colt & Horse Show and Leatherdale Farms, each of which are still continuing to grow and evolve every year. For more information, visit www.phelpsmediagroup.com.
Fashion can present its gorgeous self anywhere, and jumping into the 2020 equestrian season with the Tackeria is a style necessity.
Just a short walk from the show grounds, the family-owned store is carefully organized — from floor to vaulted ceiling — displaying wonderful dressage, jumping and polo outfits, as well as fine jewelry, embellished accessories, everyday wear and adorable children’s clothing. Importing from all over the world, the Tackeria carries one of the most complete collections of equestrian apparel in the country, ensuring to provide only the best selections available.
This year is an Olympic year for dressage and jumping competitors, many of whom will be attending equestrian events in Wellington, either to participate or to scope out the competition.
The Tackeria is preparing for all these customers descending into the Wellington area by providing top equestrian brands, such as Tailored Sportsman, Ariat, Pikeur, Kingsland Equestrian, Montar and many more.
The friendly and knowledgeable staff will be at the show grounds, displaying a variety of clothing and accessories throughout the season.
Whether you’re dressing to compete in an event or just to attend one, the Tackeria is the place to find all things Haute for Season.
Polo superstar Facundo Pieres is one of the top players of his generation. His name is etched on every major trophy around the world. In 2004, at the age of 18, he became the second youngest to ever achieve the elite 10-goal status, the sport’s top rating, and he has not slowed down since.
The 33-year-old Pieres is the second oldest son of the legendary Argentine superstar Gonzalo Pieres, who dominated the Palm Beach Polo fields in the glory days of the 1980s and 1990s.
Among Facundo Pieres’ many victories are his five British Open titles and three Argentine Open crowns. And he has been in the U.S. Open final eight of the last 11 years, winning five, all at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, including last season with Pilot.
“We all know that Facundo is a 10 on the field, but I think he is an 11 off the field,” Pilot patron Curtis Pilot said. “I watched he and his brothers play and practice long before I was able to take the field with them. His leadership abilities were evident. In my opinion, the true sign of a leader is the ability to give others the desire to work with and for them. His presence changes the expectation and feel of the game.”
Pieres and his older brother, Gonzalito, also a 10-goaler, are the linchpins of Pilot’s eponymous team, making them the team to beat anytime they take the field.
“Two things stick out in my mind about [Facundo]. The first is his honor,” Pilot said. “I admire that his word is his bond. I have never had to question our agreements or arrangements. The second, and most important, is his love of family. Watching him with his daughter, parents, wife, nieces and nephews, you see the true man that he is and chooses to be. He has earned my respect and admiration as a person and a friend.”
Facundo and Gonzalito have that special bond between brothers, and it helps them on the field. Facundo is the flashier of the two, and usually among the scoring leaders of any tournament he is in. Gonzalito is the steadying force that allows his sibling to shine.
“I love playing with him because we know each other very well,” Facundo said of Gonzalito. “We get along very well inside the field and outside the field.”
Off the field, they can often be found on the golf course together with younger brother Nico and friends. Nico is the best golfer among the brothers, according to Facundo, and there is a lot of friendly banter on the course.
If he is not golfing on his off days, Facundo visits the beach with his wife and young daughter. Although he is still at the top of his game, his priorities have changed.
“Now my daughter is my priority in life and everything else comes behind,” he said. “She changed my life. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me.”
The Pieres family is a close-knit one. With all three brothers playing at IPC, their parents make several trips from Argentina to Wellington to see them and their sister Tatiana, who is married to former 10-goaler Mariano Aguerre, who is playing on Postage Stamp Farm. Facundo has learned numerous lessons from his family.
“From my mom, [I learned] to always have my feet on the ground,” he said. “And Gonzalito inspires me.”
In 2019, the Pieres brothers led Pilot to an amazing season at IPC, winning 16 consecutive games to capture all three tournaments that make up the Gauntlet of Polo and capturing the cumulative $1 million prize.
“Last year was amazing,” said Facundo, who turns 34 on May 19. “It was a lot of fun. We expect to come back again with a strong season. I’m looking forward to this season.”
It was the first time that a team went undefeated through the three major USPA tournaments at IPC. The last team to win all three was Valiente in 2017 when they went 10-1. Previously, it was Crab Orchard in 2010, winning all three majors with a 12-2 record. They were played at the 26-goal level, and both teams were led by Adolfo Cambiaso, who did not play at IPC in 2019 and is not expected to be at IPC in 2020.
