USPA GOLD CUP®
The USPA Gold Cup® is the second 22-goal tournament of the Florida high-goal season and the second leg of the GAUNTLET OF POLO®. Established in 1974 at Oak Brook Polo Club in Oak Brook, Illinois, its first edition featured four teams. Inaugural winners Milwaukee (Tom Hughes, Tommy Wayman, Joe Barry, Robert Uihlein III) bested Houston 9-8, in a thrilling overtime victory with Wayman scoring the golden goal three minutes into the sudden death chukker. The following year, the USPA Gold Cup® was moved to Milwaukee Polo Club (Hartland, Wisconsin) where it was played from 1975 to 1978. In 1979 it moved to Florida and became the crown jewel of the winter season. In its heyday at the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club, during the 80s and early 90s, the USPA Gold Cup® was the tournament to win, attracting anywhere from 11 to 20 teams.
After a 17-year stretch at the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club, the tournament was hosted by several clubs over the years including Royal Palm Polo Club (now defunct), Greenwich Polo Club (Greenwich, Connecticut) and New Bridge Polo & Country Club (Aiken, South Carolina), before landing at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) in Wellington, Florida, where it has remained since 2007.
Notable contemporary winners include Valiente (2018, 2017, 2014, 2013, 2012), Audi (2015, 2011) and Crab Orchard (2010, 2007). White Birch holds the all-time record wins with 12 titles spanning three decades.
In 2019, Pilot outwitted their opponents one by one in bracket play, landing themselves in the final against Aspen. With tensions high and the chance to knock off the prospective GAUNTLET Champions, the game came down to the wire forcing an overtime chukker. Pilot managed to seal yet another title, narrowly preserving their undefeated streak 12-11. History was made during the inaugural 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.
The 2020 USPA Gold Cup® was postponed on March 17, 2020, due to rising health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic and was unable to be completed in 2020, but the semifinals were rescheduled in 2021, with La Indiana and Daily Racing Form advancing to the final. The only team to defeat GAUNTLET champions Pilot, La Indiana built a seven-goal lead in the first half to hold on for the 14-9 victory.
Narrowly missing the 2021 the C.V. Whitney Cup® with an overtime defeat, Scone returned in the second tournament of the GAUNTLET OF POLO® determined to carve their name on the prestigious trophy. Competing against Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Lucas Escobar, Sapo Caset, Francisco Elizalde), the only undefeated team in the tournament, Scone (David Paradice, Adolfo Cambiaso, Poroto Cambiaso, Peke Gonzalez) opened strong and quickly extended their lead with effective plays and finesse to claim a 13-10 victory. Although a veteran of the tournament with an impressive 15 titles to his credit since 1991, Cambiaso had yet to raise the trophy with his son until 2021.
All nine teams that competed in the 2022 C.V. Whitney Cup® (Cessna, Coca-Cola, Dutta Corp/Show+, La Fe, La Indiana, Pilot, SD Farms) will be returning for the USPA Gold Cup®, including current C.V. Whitney Cup® champions Park Place (Josh Hyde, Juan Britos, Hilario Ulloa, Cody Ellis) and defending USPA Gold Cup® champions Scone (Miki Astrada, Kristos "Keko" Magrini, Poroto Cambiaso, Adolfo Cambiaso).
Granting individual entires for the first time in the GAUNTLET format, four newcomers (CK Shack, La Elina, Old Hickory Bourbon/Airstream, Tamera) will enter the second leg of the GAUNTLET, bringing the competition to an impressive total of thirteen teams vying for the 2022 USPA Gold Cup®.
The 10-goalers competing this year include Guillermo "Sapo" Caset (La Elina), Hilario Ulloa (Park Place), Facundo Pieres (Pilot), David "Pelon" Stirling (SD Farms) and Adolfo Cambiaso (Scone).
Showcasing many young, talented polo players, the competition will feature Active Team USPA Members Timmy Dutta (Dutta Corp/Show+), Lucas Escobar (SD Farms) Kristos "Keko" Magrini (Scone), Graduating USPA Members Nico Escobar (Coca-Cola), Santino Magrini (CK Shack) and Team USPA Alumni Cody Ellis (Park Place).
The winner of the USPA Gold Cup® will receive $50,000 in prize money. In partnership with USPA Global Licensing, each of the finalist teams will select a polo charity of their choice to receive a $2,500 donation. Click here to learn more about the GAUNTLET OF POLO®.
2022 USPA Gold Cup Champions: Pilot - Curtis Pilot, Mackenzie Weisz, Matias Torres Zavaleta, Facundo Pieres. ©David Lominska.