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POLO COMMUNITY UNITES FOR ZAVALETA PERPETUAL CUP

Apr 26, 2022 4:52 PM

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Zavaleta Cup Competitors: Park Place's Juan Martin Nero, Barto Castagnola, Hilario Ulloa, Juan Britos and Pilot's Pablo MacDonough, Magoo Laprida, Goinzalito Pieres, Facundo Pieres.
Zavaleta Cup Competitors: Park Place's Juan Martin Nero, Barto Castagnola, Hilario Ulloa, Juan Britos and Pilot's Pablo MacDonough, Magoo Laprida, Gonzalito Pieres, Facundo Pieres.

On a rare occasion in high-goal polo, it wasn't about the wins and losses Friday, April 22, at windswept Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington, Florida. It was about the polo community coming together to support Clemente "Corchito" Zavaleta and his family in the inaugural Zavaleta Perpetual Cup.

Some of the world's top players competed in a four chukker, 38-goal game to benefit the recovery fund for Zavaleta. The lineups featured five current 10-goalers including Hilario Ulloa, Juan Martin Nero, Facundo Pieres, Pablo MacDonough and Gonzalito Pieres.

Park Place's Bartolome Castagnola and Pilot's Gonzalito Pieres.
Park Place's Bartolome Castagnola and Pilot's Gonzalito Pieres.

Park Place (Juan Britos, Hilario Ulloa, Bartolome Castagnola, Juan Martin Nero) defeated Pilot (Facundo Pieres, Gonzalito Pieres, Magoo Laprida, Pablo MacDonough) 4-2 in an emotionally charged game. Ulloa, who scored three goals, was named Most Valuable Player. 17-year-old Grappa Dalma (Sportivo x Open Lechuza X), owned and played by Facundo Pieres, was awarded Best Playing Pony honors. Henry Zavaleta presented the awards and embraced every player during the post-game ceremony.

The game was played in honor of the Argentine 7-goaler who suffered a serious accident while playing for Alegria in the World Polo League. The 36-year-old underwent two surgeries and currently remains in the hospital in stable condition.

Park Place's Hilario Ulloa was one of five 10-goalers participating in the event.
Park Place's Hilario Ulloa was one of five 10-goalers participating in the event.

“Messages and support from the polo community all around the world have been overwhelming” said Facundo Pieres, a close longtime childhood friend of Corchito. “I was talking with Magoo Laprida and Hillario Ulloa, who are both quite close to Corchito, and we wanted to create an event to bring people together to show our support for his recovery. We asked the Ganzi family if Grand Champions would give us a place to play a match in his honor and they accepted without hesitation. I think the event was especially nice for his wife Isabella and the daughters as we celebrated our good friend and helped raise funds for his full recovery.”

Park Place's Juan Britos.
Park Place's Juan Britos.

With two 38-goal rated teams competing, it was the highest goal game ever held at Grand Champions in the club's 15-year history. The game was livestreamed worldwide by ChukkerTV and can now be watched on the ChukkerTV website.

“Melissa and I were honored to host this important event in order to help the Zavaleta family in these challenging times,” said Marc Ganzi, co-owner of Grand Champions Polo Club. “It is moments like this when the polo community shines and steps up for our own. We view the polo community as one big family – and this is what families do for each other – we support each other in times of need.”

Best Playing Pony was awarded to Grappa Dalma, played and owned by Facundo Pieres.
Best Playing Pony was awarded to Grappa Dalma, played and owned by Facundo Pieres, pictured with Facundo Burgos.

Ganzi also shared, "I want to give special praise and thanks to Curtis Pilot and Andrey Borodin, who graciously gave their support to this event by helping put two teams on the field and led with us in raising of critical funds for Corchito’s recovery.”

A GoFundMe account, organized by Grand Champions Polo Club, has been established to raise funds for Zavaleta’s medical bills and recovery. The goal amount is $800,000.

All photos courtesy of ©Chukker TV/Candace Ferreira.

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