“Whenever you go and play a tournament, you try to be the best organized you can be,” explained Facundo, who is planning to have about 18 horses in Wellington for the season.
Four-goaler Matt Coppola, who was born and raised in Wellington, played for Las Monjitas in 2019 and faced Pilot in the U.S. Open final, dropping a 12-7 decision. Facundo Pieres scored six goals, and Gonzalito Pieres added three goals in that game.
“You think you’ve got him, and in the blink of an eye, he beats you,” said Coppola, referring to Facundo. “He’s a freak of nature. He’s like Michael Jordan or LeBron James.”
So, what’s in store for 2020 for the iconic Argentine superstar Facundo Pieres and Pilot?
“I think all of us felt like the 2019 season was a fairytale season and will be hard to repeat,” Pilot said. “It’s not that we have to win every game, it’s just that we hate losing more. We intend to play the best we can while honoring the game, horses and players. It looks like all the teams in the 2020 season are amazingly well-balanced and should be highly competitive. This is a true testament to the hard work of the USPA, professionals and their patrons. We look forward to another great year of Florida polo.”
And another opportunity for Facundo Pieres to add to his legacy.
Finding the right horse and partnering it with the right rider is something that takes a great deal of experience and intuition. That is the fundamental principle behind QBS Equestrian, a partnership formed in 2016 by longtime equestrians Dennis Sisco and M. Michael Meller. Together, Sisco and Meller have helped find and produce some of the top show jumping prospects in the country.
Meller has been a show jumping athlete and trainer since he was a child, helping develop top horses such as Waterloo, Robin De Ponthual and Camillo VDL. Sisco joined the sport 18 years ago at age 55 when his daughters began riding ponies.
Meller and Sisco met at the Winter Equestrian Festival many years ago and since then have participated in the sport as friends, enthusiasts and business partners. With both men sharing in a mutual belief for the betterment of the sport, forming QBS Equestrian was a natural progression.
One of the initial major steps for their business, the first horse Meller and Sisco purchased together was Chance STE Hermelle, a Belgian Warmblood with all the skills to go to the upper level. With rider Michael Morrissey Jr., nephew of WEF founder Gene Mische, in the irons, the horse has slowly grown from a young prospect to a proven contender at the Grand Prix level.
“It is so important to take your time with a young horse,” Meller said. “So many owners and riders are focused on the win and the next show, but Dennis and I always want to be thinking about the horse. We put far more emphasis on a clear round than a win, and it’s a system that has really paid off for us. We have horses that love their job and jump beautifully every time they go in the ring.”
Meller and Sisco also believe in finding the right partnership for each horse, and to that end they have committed to being flexible in order to work with many people. No matter the trainer or the rider, they believe in finding the best combination for the horse to be successful. Their goal is to support top horses and top riders, both nationally and internationally.
“We are trying to have a more encompassing and open approach to developing high-performance horses with the best riders we can attract in the world,” Sisco explained. “There’s a tendency in our sport to think that once people sign up for one thing, it goes on forever. We feel that it’s much better to be able to reach out and work with multiple high-performance people and high-performance horses.”
QBS Equestrian has been working closely with Morrissey of Imperial Show Stables since the early days of their partnership because it was such a natural fit for everyone involved. “We started to work with Michael because he is a hard worker who has always done the right thing,” Meller said. “He has had a very good career, but he needed some backing. It was the right fit for both of us, and we have been thrilled with how he has helped produce the horses.”
Morrissey enjoys working with the team at QBS Equestrian.
“It’s great to be part of a team that is always putting the horses first,” he said. “The three of us have invested our lives into this sport, and we all collectively consider the best and most positive path for each horse we are developing. We have had success working together because of their trust in me and my program.”
To date, Morrissey’s most successful partnership has been with Sam 1091, a 10-year-old Rhinelander gelding by Stakkatol. After gaining momentum with several Grand Prix placings, the horse-and-rider combination capped off the year with multiple clear rounds at the FEI CSI5* in Tyron, N.C., this fall, an achievement in itself as the 5* ranking is the highest level in show jumping competition.
