U.S. Open Championships Features 13 Teams, Prestigious Sponsors At
International Polo Club Palm Beach
Florida Thirteen teams, featuring nine 10-goalers, have entered
the Stanford Financial Group 100th U.S. Open Polo Championship,
the most prestigious polo tournament in North America, highlighting
the historic inaugural polo season at the International Polo Club
26-goal tournament begins March 19 and culminates with the championship
match on Sunday, April 18 at 3 p.m. Fifteen teams, in 2002, is the
record for teams in a U.S. Open.
(the sports maximum rating) scheduled to play in the tournament
are Mariano Aguerre (White Birch), Javier Novillo Astrada (Las Monjitas),
Miguel Novillo Astrada (Bendabout), Mike Azzaro (Catamount), Bautista
Heguy (Pony Express), Eduardo Heguy (Orchard Hill), Pite Merlos
(Lechuza Caracas), Sebastian Merlos (Lechuza Caracas) and Adam Snow
teams Bendabout and Lechuza Caracas have a pair of
10-goalers on their rosters. American Adam Snow and Argentine Miguel
Novillo Astrada again form the nucleus for Gillian Johnstons
Coca-Cola team (now Bendabout) that won the 2002 U.S. Open championship.
Brothers Pite and Sebastian Merlos of Argentina will patrol the
middle for Victor Vargas Lechuza Caracas, a team that reached
the final in 2003. The Merlos won the U.S. Open as teammates
on Escue in 1998 and Les Diables Bleus in 1990.
is the ultimate year for the U.S. Open, said Azzaro, who has
won the U.S. Open title six times. Being held at the International
Polo Club and being the 100-year anniversary, its going to
be the U.S. Open tournament to win in our lifetime. The team that
wins has to be considered a dominant force in polo.
first U.S. Open title game was played in 1904 at Van Cortland Park
in New York City where the Wanderers defeated the Freebooters 4
½-3, the lowest scoring final in the history of the tournament.
C Spear, with patron Tommy Boyle, and led by Carlos Gracida, Matias
Magrini and Jeff Hall, won the 2003 U.S. Open.
largest margin of victory occurred in the 1932 U.S. Open when Templeton
defeated Greentree 16-3. The smallest margin of victory has been
one goal. That has happened 27 times, the most recent in 1994 when
Aspen defeated White Birch 8-7.
no place like Wellington or Palm Beach. This is the mecca of polo,
said John Goodman, who founded the International Polo Club Palm
Beach and is patron of the Isla Carroll team. I think everybody
comes here to compete at the highest levels.
Gracida, a 10-goaler for more than 20 years who was elected to the
Polo Hall of Fame in 1997 as an active player, has won a record
15 U.S. Open titles, the last in 1997 with Isla Carroll. His younger
brother, Carlos, is second with nine U.S. Open crowns, including
last years victory with C Spear. For the 2004 U.S. Open, Memo
is back with Isla Carroll while Carlos will be playing with Catamount.
Both carry a 9-goal rating in 2004.
Stanford Financial Group U.S. Open will be played on the
International Polo Club Palm Beachs five world-class Bermuda-grass
playing fields and teams will also take advantage of the many private
fields in Wellington.
Houston-based Stanford Financial Group, a privately-held global
network of affiliated companies, has signed on as the title sponsor
of the 100th U.S. Open Polo Championship in 2004. Stanfords
family of companies provides international private banking, trust
and brokerage services and real estate development. Currently, the
Stanford organization manages in excess of $17 billion in deposits
and assets, serving clients on six continents. The success of the
group is the result of entrepreneurial spirit and drive spearheaded
by third generation Chairman and CEO R. Allen Stanford.
the high-goal teams on the field, the International Polo Club Palm
Beach has amassed a lineup of prestigious sponsors for the U.S.
Open. The U.S. Open tournament will feature a different presenting
sponsor every Sunday, including Bombardier Aerospace, Cunard Ltd.
is the worlds standard in business aircraft solutions and
offers a full range of air charter services. Cunard owns the Queen
Mary 2, the largest, longest, tallest and grandest ocean liner ever
built. Hummer, the official vehicle for the inaugural season at
International Polo Club Palm Beach, is the worlds No. 1 luxury
the world-renowned studios of Mitchell Peck have created a spectacular
new trophy that will be awarded during A Salute to The Champions
match on Sunday, April 4. Inspired by the trophies created in the
19th century, it stands 24 inches tall and boast a full team of
polo players with heads bowed reverentially, busts of horses in
full tack, decorated plinths and a hand-raised bowl 14 inches in
As always, there will be a delicious Sunday brunch preceding the
featured stadium match, catered by The Breakers, the now traditional
and very popular champagne divot stomp and an awards presentation.
tickets for the U.S. Open tournament range from $15 for general
admission to $120 for tailgating spots. For ticket information for
the U.S. Open, please call the club at (561) 204-5687 or visit online