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19

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New Bridge Polo & Country Club

3:00 PM UTC

Field One

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19

NATIONAL PRESIDENT'S CUP

New Bridge Polo & Country Club

8:00 PM UTC

Tipler Law/Cooper H&S

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21

DELEGATE'S CUP

Houston Polo Club - sf

9:15 PM UTC

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21

DELEGATE'S CUP

Houston Polo Club - sf

10:15 PM UTC

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Rocking P

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Tue

Oct

19

NATIONAL PRESIDENT'S CUP

New Bridge Polo & Country Club

3:00 PM UTC

Field One

SD Farms

Tue

Oct

19

NATIONAL PRESIDENT'S CUP

New Bridge Polo & Country Club

8:00 PM UTC

Tipler Law/Cooper H&S

SIG/Chukkers of Hope

Thu

Oct

21

DELEGATE'S CUP

Houston Polo Club - sf

9:15 PM UTC

BCI/CW Petroleum

Vintage Polo

Thu

Oct

21

DELEGATE'S CUP

Houston Polo Club - sf

10:15 PM UTC

Bearsden/Plank Companies

Rocking P

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MATT COPPOLA’S ADELE – POLO’S BLACK BEAUTY

Apr 13, 2021 5:24 PM

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Adele in the 2019 GAUNTLET OF POLO® with Las Monjitas. ©David Lominska
Adele in the 2019 GAUNTLET OF POLO® with Las Monjitas. ©David Lominska

Sharing her name with the iconic English singer-songwriter with a commanding presence, Adele (Riverdance x Riojana) has taken center stage in Matt Coppola’s string as his first homebred and uncontested favorite. Jet black except for a distinct white star on her forehead, the 9-year-old mare carries the genes of a proven sire and one of his father, Tony Coppola’s, best mares. Overcoming a life-threating illness to make a full recovery, the resilient mare made her high-goal debut in the inaugural GAUNTLET OF POLO® with Las Monjitas. Helping them reach both the 2019 C.V. Whitney Cup® and U.S. Open Polo Championship® Final, the 4-goaler’s rising star has been reserved exclusively for the Florida high-goal season ever since.

More than just another polo pony poised for GAUNTLET glory, Adele is especially meaningful to both father and son, passing down a piece of Tony’s polo legacy to the next generation. Although similar in playing style with her full siblings Sundance and Junebug, Riojana’s first foal Adele has proven herself to be the best of the three, competing in 8-goal all the way to 22-goal polo. Taking the field in her third consecutive GAUNTLET, Adele is a strategic fifth and sixth chukker powerhouse for Park Place, instilling her talented American owner with the courage to take on any play with confidence.

Park Place's Matt Coppola and Adele out in front of Scone's David Paradice in the 2021 GAUNTLET OF POLO®. ©David Lominska
Park Place's Matt Coppola and Adele out in front of Scone's David Paradice in the 2021 GAUNTLET OF POLO®. ©David Lominska

Tell us about her breeding.

Matt: “She’s a homebred out of Riojana, one of my father’s best mares. Her sire Riverdance [River x Local Dancer] is owned by former American 10-goaler Owen Rinehart. I actually didn’t play her mother for very long, maybe just two years, but she was a really nice mare. We also liked Riverdance and he has given us some great horses, so it seemed like a good combination. We bred her at Rinehart’s Isinya HDC [Aiken, South Carolina], since we don’t have a farm to breed at home. She was trained by Beth Skolnik before she came back to us at around two years old. She was started by Juan Baez and we’ve had her in Wellington, Florida, since then.”

Tony: “I bought her mother Riojana as a three-year-old off the track and taught her to play polo. I played her for a number of years and then Matthew played her too. Adele was her first foal and she turned out so great that we decided to carry on with the same breeding combination. Her second foal was a stallion named Sundance and the mare Junebug is still a little green but showing great promise.”

When did you realize that she would be a great mare?

Matt: “We always knew from the first few rides that Adele was a super nice mare. We took our time with her and knew we could get a lot out of her. She was easy to train, but we knew we had to take it slow and didn’t want to rush her. She’s been playing competitive polo since she was four-and-a-half years old.”

