Feb 08, 2023 4:37 PM
On Thursday, February 2, the C.V. Whitney Cup draw determined the brackets for the upcoming start to the highly anticipated fifth installation of the Gauntlet of Polo series. A momentous year for the event, this edition of the Gauntlet will mark the first time that the competition is held at the USPA-owned National Polo Center - Wellington (Wellington, Florida).
Originally known as the U.S. Handicap, the C.V. Whitney Cup was first competed for in 1979. Nine years later in 1988, the tournament was renamed for C.V. (Cornelius Vanderbilt “Sonny”) Whitney, an avid polo player, three-time winner of the U.S. Open Polo Championship (1928, 1937, 1938) and son of 10-goal Hall of Famer, Harry Payne Whitney. Serving as the first tournament of the three-part Gauntlet of Polo since 2019, the C.V. Whitney Cup will welcome 12 talented teams, all of which will pursue the USPA Gold Cup and U.S. Open Polo Championship following the starting leg of the series.
Of the teams competing, Gauntlet of Polo newcomer Valiente is the most decorated in past C.V. Whitney Cup victories, with four wins, all of which were achieved in the last 10 years. To make their odds even stronger, 10-goal virtuoso Adolfo Cambiaso brings with him seven wins in the tournament. 2022 and 2021 victors Park Place, however, look to replicate their recent success for a third consecutive win, while 2022 runners-up Scone hope to avenge their loss.
Fresh off of wins in the 2022 USPA Gold Cup and U.S. Open Polo Championship, Pilot has also positioned themselves as a favorite in the starting leg of the Gauntlet. Similar to Cambiaso, 10-goal Pilot captain Facundo Pieres has accumulated significant success in this tournament, triumphing a total of six times, most recently in 2019 when Pilot secured all three Gauntlet of Polo trophies and emerged as the first and only GAUNTLET champions. Pilot returns with two members of their original 2019 lineup - Curtis Pilot and Facundo Pieres. 2022 Pilot competitor Matias Torres Zavaleta will join the team once again as well.
Utilizing the same prize money distribution for the 2023 Gauntlet of Polo, the format guarantees a total of $200,000 in prize money. $50,000 will be awarded to each of the winning teams of the C.V. Whitney Cup and USPA Gold Cup. Similarly, $100,000 in prize money will be presented to the winner of the U.S. Open Polo Championship and any team that wins all three tournaments will be crowned the GAUNTLET Champion. In keeping with the spirit of philanthropy, U.S. Polo Assn. will provide a $2,500 donation to the winner and runner-up teams of all three finals to be donated to a polo charity of their choice.
The list of participating teams in their newly announced tournament brackets are available below:
Scone (22) - Cody Ellis (4), David “Pelon” Stirling (9), David Paradice (0), Poroto Cambiaso (9)
Pilot - Curtis Pilot (0), Facundo Pieres (10), Matias Torres Zavaleta (8), TBA
Dazos (21) - David Farache (0), Dylan Rossiter (6), Nicolas “Nico” Pieres (9), Santi Torres (6)
La Elina (22) - Jared Zenni (6), Jeff Hall (6), Matt Coppola (5), Nico Escobar (5)
Valiente (22) - Adolfo Cambiaso (10), Bob Jornayvaz (0), Lucas “Luckitas” Criado (6), Mariano “Peke” Gonzalez (6)
Aspen (22) - Francisco “Pancho” Bensadon (7), Nicolas “Nico” Saenz (5), Rufino Bensadon (8), Stewart Armstrong (2)
Two Trees Polo (21) - Juan Sanchez Elia (5), Mariano Aguerre (7), Miguel Novillo Astrada (8), Will Johnston (1)
Shack Attack - Matias Magrini (7), Santiago Toccalino (8), Santino Magrini (4), TBA
La Fe (22) - Francisco Elizalde (9), Louis Devaleix (1), Lucas Diaz Alberdi (6), Robi Bilbao (6)
Dutta Corp/Show+ (22) - Joaquin Avendaño (4), Mariano “Nino” Obregon (6), Timmy Dutta* (4), Tomas Garcia del Rio (8)
Tamera (22) - Alejandro Poma (1), Diego Cavanagh (9), Pedrinho “Pedro” Zacharias (7), Segundo Saravi (5)
Park Place (22) - Hilario Ulloa (10), Juan Britos (9), Andrey Borodin (0), Jason Wates (3)
The C.V. Whitney Cup will begin on Sunday, February 12. Teams will play within their bracket. The top two from each bracket will meet in the first round. The loser of the first game in each bracket will play the third team in the bracket. The winner of the first game in each bracket will then play the third team. After bracket play, the top team from each bracket will advance to the semifinals. In the event of a tie, the win/loss, net goals, gross goals format will be used. Semifinals pairings will be determined by a draw. Winners of the semifinals will advance to the final.
Sunday, February 12
10:00am ET- Scone vs. Pilot
12:30pm ET- Dutta Corp/Show+ vs. Tamera
Monday, February 13
11:00am ET - La Elina vs. Valiente
3:00pm ET - Two Trees vs. Shack Attack
Wednesday, February 15
11:00am ET - Scone vs. Dazos
3:00pm ET - Duta Corp/Show+ vs. Park Place
Thursday, February 16
11:00am ET - La Elina vs. Aspen
3:00pm ET- Loser Game 4 vs. La Fe
Saturday, February 18
11:00am ET - Pilot vs. Dazos
3:00pm ET - Tamera vs. Park Place
Sunday, February 19
12:30pm ET - Winner Game 4 vs. La Fe
3:00pm ET - Valiente vs. Aspen
Wednesday, February 22
11:00am ET - Semifinal
3:00pm ET - Semifinal
Sunday, February 26
3pm – C.V. Whitney Cup Final
The 2023 Gauntlet of Polo will begin February 12-26, with the C.V. Whitney Cup, followed by the USPA Gold Cup March 1-26 and conclude with the U.S. Open Polo Championship March 29-April 23. All Sunday featured games will be held on NPC U.S. Polo Assn. Field One.
Spectating from the NPC stadium, private boxes, fieldside tailgates and special hospitality tents all overlooking U.S. Polo Assn. Field One is an unparalleled experience available for Sunday matches throughout the Gauntlet of Polo series. Tickets can be purchased at nationalpolocenter.com.
The semifinals and final of the C.V. Whitney Cup will be livestreamed by the USPA Polo Network on uspolo.org, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch free of charge. Discover more about livestreaming in 2023 here.
To learn more about the Gauntlet of Polo and stay up-to-date on the latest schedule and news about the series, please visit the Gauntlet of Polo landing page.
All photos courtesy of ©David Lominska.
Effective Date: Saturday, May 16, 2020
The suspension of USPA Tournaments and Events will be lifted for USPA Member Clubs in locales where hosting polo matches and tournaments is permitted under applicable state and local laws, executive orders and similar decrees. The USPA Member Clubs in these locales are encouraged to follow all such requirements of their state and local authorities with respect to polo operations. In addition, we also encourage all USPA Member Clubs to take the precautions recommended by the CDC. We are preparing a detailed list of best practices for USPA Member Clubs as they return to hosting USPA Tournaments and Events and plan to circulate these guidelines within the next week. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and will notify you if we determine a different course of action is necessary.Read More