BUTLER HANDICAP® | U.S. POLO ASSN.

April 21, 2024

BUTLER HANDICAP®

The Butler Handicap will be livestreamed on Chukker.TV.

WATCH HERE

BUTLER HANDICAP®

TOURNAMENT HISTORY

In 1954, the U.S. Open Polo Championship changed venues from the Meadow Brook Club on Long Island, New York, to the Oak Brook Polo Club in Illinois. On the outskirts of Chicago, Oak Brook was an outstanding polo and golf complex built by Paul Butler. Housed on thousands of acres, in its heyday, Oak Brook boasted 13 polo fields and stabling for 400 horses. It was in this same year, 1954, that the Butler Handicap was established. Named in honor of Paul Butler, in his early 60s at the time, his litany of polo accomplishments, including 29 dedicated years on the USPA Board of Governors, warranted a commemorative tournament.

Centrality was the primary benefit of Oak Brook; situated in the middle of the country, shipping was less of a concern, and consequently more teams were drawn to Chicago for the U.S. Open. Paul Butler saw this as an opportunity to capitalize on both players and spectators traveling to the area. Since teams traveled a long distance to play in the U.S. Open, he proposed another tournament, to run concurrently for those teams knocked out of the prestigious tournament. In this way, the Butler Handicap maintained a competitive and high standard of play equal to the U.S. Open. As the tournament was Mr. Butler’s idea, it was aptly named in his honor. The Butler Handicap, therefore, traditionally served as a handicap tournament for teams entering the U.S. Open and became an important USPA event for over six decades, showcasing premier players, horses and polo club venues. During that time span, just about every notable player and numerous Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame inductees competed for the prestigious title.

In its inaugural year, the Butler Handicap was won by CCC-Meadow Brook, comprised of players Don Beveridge, G.H. “Pete” Bostwick, Alan Corey Jr. and Harold Barry. This same team took the Monty Waterbury and the U.S. Open Polo Championship, rounding out a notable triple victory.

The tournament was played every year until 1966, with a few exceptions. After a brief hiatus the tournament was played uninterrupted from 1971-1990 almost exclusively at the Oak Brook Polo Club, with the club fielding back-to-back championship teams in 1972 and 1973. Oak Brook remained the mecca of polo until 1978, when the U.S. Open Polo Championship found a new home at the Retama Polo Center in San Antonio, Texas. During this time span, only two teams achieved multiple victories including Oak Brook (1979, 1986, 1987) and Rolex A&K (1983, 1984).

In the late 90s and early 2000s the Butler Handicap was played only a handful of times: 1995, 2006 and 2007. From 2008 to 2014, the Butler Handicap served as a subsidiary to the USPA Gold Cup, one of three Gauntlet of Polo tournaments leading up to the U.S. Open Polo Championship in Wellington, Florida.

In 2014, due to the combined efforts of the Butler family and the USPA, the historic Butler Handicap was officially adopted as a national USPA event. Showcasing the breadth of competition and difficulty to reach the podium, the last consecutive victories were earned by White Birch (2015, 2016). Recent victors include Coca-Cola (2017), Valiente (2018), Pilot (2019), Traveller's Rest (2020), Old Hickory Bourbon (2021, 2023) and Beverly Polo (2022).

In 2023, Old Hickory Bourbon (Matias Magrini, Vaughn Miller Jr., Antonio Heguy, Stevie Orthwein) went head-to-head against Hawaii Polo Life (Chris Dawson, Gonzalo Ferrari, Santino Magrini, Tomas Panelo, sub. Pelon Stirling, sub. Digvijay "Dig" Singh) at Port Mayaca Polo Club (PMPC) in Okeechobee, Florida. A close game from start to finish, Old Hickory Bourbon gained the lead in the first chukker and never trailed their opponent. Old Hickory Bourbon’s relentless defensive efforts gave them just enough space to outscore Hawaii Polo Life, grasping a narrow 8-7 victory as time expired. Read article here.

Hosted by Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington, Florida, Maltese Falcons and NetJets will go head-to-head to determine a new champion in the Butler Handicap. Representing Team USPA are alumni Cody Ellis (NetJets) and Grant Ganzi (Maltese Falcons).

2023 Butler Handicap Champions: Old Hickory Bourbon - Vaughn Miller Jr., Antonio Heguy, Matias Magrini, Stevie Orthwein, presented by Ginny Orthwein. ©David Lominska

TEAMS AND ROSTERS

Bracket I

Bracket II

Bracket III

Bracket IV

Bracket V

Bracket VI

Bracket VII

Bracket VIII

Bracket IX

Bracket X

no bracket

Maltese Falcons (1-0)

player photo
Melissa Ganzi
Outdoor: 0
player photo
Grant Ganzi
Outdoor: 3
player photo
Alejandro Novillo Astrada
Outdoor: 7
player photo
Gonzalo Pieres Jr.
Outdoor: 9

NetJets (0-1)

player photo
Santos Bollini
Outdoor: 2
player photo
Ignacio Figueras
Outdoor: 5
player photo
Ignacio Novillo Astrada
Outdoor: 8
player photo
Cody Ellis
Outdoor: 5

BUTLER HANDICAP®

TOURNAMENT GAMES

Sunday, Apr 21, 2024

April 21

Final

Butler Handicap®

Grand Champions Polo Club

Maltese Falcons logo

Maltese Falcons (1-0)

11

NetJets logo

NetJets (0-1)

9

BUTLER HANDICAP®

THE VENUE

Active during fall, winter and spring seasons, Grand Champions Polo Club (GCPC) occupies 11 well-manicured fields on multiple locations in the heart of Wellington, Florida. Owned by Marc and Melissa Ganzi, GCPC and the polo facility at Santa Rita Polo Farm hosts polo tournaments ranging from 6- to 26-goals in addition to special events. Grand Champions is one of only a few select clubs in the nation to host two 20-goal USPA tournaments, the North American Cup and National Twenty Goal.

Catering to men, women and youth polo players of all levels, Grand Champions’ expert staff can customize a complete playing experience including horses, pros and certified umpires. Lessons at The Polo School and practice sessions are available as part of the Polo On Demand program, a unique program only available at GCPC. The club’s own Santa Rita Polo Farm houses 120 stalls, an exercise track and three polo fields.


13444 Southfields Rd
Wellington, FL 33414
View Map
Club Website Club Profile