Story and photos by The United States Polo Association.
The first final of the GAUNTLET OF POLOTM saw Pilot dominate Las Monjitas 13-6 to capture the
C.V. Whitney Cup and the $125,000 prize on the U.S. Polo Assn. Field 1, at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.
The convincing victory for Pilot saw Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres play the two-man game to
perfection, with numerous runs and passing plays to set up scoring opportunities. The variety of attacks provided difficulties for Las Monjitas throughout the second half as they were unable to contain the multiple facets of Pilot’s attack. After inaccurate 2 for 7 shooting in the first half, Pilot converted all seven shots in the second half, while Las Monjitas struggled to find the goal, converting just 1 of their first 12 shot attempts. Along with perfect shooting from the penalty line, Pilot cruised to the commanding victory and with capturing the first leg of the GAUNTLET OF POLOTM, remain the lone team capable of claiming the $1,000,000 prize.
In the opening stages of the game, Pilot displayed their strategy utilizing Gonzalito and Facundo
Pieres as the duo scored a goal each in the first chukker. Making his first appearance in the C.V. Whitney Cup, Curtis Pilot returned to the field producing a strong showing to contribute in Pilot’s attack. Along with their accurate passing, Pilot displayed strong horsepower including Facundo Pieres’ second goal of the game as he muscled his way past Francisco Elizade to give Pilot the 4-2 lead in the second chukker.
Despite converting just 1 of their 9 shots in the opening half, Las Monjitas remained within reach thanks to two penalty goals from Elizalde that brought the score to 5-3 in favour of Pilot at halftime.
With Pilot controlling possession throughout the opening half, the game changed dramatically in
the fourth chukker as the Las Monjitas defence struggled to contain the relentless attack of Pilot. In an impressive 5-0 chukker, Pilot separated themselves from Las Monjitas, opening up a seven-goal lead.
Two goals and two assists in the chukker for both Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres provided a two-pronged attack that left Las Monjitas searching for answers defensively. The frustration boiled over for Hilario Ulloa who received his second yellow in the chukker, and then rode onto the field before the two-minute penalty was complete, resulting in a red card that forced him out of the game.
Santiago Toccalino came on in place of the 10-goaler, but Pilot had built a large lead with the result all but confirmed with two chukkers to go. Facundo Pieres’ 7th and 8th goals of the game in the fifth chukker extended Pilot’s lead to eight and sealed the victory, as the combination of Pilot’s lethal attack and Las Monjitas’ inaccuracy from the field allowed Pilot to run away with the game.
Most Valuable Player was awarded to Pilot’s Matias Gonzalez, who finished with two goals in
the game, while Best Playing Pony went to Facundo Pieres’ “Open Pennsylvania”. The second leg of the GAUNTLET OF POLOTM, the USPA Gold Cup®, begins on Thursday, February 28th at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.
About the United States Polo Association®
The United States Polo Association was organized and exists for the purposes of promoting the game
of polo, coordinating the activities of its Member Clubs and Registered Players, arranging and
supervising polo tournaments, competitions and games, and providing rules, handicaps, and
conditions for those tournaments, competitions, and games including the safety and welfare of
participants and mounts. Founded in 1890, the United States Polo Association (USPA) is the national
governing body for the sport of polo. USPA is currently comprised of almost 300 member clubs with
thousands of individual members, and oversees 40 national tournaments. For more information,
please visit uspolo.org.
About U.S. Polo Assn. and USPA Global Licensing Inc.
U.S. Polo Assn. is the official brand of the United States Polo Association (USPA), the nonprofit
governing body for the sport of polo in the United States founded in 1890, making it one of the oldest
sports governing bodies. With a global footprint of $1.6B and worldwide distribution through 1,050
U.S. Polo Assn. stores, department stores, independent retailers and e-commerce, U.S. Polo Assn.
offers apparel for men, women and children, as well as accessories, footwear, travel and home goods
in 166 countries worldwide. USPA is one of the major sponsors of the GAUNTLET OF POLO.
USPA Global Licensing Inc. (USPAGL) is the for-profit subsidiary of the USPA and the exclusive
worldwide licensor for the USPA’s global licensing program. USPAGL is the steward of the USPA’s
intellectual properties, providing the sport with a long-term source of revenue. Additionally,
USPAGL also produces global broadcasts to bring the sport of polo to millions of consumers and
sports fans around the world.
About the International Polo Club Palm Beach
The International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) is the premier polo destination in the world, hosting
the largest field of high-goal teams and the most prestigious polo tournaments in the United States.
Polo enthusiasts descend upon Wellington, FL each winter season to enjoy their love of the sport at
the most prominent polo facility in the country. The 2019 season opens Sunday, December 30, 2018
and concludes 17 weeks later with the USPA U.S. Open Polo Championship® Final on April 21,
2019. Polo matches are open to the public, with a wide range of hospitality and guest seating that
includes elegant grandstand viewing, field tailgating, stadium seating, field-side champagne brunch at The Pavilion, and exclusive sponsor boxes. See more at www.internationalpoloclub.com.