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CARBONDALE, Colo., August 2, 2019---Only two teams remain undefeated after two days of action in the prestigious USPA 119th Silver Cup.

Trailing for most of the game, Casablanca (Grant Ganzi, 3, Juancito Bollini, 4, Lucas Lalor, 5, Nacho Novillo Astrada, 8) rallied in the sixth chukker to defeat Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, A, Gussie Busch, 2, Hilario Ulloa, 10, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 8), 11-9, Thursday at McClure River Ranch Stadium.

Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, A, Juan Martin Obregon, 5, Sapo Caset, 10, Mason Wroe, 4) led from start-to-finish to beat Audi (Marc Ganzi, 2, Hilario Figueras, 3, Nic Roldan, 8, Jared Zenni, 6), 10-8, Wednesday, at Tonkawa's High Mesa Field.

Also on Wednesday at McClure River Ranch, La Karina (Brian Boyd, .5, Tincho Merlos, 8, Sebastian Merlos, 8, Carlitos Gracida, 4) bounced back from its tournament-opening one-goal loss to Audi by dominating McClure River Ranch (Salvador Lockey, 2, Kris Kampsen, 6, Alfredo Bigatti, 8, Stewart Armstrong, 3) for a 17-8 victory.

On Saturday, Tonkawa (2-0) plays McClure River Ranch (0-1) at 10 a.m. at High Mesa and La Karina (1-1) plays Flexjet (0-2) at McClure River Ranch at 3 p.m. The Flexjet-La Karina teams will also play for the Mandarina Cup.

On Sunday, USPA Silver Cup action continues with Audi (1-1) playing Casablanca (2-0) at 11 a.m. at McClure River Ranch.

Trailing Flexjet by as many as three goals, 8-5, in the fifth chukker, Casablanca started to reel them in, cutting their lead to one, 8-7, at the end of the chukker.

Casablanca tied Flexjet twice, 8-8 on Astrada's nice scoring run off the throw-in and 9-9 with Bollini scoring off the throw-in with 1:19 left. Astrada came up with a clutch saftey conversion to retake the lead for good at 10-9 with 49 seconds left. Lalor then scored an insurance goal off the throw-in in the final seconds.

Casablanca got balanced scoring from its lineup. Astrada and Bollini each had four goals. Lalor had two goals and Ganzi added one. Ulloa scored a game-high seven goals for Flexjet. Astrada added two goals.

After a close opening chukker with Audi trailing Tonkawa, 2-1, Tonkawa showed why it's one of the tournament favorites pulling away for a 6-2 lead at the end of the fourth chukker on Caset's 80-yarder and 8-2 lead early in the fifth chukker. Audi tried to chip away at Tonkawa's lead, outscoring them 6-4 in the final two chukkers but ran out of time.

Caset led Tonkawa with a game-high six goals and Obregon had four. For Audi, Roldan had a team-high four goals, Ganzi had two and Figueras added one.

La Karina, another tournament favorite and reigning USPA North American Cup champion, lived up to its potential with a dominating win over McClure River Ranch

The Merlos' brothers combined for 15 goals and Boyd and Gracida worked their defensive magic, to enable La Karina to get into the win column.

Tincho Merlos had a game high 10 goals, including six from the penalty line. Sebastian Merlos added five goals and Boyd and Gracida each had one goal. For McClure River Ranch, Kampsen had three, Armstrong had two and Lockey and Bigatti each had one.

"We did have a good game," Tincho Merlos said. "It was different from our first game, we played well together as a team. We played comfortable together and found our rhythm. We are getting better. It felt good knowing I did my job.

"We are finding the way to play easier and better," Merlos said. "There are six very competitive teams and we are just trying to play solid and score like we did against McClure River Ranch. We are focused and getting ready for the next game."

The Mandarina Cup, that will be presented for Saturday's Silver Cup game, is sponsored by the Mandarina Polo & Equestrian Club, located along the Riviera Nayarit, nearly a 200-mile stretch of coastline in the Western Mexican state of Nayarit. The Mexican club and Aspen Valley Polo Club have partnered to benefit both clubs' growing membership with VIP access.

The 119th USPA Silver Cup, the club's second USPA 20-goal tournament of the summer season, features six teams and several of the world's top polo players making its historical debut at Aspen Valley Polo Club.

The 119th USPA Silver Cup has a rich tradition in history. It is considered the oldest of all American tournaments. The event has been called several names throughout its hallowed history. Originally established by the USPA as the Junior Championship, it was first played in 1900 close to the New York City birthplace of American polo.

The Cup was later renamed in 1938 to the Twenty-Goal Championship and played until 1951. The Trophy went on hiatus from 1942 to 1947 because of the effects on polo during and immediately after World War II.

