Boca Raton, FL - Paladin and Newport will play for the championship title Sunday in the Prisa Invitational at Palm City Polo Club. Game time is 10:30 a.m. The public is welcome and admission is free.
Paladin advanced with a 12-9 victory over Beluga on Friday in a near penalty-free game. David Krantz and Leo Mandelbaum combined for nine goals for Paladin, which led from start to finish. Mandelbaum led scoring with five goals and Krantz added four goals. Nic Roldan had three goals and Juan Bollini played well defensively.
For Beluga, Misha Rodzianko led scoring with four goals, Carlitos Gracida, son of Hall of Famer and former 10-goaler Carlos Gracida, added two goals and Joey Casey and Brandon Phillips each had one goal.
On Thursday, Newport was the first team to qualify for the final after mounting an impressive comeback to knock off Casablanca, 13-11, behind Gene Goldstein and Marc Ganzi, who combined for nine goals.
In Friday's game, despite Beluga cutting Paladin's lead to one goal (9-8) in the fifth chukker, Paladin controlled the tempo for most of the game. Paladin, a 15-goal rated team trailed 14-goal team Beluga,1-0, to start the game but quickly evened the score behind Mandelbaum's breakaway goal. Paladin then reeled off five of the next seven goals in the game for a 6-2 lead in the second chukker. During the scoring spree, Krantz scored a nice goal, taking the second chukker opening throw-in and driving downfield to score.
Joey Casey's tap-in late in the fifth chukker cut Paladin's lead to one goal (9-8) but Mandelbaum, Krantz and Phillips put the game away in the final chukker. The season-opening tournament is allowing players and horses to ease into the fall season, shake the rust off, get into shape and gear up for the remainder of the season.
Roldan is expected to compete in the final on Sunday and then depart for the People's Republic of China where he will represent the U.S. in the Oct. 1-5 Fortune Heights Super Nations Cup at the Tianjin Polo Club in Hong Kong. Roldan will join U.S. teammates Mike Azzaro, Tommy Collingwood and Ulysses Escapite in China.
After a successful spring season, Grand Champions Polo Club is hosting what promises to be the most competitive fall season. Nine tournaments are scheduled, including two 20-goal tournaments in November for the club's sixth fall season. The Prisa Invitational is the first of seven medium goal tournaments, and only tournament scheduled for Palm City Polo Club.
The fall season-opener will serve as warm-up matches to shake the rust off and fine tune for the season. The remaining fall tournaments will be hosted at Grand Champions Polo Club. They are the Oct. 4-6 USPA Fall Classic, Oct. 13-15 USPA Kay Colee Memorial; Oct. 18-20 US Trust Cup, Oct. 25-27 USPA Fall Plates; Nov.1-3 Pedro Morrison Memorial and Nov. 8-10 Palm Restaurant Invitational.
The two 20-goal tournaments are the prestigious Oct. 30-Nov. 9 USPA North America Cup and Nov. 13-24 The National 20-Goal Championship.
During the 2012 fall season, Audi dominated the season winning back-to-back USPA North America Cup and USPA National 20-Goal Tournament titles with Marc Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida, Nic Roldan and Hall of Famer and former 10-goaler Carlos Gracida. In the national 20-goal final, Audi edged Piaget, 10-9.
The fall season is considered great preparation for the 20- and 26-goal seasons for 2014 in Wellington. The fall season is fun and competitive. Rosters and lineups change from tournament to tournament. Evenly-matched teams are put together to help build players skills and performance. All tournaments are USPA-sanctioned and have grown in stature since their start in the mid-1990s.
GRAND CHAMPIONS FALL SCHEDULE
Sept. 26-29, Prisa Invitational, Palm City, Boca Raton
Oct. 4-6, USPA Fall Classic
Oct. 13-15, USPA Kay Colee Memorial
Oct. 18-20, US Trust Cup
Oct. 25-27, USPA Fall Plates
Oct. 30-Nov. 9, USPA North America Cup
Nov. 1-3, Pedro Morrison Memorial
Nov. 8-10, Palm Restaurant Invitational
Nov. 13-24,The National 20-Goal Championship
PALM CITY POLO CLUB
WHERE: 18000 Jog Road, Boca Raton, 561-289-9099 (Club entrance is the first flashing light north of Clint Moore Road).
GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB
WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 561-644-5050.
INFORMATION: There are great field side views for tournament action at the home base of pro team Audi. Everyone is welcome to watch high and medium goal polo in a relaxed atmosphere during the spring and fall tournament season and other special events including the International Cup in November, Buzz Welker Memorial Junior Tournament in March, Women's Championship Tournament and Gay Polo League International Tournament, both in April.