C.V. Whitney Cup
Originally known as the U.S. Handicap, the C.V. Whitney Cup was first competed for in 1979 by handicap, and played in conjunction with the U.S. Open Polo Championship®. Played at Retama Polo Center in San Antonio, Texas, it was won the first two years by Tulsa. Nine years later, in 1988, the tournament was renamed for C.V. (Cornelius Vanderbilt “Sonny”) Whitney, an avid polo player and three-time winner of the U.S. Open in 1928, 1937 and 1938, and son of 10-goal Hall of Famer Harry Payne Whitney. In its inaugural years in 1988 and 1989, Mr. Whitney was on hand in Lexington, Kentucky, to make the first presentations of the C.V. Whitney Cup. The winner of the cup those first two years was the Ft. Lauderdale team of Jack Oxley, Joey Casey, Ernesto Trotz and Bart Evans.
Now played as a stand-alone tournament, the C.V. Whitney Cup is the first of three 22-goal tournaments in the GAUNTLET OF POLO® at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) in Wellington, Florida. Its home since 2003, it will be followed by the USPA Gold Cup® and the U.S. Open Polo Championship®. In 2015 the Orchard Hill team defeated Alegria in the highest-scoring final in C.V. Whitney Cup history 16-13. Orchard Hill defended their title in 2016, defeating Audi 11-9, but the defending champions lost the trophy to rival Valiente in 2017 14-11. Notable past winners include Valiente (2012, 2014, 2017, 2018), Lechuza (1999, 2002, 2011) and White Birch (1995, 1996, 2000, 2001 and 2005).
Surviving a fierce single-elimination tournament in 2019, Pilot and Las Monjitas emerged out of a field of 16 challengers to contend for the C.V. Whitney Cup Final. Confident coming off a strong semifinal game, Pilot demonstrated a series of expertly timed plays by the Pieres brothers, capitalizing on Las Monjitas’ three-man team for a portion of the second half to easily sweep the first 22-goal title 13-6. 2019 C.V. Whitney Cup Champions, Pilot, return this year with Lucas Escobar to defend their title against a strong field of contenders, including five 10-goalers, the highest-handicapped of all polo players. The 10-goalers competing this year include Sapo Caset, Facundo Pieres, Gonzalito Pieres, Polito Pieres and Pelon Stirling.
History was made during the first GAUNTLET OF POLO® in 2019, when Pilot captured all three events to win the $500,000 bonus and earn $1 million over the course of the series. Alongside Pilot are 13 other teams. Click here to learn more about the GAUNTLET OF POLO®.
Photo: 2020 C.V. Whitney Cup Champions: Las Monjitas - Mackenzie Weisz, Francisco Elizalde, Camilo Bautista, David 'Pelon' Stirling. ©David Lominska