Feb 26, 2019 9:29 PM



Antelope Jr. winners
12-Goal Pacific Coast Circuit Constitution Cup Champions: Antelope Jr. - Grant Palmer, Felipe Vercellino, Peter Blake, Jose Martinez.

During the qualifying games of Eldorado Polo Club’s 12-Goal Pacific Coast Circuit Constitution Cup, Grant Palmer’s Antelope Jr. foursome (Grant Palmer 0, Felipe Vercellino 6, Jose Ignacio Martinez 3T, Peter Blake 3) started out very strong with four wins, but then lost their next two games. The losses notwithstanding, the young Palmer group finished at the top and won a semifinal game to earn a spot in the final. Opposing them would be (Ben Soleimani 0, Santiago Von Wernich 5, Tomy Alberdi* 4, Joseph Stuart 3), who started the tournament slowly and improved as it continued, positioning themselves as a worthy foe. In fact, they defeated Antelope Jr. in bracket play.

Early play in the first half, while fast, featured little scoring. The first goal came from Soleimani on a run from center on a perfect setup. Vercellino answered back for Antelope Jr. to tie the score, but Alberdi crushed a 60-yard shot and the first ended with leading 2-1.

Santi Von Wernich
Santi Von Wernich carries the ball while Antelope Jr.'s Peter Blake defends.

Von Wernich scored the only goal in a rather choppy second chukker to lead by a pair of goals 3-1. While the play didn’t open up in the third, the scoring certainly did as extended their lead. Soleimani counted his second on another nice run and Alberdi scored one from the field and another perfectly executed Penalty 4. The reply from the Palmer group saw Martinez and Vercellino convert open-goal opportunities and led by three 6-3 at the end of the third.

The fourth allowed Antelope Jr. to come within one as Vercellino scored twice from the line, a Penalty 2 and 4. However, Stuart converted a 30-yard open goal to move into the lead again by two goals 7-5. Antelope Jr. opened up and took the lead for the first time in the fifth. Martinez scored twice from the field, Vercellino countering with his fourth penalty goal and a field goal to lead by two. Alberdi narrowed the gap to one with his second field goal and Antelope Jr. led 9-8 heading into the final chukker.

In a tense sixth, was unable to get even as Vercellino converted another open-goal penalty, offering the junior team the opportunity at a two-goal advantage. Alberdi then scored a Penalty 2 from the spot to narrow the gap to just one 10-9. Continued pressure from the Antelope Jr. team led to Vercellino’s second Penalty 4 conversion of the afternoon, ensuring the win 11–9.

MVP Jose Ignacio Martinez
Most Valuable Player Jose Ignacio Martinez.

Jose Ignacio Martinez, with his strong supporting play in the middle, was selected as the Most Valuable Player and Vienna, owned by Soleimani and played by Von Wernich in the second, was awarded the Best Playing Pony blanket.

BPP Vienna
Best Playing Pony, Vienna, owned by Ben Soleimani and played by Santiago Von Wernich in the second chukker.

Antelope Jr.: Grant Palmer (0), Felipe Vercellino (6), Peter Blake (3), Jose Martinez (3).
Twin Palms: Chris Maloney (1), Graham Bray (3), Ruben Coscia (4), Ulysses Escapite (4).
Farmers & Merchants Bank: Danny Walker (2), Julian Mannix (5), Mariano Gutierrez (4), Alonzo Cruz (1). Ben Soleimani (0), Santiago Von Wernich (5), Tommy Alberdi (4), Joseph Stuart (3).
Antelope:Geoff Palmer (0), Santiago Trotz (5), Marco Llambias (4), Jimmy Wright (3).
Highwood: Ron Mathison (0), Marcello Rodriguez-Abbiati (4), Francisco Mera-Rodriguez (4), Jared Sheldon (4)


Centurions winners
4-Goal Pacific Coast Circuit Constitution Cup Champions: Centurions (L to R) Cheryl Shindel, Lesley Tims, Luis Saracco, Ignacio Saracco

The 4-Goal Pacific Coast Circuit Constitution Cup Final featured a match-up between the Centurions (Cheryl Shindel -.5, Lesley Tims -.5, Luis Saracco 3, Ignacio Saracco 2) and CedarCreek (Nicholas Wilhem -1, Alex Green -.5, Ashton Wolf 3, Diego Cossio 2) on Sunday, February 24, at the Eldorado Polo Club in Indio, California. Although many thought the Centurions would easily sweep the game, CedarCreek came prepared to play hard-nosed polo from the outset.

The Centurions, giving up a half goal on handicap, led at the end of the first 2-.5. The second chukker was a much different game however as the management group went to work. Putting constant pressure on their opponents, CedarCreek outscored the Centurions by a pair of goals to lead at the half 3.5 – 3.

Centurions' Luis Saracco attempts a hook on CedarCreek's Diego Cossio.
Centurions' Luis Saracco attempts a hook on CedarCreek's Diego Cossio.

Consistent force by CedarCreek in the third chukker increased their lead 5.5 – 3. Stepping up their game to pull off the win, the Centurions made it happen in the final chukker, outscoring CedarCreek by three goals and squeezing out a victory with a final score of 7 – 6.5.

Ignacio Saracco led the scoring for the victors with four goals, Luis Saracco contributed two (one foul), and Tims added the game winning shot with little time remaining on the clock. CedarCreek counters, besides the handicap award, came from Wolf with four open-goal conversions and Cossio, who added two goals from the field.

MVP Ignacio Saracco
Most Valuable Player Ignacio Saracco.

In a great return to Eldorado Polo Club, Ignacio Saracco earned the title of Most Valuable Player and Maga, played by Saracco and co-owned with his brother Luis, was chosen as the Best Playing Pony.

BPP Maga
Best Playing Pony Maga, played by Ignacio Saracco.


BUSH LEAGUE (4): Virgil Kyle (.5), Shannon Mendez (-.5), Peter Blake (3), Jose Rodriquez (1).
EXIT CONSULTING GROUP/THERMAL (4): Lamar Rutherford (-1), Reg Whyte (0), Rodrigo Salinas (3), Felipe Sordelli (2).
CENTURIONS (4): Cheryl Schindel (-.5), Lesley Tims (-.5), Luis Saracco (3), Ignacio Saracco (2).
LUNA/REMAX (3.5): Jennifer Alexy (0), Gordon Ross (.5), Diego Larregli (3), Bauti Van Wernich (0).


CedarCreek (3.5): Nicholas Wilhelm (-1), Alex Green (-.5), Ashton Wolf (3), Diego Cossio (2).
ALPHA OMEGA (3): Eileen Duffy (-1), Bayne Bossom (2), Erik Wright (1.5), Alexis Payan (.5)
PALM DESERT (4): Dan Horn (0), Malia McCoy (1), Danny Juarez (3), Michael Riley Jordan (0).

*Tomy Alberdi is a member of Team USPA. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.

All photos courtesy of ©Kerri Kerly/Eldorado Polo Club.