It was not until 1974 that the tournament took its present name and was hosted in Texas. The Cup winners have been a Who's Who in polo from J. Watson Webb and Tommy Hitchcock to Robert Skene, George Oliver, Memo Gracida, Carlos Gracida, Tommy Wayman, Red Armour, Harold Barry, Joe Barry, John Armstrong, Charles Smith, Cecil Smith, William Ylvisaker, Adam Snow, Mike Azzaro, Mariano Aguerre and Adolfo Cambiaso, who won in 2012.

Several high-profile polo clubs have hosted the coveted Cup in New York, Illinois, Texas, South Carolina, Connecticut and California. From 2011-2106 it was hosted by Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club and 2017-18 at Greenwich Polo Club.

U.S. Polo Assn., the official brand of USPA, is the prestigious tournament's official apparel sponsor. The tournament is being live streamed by USPA Polo Network on uspolo.org with Dale Schwetz calling the action.

In bracket play, Division I teams play one game against each Division II team. After the division games, the teams will be ranked first through sixth with the top four teams advancing into the semifinals. For the semifinals, the No. 1 ranked team plays the No. 4 ranked team and No. 2 ranked team will play the No. 3 ranked team.

The two semifinal matchups are Aug. 7 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. with the winners advancing into the Aug. 11 championship at McClure River Ranch Stadium at 11 a.m.

The final will be paired with the annual Chukkers, Champagne & Caviar fundraiser. The club's summer marquis charity event, hosted by club owners Marc and Melissa Ganzi and Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation, has raised more than $1 million dollars in the last two years to benefit Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation.

The event is sold out according to Andrea Olson, marketing coordinator for the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation. Please call 970-544-1302 to be placed on a waiting list.

Last year's 119th USPA Silver Cup champion was undefeated Huntsman (Segundo Merlos, Tomas Garcia Del Rio, Toro Ruiz, Dillon Bacon), 10-8 winners over Postage Stamp Farm (Annabelle Gundlach, Brandon Phillips, Mariano Gonzalez, Marcos Garcia Del Rio) at Greenwich Polo Club. Marcos Garcia Del Rio of Postage Stamp Farm, brother of Tomas Garcia Del Rio, was named Most Valuable Player.

The 119th USPA Silver Cup is among eleven grass tournaments and three arena tournaments being staged at AVPC in what is expected to be its best season featuring six 20-goal teams and four 16-goal teams.

Coming off its most successful summer season, Aspen Valley Polo Club lined up a star-studded roster of players to compete with and against patrons and amateur players.

The first six tournament winners of the 2019 summer season are: Los Amigos Blue (Alejandra Foster, Alejandro Poma, Salvador Ulloa, Juan Bollini), Emma Challenge; Piocho Ranch (Gussie Busch, Nacho Figueras, Tom Barrack, Alejandro Novillo Astrada), Basalt Handicap; La Karina (Brian Boyd, Carlitos Gracida, Sebastian Merlos, Kris Kampsen), USPA North American Cup; Mountain Chevrolet (Michael Payne, Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Nacho Novillo Astrada), ChukkerTV Challenge; Los Amigos Red (Hilario Figueras, Paul Foster, Lucas Lalor, Nacho Novillo Astrada), Craig Sakin Memorial; Piocho Ranch (Tom Barrack, Gabriel Gracida, Nacho Figueras, Salvador Ulloa), the season-opening Independence Cup winners.

Other summer highlights are Tuesday's United States Arena Handicap Final between two-time defending champion and Casablanca; Aug. 7-14 Arena World Cup and Sept. 1-8 Triple Crown of Polo.

With the majestic 12,965-foot summit of Mount Sopris as a backdrop, Aspen Valley Polo Club is one of the busiest and fastest growing USPA-sanctioned clubs in the nation with a membership increase of 75 percent over four seasons.

Since Marc and Melissa Ganzi founded the club in 2014, polo has increased in popularity in Aspen and surrounding cities with the club’s offerings of various weekly grass and arena tournaments, Tuesday Arena & Asado Nights, Kidz Polo, The Polo School headed by former 8-goaler Juan Bollini, and Polo On Demand. In addition, the club offers practice sessions for teams competing in the weekend tournaments.

Aspen Valley Polo Club has had a positive impact in the area hosting kids polo camps, teaching lessons and several charitable events at the club that have benefitted local charities.

The Ganzis are avid players and patrons and "have created a polo paradise" according to Piocho Ranch padron Tom Barrack. "You can go all over the world but you can't have these kind of people, players and horses in this setting. It's really a gift." Players, sponsors, community leaders and fans share Barrack's sentiments.

All ages are welcome to enjoy polo at Aspen Valley Polo Club. Admission, food and refreshments are free for fans in a relaxed, laidback atmosphere. An added feature is the club's Jumbotron which made its debut last summer for the fans' enjoyment, Aspen Valley Polo Club Boutique and new electronic scoreboard.

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