Tony:She started her training very well and then we almost lost her as a three-year-old. She became very ill all of a sudden and was rushed to the clinic. They never really figured out what was wrong. Over a period of three weeks she was really unwell and in and out of the clinic. She had a 106-degree fever for 10 days, developed double pneumonia and when they met us at the clinic the first time, they were wearing hazmat suits because they weren’t sure what she had. Luckily with time, round-the-clock fluids and ice boots she started to get better, and she hasn’t shown any signs of it since. Maybe we should have called her Second Chance!”

Adele.

“She’s a very quiet mare, but she’s got this funny, quirky attitude. She always unties her halter and she walks around like she’s the boss of the barn.”  – Matt Coppola

What are her strengths?

Matt: “She’s pretty complete. She has a really good mouth, turns really fast and she also has a good top speed when galloping. When I get on her I have a lot of confidence. Every year I feel like she’s getting a little better each time and I think she’s at her prime this year. She’s one of those horses that is always making improvements instead of just staying the same.”

How would you describe Adele in one word?

Matt: “Perfect. She’s the barn favorite and the horse I have the most confidence on. When I get to the barn she’s the first horse I check on. Adele’s very sentimental to us because she’s our first homebred so it’s cool that my dad played her mom and now I am playing the daughter. For us it’s something really special between my dad and I.”

Matt Coppola celebrating Park Place's U.S. Open Polo Championship Quarterfinal victory with Andrey Borodin while on Adele. ©David Lominska
Matt Coppola celebrating Park Place's U.S. Open Polo Championship Quarterfinal victory with Andrey Borodin while on Adele. ©David Lominska

Have you had an opportunity to breed her yet?

Matt: “I have one colt named Khalid who is just turning one year old this April. He is by Martin Estrada’s stallion named Ocean Seven. This past breeding season I didn’t do any embryos just because it was hard with COVID-19, but if everything goes well I’d like to do one or two after the season is over. Adele’s my favorite horse and the best one I have so I’d like to start taking some embryos from her now. In the future I really hope I can use Hilario Ulloa’s stud Machitos Mesquite who came from England to play in Florida. He’s one of my favorite stallions at the moment and a phenomenal horse. I think he and Adele pair up really nicely.”

Matt Coppola celebrating the game-winning goal on Adele in the 2019 U.S. Open Polo Championship® semifinal. ©David Lominska
Matt Coppola celebrating the game-winning goal on Adele in the 2019 U.S. Open Polo Championship® Semifinal. ©David Lominska

Do you have a favorite playing memory on her?

Matt: “In the 2019 U.S. Open Polo Championship® Semifinal we [Las Monjitas] were tied with Tonkawa 12-all with 48 seconds left in the sixth chukker. I got the ball out of the throw in and although I must have been 80 to 100 yards out from goal I hit a neckshot and scored to put us up by one. When you are on your favorite horse and the one you are most comfortable on your confidence is through the roof. It was the most important goal I made in my life and it was on her.”

Has she won any awards?

Matt: “She won Best Horse of the Tournament in a 12-goal at Grand Champions Polo Club [in Wellington, Florida] and Best Playing Pony in Houston [Texas] when she was five or six years old. I only really play her in Florida now and she doesn’t leave the high-goal scene for me. She’s the best horse I have and it’s really important that she is sound every Florida season and gets a good rest in between. She’s special to me and I’d love to play her more but because she’s at the top of my string it’s good to know I have her for my most important season of the year.”

Where would you want to see her five years from now?

Matt: “I’d love to see her still playing competitively at the high-goal level in the GAUNTLET OF POLO®. My ultimate dream would be to play her and one of her offspring in the same game which for us being a small breeding operation would be an accomplishment like no other.”

Watch Adele compete in the U.S. Open Polo Championship® Semifinal on Thursday, April 15, at 4:00pm ET only on Global Polo TV.

*Matt Coppola is a Graduating Team USPA Member. 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.

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