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CARBONDALE, Colo., August 24, 2019---La Karina and Los Amigos Red won their semifinal games to advance into Sunday's championship final of the Carbondale Classic at McClure River Ranch.

In Friday's opener at Sopris Mountain Ranch, La Karina (Santos Merlos, Gussie Busch, Sebastian Merlos, Carlitos Gracida) jumped on Mountain Chevrolet (Lauren Sherry, Michael Payne, Kris Kampsen, Alfredo Bigatti) early and went on to win, 9-3.

In the second semifinal at McClure River Ranch, Los Amigos Red (Juancito Bollini, Pablo Spinacci, Nacho Novillo Astrada, Paul Foster) won a nailbiter when Nacho Novillo Astrada scored in the final seconds for a 13-12 victory over McClure River Ranch (Alejandra Foster, Lucas Lalor, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Stewart Armstrong).

The winners will play Sunday at 11 a.m. MST at McClure River Ranch followed by the Just For The Thrill Of It Cup at 12:30 p.m.

On Saturday at 10 a.m. MST at McClure River Ranch, Audi and Flexjet will resume the 20-goal Just For The Love Of It Cup. The teams tied 8-8 in their opener on Thursday with Grant Ganzi scoring in the final minute to tie the game. Melissa Ganzi led Flexjet with a game-high four goals. Marc Ganzi led Audi with a team-high three goals. The score will carry over into Saturday's final.

Mountain Chevrolet could never get its offense untracked while La Karina jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening chukker and kept building on its lead. La Karina shut out Mountain Chevrolet in four chukkers.

La Karina got balanced scoring. Busch and Sebastian Merlos each had three goals. Gracida added two goals and Santos Merlos, playing for patron Brian Boyd, added one goal. Kampsen had two goals for Mountain Chevrolet and Payne added one on a near side back shot.

In the hotly-contested second game, the lead changed hands 12 times before Astrada's heroics in the final minute when he won the throw-in and raced to goal as time ran out.

Both teams had two-goal leads throughout the game until the sixth chukker when the teams tied three times before Astrada broke the 12-12 deadlock.

Astrada and Foster tied for Los Amigos Red scoring honors each with four goals. Spinacci had three goals and Bollini added two.

Alejandra Foster scored a game-high six goals to lead McClure River Ranch. Lalor, Alejandro Novillo Astrada and Armstrong each had two goals.

In last year's Carbondale Classic final, Los Amigos Blue came from behind to win. Trailing by one going into the final chukker, Los Amigos Blue (Brian Boyd, Nic Roldan, Nacho Novillo Astrada, Paul Foster) scored four goals to defeat Casablanca (Carlitos Gracida, Grant Ganzi, Stewart Armstrong, Alejandro Novillo Astrada), 11-9. Roldan was MVP.

The Carbondale Classic is named after the town of Carbondale, where Aspen Valley Polo Club is located. The picturesque town is located 170 miles west of Denver and 14 miles from Aspen in the heart of Colorado's breathtaking central Rocky Mountains, resting in the shadow of the 12,953-foot Mount Sopris.

Coming off its most successful summer season, Aspen Valley Polo Club lined up a star-studded field of players including Hilario and Salvador Ulloa, Sapo Caset, Alejandro and Nacho Novillo Astrada, Tincho and Sebastian Merlos and Nic Roldan for the summer to compete with and against patrons and amateur players.

The 2019 summer tournament champions are: Los Amigos Blue (Alejandra Foster, Alfredo Bigatti, Pablo Spinacci, Juancito Bollini), Rocky Mountain Handicap; Mountain Chevrolet (Michael Payne, Grant Ganzi, Hilario Ulloa, Salvador Ulloa), Rocky Mountain Open; La Karina (Brian Boyd, Lauren Sherry, Carlitos Gracida, Sebastian Merlos), Mount Sopris Cup; Tonkawa (Jeff Hildebrand, Juan Martin Obregon, Sapo Caset, Mason Wroe), 119th USPA Silver Cup; Los Amigos Red (Alejandra Foster, Gabriel Gracida, Juan Bollini, Paul Foster), High Alpine Cup; Los Amigos Blue (Alejandra Foster, Alejandro Poma, Salvador Ulloa, Juan Bollini), Emma Challenge; Piocho Ranch (Gussie Busch, Nacho Figueras, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Tom Barrack), 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; and Piocho Ranch (Tom Barrack, Gabriel Gracida, Nacho Figueras, Salvador Ulloa), the season-opening Independence Cup winners.

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.

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 club 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 including the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation.

The Ganzis are avid players and patrons and "have created a polo paradise" according to Piocho Ranch patron 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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