“Sam is a horse that we have had for two years now, and we have put together very carefully,” Meller explained. “He’s a brave horse with a lot of scope and speed, but we always wanted to be sure that he was ready for the next step up in his career. We are very excited for 2020 with this horse.”
As the competitive winter show season begins, QBS Equestrian is excited for the start of the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington.
“It is so unique here because it’s where everybody is, and it’s where the action is for the eastern part of the country this time of year,” Sisco said. “Certainly, from a business point of view, if you are developing horses at the top level for sale, then this is where you want to be.”
With a young string of talented horses and a rider ready to take them to the next level, the team at QBS is ready to showcase their skills at the best venue in the country as they continually strive to reach the pinnacle of the sport. To learn more about QBS Equestrian, visit www.qbsequestrian.com.
Starting this February, the United States Polo Association will again “throw down the gauntlet” at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington.
The Gauntlet of Polo is a competition of the world’s preeminent teams, most skilled athletes and finest horses coming together for three months to battle head-to-head for the coveted C.V. Whitney Cup, the USPA Gold Cup and the U.S. Open Polo Championship.
This is the second year of this thrilling high-stakes tournament series for the sport, and there is more on the line than trophies and titles. It’s the ultimate polo match series, and any team that wins all three tournaments will be crowned Gauntlet Champion. The tournament’s total prize money is $1 million — the largest purse in the history of the sport. A second-place prize has been added this year, for even more action and excitement.
How does one win the Gauntlet? Ask Pilot Polo, which took the whole series last year in a final game upset that rocked the stadium. It takes teamwork, strategy, depth in horses, refined athleticism, mental strength, physical toughness and the ability to play for ultimate survival.
The 2020 polo series will again bring in tens of thousands of fans from around the world and bring a positive economic impact to Wellington and the surrounding areas. It begins with the C.V. Whitney Cup held Feb. 1-23 and continues with the USPA Gold Cup from Feb. 22 through March 22, culminating with the U.S. Open Polo Championship set for March 21 through April 19. The games will be livestreamed on the USPA Polo Network each week, with the final match aired to millions of viewers on CBS Sports and re-aired globally.
The Gauntlet of Polo total purse is $1 million. The winning team of the C.V. Whitney Cup and the USPA Gold Cup will receive $100,000 per tournament, and the second-place teams will receive $25,000. The winning team of the U.S. Open Polo Championship will receive $200,000, and the second-place team will receive $50,000. Any team winning all three USPA tournaments will receive an additional $500,000 bonus and be crowned the Gauntlet Champion.
You can see all the action live at IPC’s U.S. Polo Assn. Stadium Field. U.S. Polo Assn., the multi-billion-dollar global apparel and accessory brand for men and women, is the largest sponsor of the Gauntlet of Polo. The brand is known worldwide in 180 countries for its vibrant colors, classic styling and sport-inspired fashion.
“This year, we are thrilled to support and cheer on two of our U.S. Polo Assn. brand ambassadors and up-and-coming champion players, Henry Porter and Jared Zenni, who will play for their respective teams in the Gauntlet series,” President & CEO of USPA Global Licensing J. Michael Prince said. “U.S. Polo Assn. partners with young polo players to be ambassadors in an effort to showcase the fun, passion and comradery of the sport of polo to the world.”
As ambassadors, Zenni and Porter have been sharing stories about the sport and themselves through digital platforms that reach U.S. Polo Assn.’s four million global social media followers, who follow the sport and the brand. They will also wear the double horseman mark on their team jerseys representing the brand and its authentic connection to the sport. U.S. Polo Assn. is the official brand of the United States Polo Association.
Porter’s role as global brand ambassador is focused on the United Kingdom, broader Europe and the Middle East, where he grew up and continues to spend much of his time as a professional player. He has already competed at some of the largest polo games in the world, winning the high-goal East Coast Open, the FIP World Cup Zone Final, the Mansion Cup, the Bronze Trophy at Sotogrande and the 50K National 12-Goal two years in a row. He also reached the final of the Ylvisaker Cup, as well as competing in the illustrious Westchester Cup and the Gauntlet of Polo series last year. Porter competed in the King Power Royal Charity Day with the Duke of Sussex and recently won the Copa Presidente trophy in Argentina. He will play for Santa Clara in the Gauntlet series.
