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Grand Champions Pro Polo

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Grand Champions Pro Polo

Grand Champions Pro Teams Audi, Flight Options Begin Ylvisaker Cup This Week

WELLINGTON, FL-Jan. 29, 2014----Grand Champions Polo Club-based pro teams Audi and Flight Options will compete in their second 20-goal tournament of the season when the Ylvisaker Cup gets under way on Thursday.

Audi (Marc Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida, Nic Roldan, Nico Pieres) opens play on Thursday against Las Monjitas (Camilo Bautista, Geronimo Obregon, Eduardo Astrada, Alejandro Astrada) at 3 p.m.

Flight Options (Melissa Ganzi, Freddie Mannix, Miguel Novillo Astrada, Juan Bollini) plays its first game on Saturday at 1 p.m. against Orchard Hill (Steve Van Andel, Lucas Criado, Facundo Pieres, Marcos Alberdi) in a rematch of Sunday's Bobby Barry Cup final.

The third 20-goal tournament of the season, named after William "Bill" Ylvisaker, features fourteen teams including defending champion Coca-Cola.

Last year's Coca-Cola team (Gillian Johnston, Tommy Collingwood, Julio Arellano, Sugar Erskine) defeated Audi (Marc Ganzi, Mariano Gracida, Nic Roldan, Nico Pieres), 9-8 in overtime.

Ylvisaker was the founder of the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club. An avid polo player rated as high as seven goals, Ylvisaker won three U.S. Open Championships, two Coronation Cups, the Gold Cup and earned several national and international honors.

Ylvisaker founded the Polo Training Foundation in 1967 to teach and help develop young polo players. He was inducted into the Polo Hall of Fame in 1994. He died in Wellington on Feb. 6, 2010 at age 85.

Audi's Nico Pieres will play in this Thursday's match against Las Monjitas. Photo by Scott Fisher.

Audi and Flight Options are coming off the Joe Barry Memorial Cup and Bobby Barry Cup tournaments. Audi was eliminated by Orchard Hill, 13-6, in the Joe Barry Memorial Cup. Flight Options lost to Orchard Hill, 12-10, in the Bobby Barry Cup final.

Flight Options, a first-year team, will try and avenge its loss to Orchard Hill.

"We take away from the Bobby Barry tournament that we are a good team, and that we can beat anybody on any day," said Flight Options coach Joey Casey said. "We will try and build off of that and get better."

Flight Options led Orchard Hill 10-9 in the sixth chukker until Orchard Hill rallied for three goals in the final five minutes behind Facundo Pieres and Lucas Criado.

Freddie Mannix will play for Flight Options in Saturday's game against Orchard Hill, Photo by Scott Fisher.

"We know we can beat them," said Freddie Mannix. "We could have won. Obviously, we can't let them take the knock-in and run down the field and score which they did three or four times."

Flight Options, one of the season's new polo team sponsors, is the world's second largest private aviation fleet that flies throughout the United States, Canada, northern Mexico, Cabo San Lucas and the Bahamas.

For game recaps, news, features and photos of Grand Champions Polo Club-related events, go to www.grandchampionspoloclub.org.

2014 HIGH GOAL SEASON

JANUARY 30-FEBRUARY 23: Ylvisaker Cup-Thursday, Audi vs. Las Monjitas, 3 p.m.; Saturday, Flight Options vs. Orchard Hill, 1 p.m.; Feb. 6, Audi vs. CT Energia, 3 p.m.; Feb. 9, Flight Options vs. Villa del Lago/Casablanca, noon; Feb. 12, Audi vs. Los Machitos/Heathcote, 4 p.m.; Feb. 13, Flight Options vs. Lechuza Caracas, 1 p.m.; Feb 16, Quarterfinals; Feb. 19, Semifinals; Feb. 23, Finals.

FEBRUARY 22-MARCH 8: Iglehart Cup

FEBRUARY 14: National Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

FEBRUARY 16-MARCH 2: C.V. Whitney Cup

MARCH 5-23: USPA Piaget Gold Cup

MARCH 26-APRIL 20: 110th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championships