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 in a series of three 22-goal tournaments hosted by the National Polo Center - Wellington (NPC) in Wellington, Florida. Making its inaugural debut at NPC, the C.V. Whitney Cup will be followed by the USPA Gold Cup and the U.S. Open Polo Championship. Notable past winners include Valiente (2012, 2014, 2017, 2018), Lechuza (1999, 2002, 2011) and White Birch (1995, 1996, 2000, 2001 and 2005).
History was made during the inaugural Gauntlet of Polo in 2019, when Pilot won the C.V. Whitney Cup starting a run to capture all three events, winning the $500,000 prize money, then earning $1 million over the course of the series and becoming the only team to do so.
Facing-off for the second consecutive year in the C.V. Whitney Cup final, newly established rivals Park Place (Josh Hyde, Juan Britos, Hilario Ulloa, Cody Ellis) and Scone (David Paradice, Kristos “Keko” Magrini, Poroto Cambiaso, Adolfo Cambiaso) descended on U.S. Polo Assn. Field One for a riveting rematch. Once again revelling in the daunting task of overcoming the firepower of a unbeaten Scone, Ulloa’s spectacular eight-goal feat propelled Park Place back into the winner’s circle 14-11, securing back-to-back C.V. Whitney Cup titles and $50,000 in prize money. Read article here.
Vying for a historic three-peat, reigning champions Park Place return to the C.V. Whitney Cup with new addition Jason Wates. Eleven competitive teams will attempt to unseat Park Place's recent reign, including 2022 Gold Cup and U.S. Open Polo Championship victors Pilot, where Pilot will see the return of Matias Gonzalez for the first time since 2019.
Returning to the C.V. Whitney Cup for the first time since 2018, renowned powerhouse Valiente will seek to add a fifth title to their name, as newcomers Dazos and Two Trees aim to make their mark on the historic tournament. Among this year’s competitors, top American talents Jeff Hall, Jared Zenni, Matt Coppola and Nicolas 'Nico' Escobar will join forces to play for last year’s U.S. Open Polo Championship finalist, La Elina. La Elina joins the competition as the only All-American team on the roster.
10-goalers competing this year include current C.V Whitney Cup champion Hilario Ulloa (Park Place), 2022 USPA Gold Cup and U.S. Open Polo Championship champion Facundo Pieres (Pilot), and seven-time C.V. Whitney Cup champion (1991, 1995, 1996, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2018) Adolfo Cambiaso.
Coming together in a commanding alliance, 9-goalers Pelon Stirling and Poroto Cambiaso look to repeat their recent success in the Argentine Open for third-year contender, Scone. Though Adolfo Cambiaso (Valiente) and son Poroto (Scone) will play for separate teams this year, two other father-son duos will take the field together, with Rufino Bensadon and Pancho Bensadon joining Aspen and Santino Magrini and Matias Magrini on the Shack Attack roster.
The winner of the C.V. Whitney Cup will receive $50,000. In partnership with USPA Global Licensing, each of the teams will select a charity of their choice from 10 non-profits and both charities of the winner and runners-up will receive a $2,500 donation.
Team USPA, an Association program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players will be readily represented in the C.V. Whitney Cup. Seven Team USPA alumni and two Active Team USPA Members are represented across six teams highlighting the depth of American talent.
Learn more about the Gauntlet of Polo.
Photo: 2022 C.V. Whitney Cup® Champions: Park Place - Josh Hyde, Juan Britos, Andrey Borodin, Hilario Ulloa, Cody Ellis. ©David Lominska