Zenni has grown significantly from a young player to showcasing his talents in global competitions over the past three years. His outstanding performance at the 2018 U.S. Open Polo Championship solidified his role as one of the sport’s most important young athletes. As a member of the Daily Racing Form polo team, Zenni scored two goals in the championship, including the game winner, securing his place as a leader and one of the most recognizable faces of the sport.
U.S. Polo Assn. is the official brand of the USPA, the nonprofit governing body for the sport of polo in the United States. With a global footprint of $1.7 billion and worldwide distribution through 1,100 U.S. Polo Assn. retail stores, department stores, independent retailers and e-commerce, the brand offers apparel for men, women and children, as well as accessories, footwear, travel and home goods in 180 countries. Recently ranked the fourth-largest sports licensor and 36th overall in License Global magazine’s 2019 list of “Top 150 Global Licensors,” U.S. Polo Assn. now takes its place alongside such iconic sports brands as Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the National Basketball Association.
Be sure to come out and watch the Gauntlet of Polo starting Feb. 9 and concluding with the prestigious U.S. Open Polo Championship final on April 19. You can also watch the games at www.globalpolo.com.
The Dutta family is synonymous with horses. Tim Dutta Sr. started playing polo in New Delhi, India as a young boy and has loved the sport ever since. His wife, Susie, is a highly acclaimed international dressage competitor who often competes in Wellington. And their son, Timmy, is an up-and-coming polo prodigy. Their affinity for horses extends to business as the Dutta Corporation is a well-respected international air transport company.
The Dutta Corp team had a remarkable 2019 polo season. With Timmy playing the No. 1 position, Dutta Corp won all three 20-goal tournaments at the International Polo Club Palm Beach. Father and son also won an 8-goal tournament at the Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington. Timmy Dutta also played for the U.S. on the Junior Westchester Cup at IPC in late April, as well as subbing in other high-goal tournaments.
“We were the only team that beat Pilot last season,” Tim Dutta Sr. said. “A dream season.”
This season, Dutta Corp is stepping up to play in the Gauntlet of Polo, a series of three 22-goal tournaments at IPC. Timmy Dutta, whose handicap was raised to 3 goals, will be joined on the team by Lucas Diaz Alberdi, Nino Obregon and Facundo Obregon. Timmy Dutta expects to have about 17 horses for the 22-goal season, including his most recognizable one, Mr. Musty, a Palomino.
“My expectations are high, as we have a great team,” said Timmy Dutta, who spent more than a month at La Canada Polo Club in Argentina with his father and teammates preparing for the upcoming season in Wellington. “I’m looking to win the Gauntlet.”
Timmy Dutta believes it is very important to go to Argentina if you want to grow as a player. He has been traveling to the mecca of polo in South America for the last six years.
“The polo there helps me become better for the Florida season and improves me as a player,” said Timmy Dutta, who turns 19 on Sept. 20. “I believe my strengths are for sure as an attacker scoring goals and putting pressure on the other team. I believe I’m a great teammate and bring a positive energy toward a team, which I feel is very important. I believe my weaknesses are that I’m still young and I make mistakes. I need to be more consistent on my plays and try to learn every day. All in all, I’m learning something new every day.”
Veteran 6-goaler Kris Kampsen, who is based in Wellington, played on Dutta Corp in 2019 and has known the Dutta family for more than a decade.
“Timmy is an animal on the field,” Kampsen said. “He’s a hell of a teammate and awesome to play with. Off the field, he’s a great guy, a lot of fun but super serious, too. I loved watching him grow up. It’s great to see someone have his passion and dedication for polo.”
While the Dutta family’s foray into polo began in India, it wasn’t until 2013 that it grabbed a serious grip in the U.S., thanks to Tim Dutta Sr.’s friendship with the late Carlos Gracida, one of the sport’s all-time legends.
While Tim Dutta Sr. was working with Gracida, his son would often accompany him to the field.
“One afternoon, I decided to try stick-and-balling for the first time because my jumper was lame,” Timmy Dutta said. “And I never looked back.”
While most of his time is spent working with the horses, Timmy Dutta makes time for his schoolwork as a senior at #1 Education Place in Wellington. In his limited spare time, he’s usually fishing or at the beach.
“Polo has really bonded us. We ride every day together in the afternoon,” Tim Dutta Sr. said. “We enjoy the family together and the best is to play with Timmy and enjoy what the sport is all about. We have love and respect for the horses, and we spend lots of time together collaborating, learning and sharing. We also travel the world, as well spend time in business together. I am a very lucky guy to have a son like Timmy.”
The son’s love for his parents and the horses are easily reciprocated.
“Horses in general is all we know as a family,” said Timmy Dutta, whose mentors include his father, Piki Diaz Alberdi and Memo Gracida. “Especially for me, it’s what I love to do. Polo has brought me and my dad closer and has really made a relationship between us. My mom and I have a great relationship revolving around horses and outside of the barn as well.”
He is also proud of his mother’s accomplishments in the sport of dressage.
“My mom still competes, and she’s very competitive — it runs in the blood. I watch her compete when I can. I come to visit her in the summers in Europe to watch her show. My father is normally at the tent, and my mother is either in the middle of the field or in the box when we play Field 1 [at IPC].”
Timmy Dutta is excited about the future for both the team and himself.
“I have a personal goal and that is to become the best player I can be,” he said. “If that’s 10 goals, it’s 10 goals, but I want to be the best I can be.”
With the help and support of his parents, his path is clear.
Temple Beth Torah, in recognition of the remarkable contributions of members Roger and Stephanie Grave de Peralta, will be celebrating them both with its inaugural Temple Beth Torah Gala Service Award. Additionally, three students from the temple will be announced as recipients of the Student Service Award and recognized monetarily. These awards honor members of the Temple Beth Torah community who have dedicated their time and efforts to its growth and prosperity and who inspire the involvement of others.
The gala will be held at the Wellington National Golf Club on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. More information can be found at www.templebethtorah.net/gala2020. Tickets can be purchased online or by contacting the temple directly at (561) 793-2700. A gift gathering event was held on Dec. 19 for the purpose of collecting silent auction items.
The theme of Temple Beth Torah’s gala this year is “masquerade” and guests will enjoy festive entertainment, a variety of wines and specialty cocktails, and delicious and diverse cuisine. Guests can bring their own masks or purchase one crafted by religious school students. Pairing the food and wine with great music, casino games and a silent auction will ensure a lively, celebratory evening.
This is a unique opportunity for temple members, preschool parents and friends from the local community to come together for a night of fun and fundraising.
Roger and Stephanie Grave de Peralta joined Temple Beth Torah in 2009, sending all three children through its preschool, two to the bema as bar and bat mitzvahs, and one currently in religious school. In addition to her role on the board of trustees since 2016, Stephanie has served as chair of the religious school committee, of which she has been a member since 2009. Her tenure has overseen the success of both religious and preschool events and fundraisers, and she prides herself on the active volunteerism she promotes.
Roger, meanwhile, has actively grown the temple’s brotherhood and also served as vice president of the organization in 2016 and 2017. His contributions include assisting with the annual golf tournament, the temple directory and the gala ad book. He has been involved with the nominating committee for temple board members, as well as his repeated commitment to high holiday responsibilities.
The event will be made possible by the generosity of Presenting Sponsor Pike and Lustig LLP; Diamond Sponsors Hightower, Stratton, Novigrod, Kantor Scott & Marcia Weber and the Barron Group at UBS Financial; Pearl Sponsor Herman Law; Topaz Sponsor Diagnostic Centers of America; Gift Bag and Silent Auction Sponsor Provident Jewelry; Vodka Sponsor Tito’s Vodka; Craft Beer Sponsor Lagunitas Brewing Company; Beer Sponsor Heineken Company; and Fresh Juice Sponsor Kennesaw Fruit & Juice.
Serving on this year’s gala committee are Ron and Liz Herman, Lee and Robin Kantor, Todd and Debra Barron as co-chairs, Michael and Pamela Pike and Daniel and Dara Lustig as honorary chairs, and committee members Jill Cohen, Samantha Fishman, Roger Grave de Peralta, Sharon Lowenstein, Marcy Samuels, Kevin and Jen Shapiro, Tyler Shernoff, Alan and Sarah Shullman, Pam Tahan, Marcia Weber, Adam and Megan Wellikoff, and Janna Zaidspiner.
Temple Beth Torah is a vibrant, Reform Jewish congregation that has served the western communities of Palm Beach County for more than three decades. It is the spiritual and social home for more than 300 Wellington households. An additional 100 families benefit from the strong educational foundation of its NAEYC-accredited preschool. Learn more at www.templebethtorah.net.