By Sharon Rob for Palm Beach Post.
Valiente held off a late rally by Flexjet for a 12-11 victory Sunday in the USPA Gold Cup, the second crown jewel of North America’s Triple Crown of polo, at International Polo Club Palm Beach.
Flexjet’s foursome of Melissa Ganzi, Nico Pieres, Gonzalito Pieres and Rodrigo Andrade scored consecutive goals in the sixth and final chukker, but missed two other scoring opportunities before time ran out.
Valiente’s 10-goalers Adolfo Cambiaso and Facundo Pieres, team sponsor Bob Jornayvaz and Tommy Beresford have won three of the club’s 26-goal tournaments and are one tournament away from clinching the Triple Crown.
Valiente will be the favorite when the U.S. Open begins Wednesday with two games. Audi, pitting father against son, Marc Ganzi of Audi and his son, Grant, a third-generation player for U.S. Polo Association, opens at noon. Colorado plays Daily Racing Form at 4 p.m.
Cambiaso and Facundo Pieres each scored five goals and Beresford added two. Nico Pieres scored a game-high eight goals for Flexjet and was named MVP.
Macarena, played by Cambiaso and owned by Mariano Gonzalez of Goose Creek, was Best Playing Pony.
Flexjet was 7-of-12 in shots from the field and Valiente was 10-of-16. Flexjet converted 4-of-5 penalties and Valiente 2-of-2. Flexjet led in fouls, 10-7 amd Valiente led in throw-ins, 15-11.
In the subsidiary, Audi defeated Colorado in a final tuneup for the U.S. Open with a 12-11 overtime victory. Nic Roldan scored seven goals, including the game-winner, and was named MVP. Hormiga played by Diego Cavanagh and owned by Cambiaso, was Best Playing Pony.
On Saturday, in a battle of unbeaten teams, Coca Cola defeated La Indiana, 11-10 in overtime to win the inaugural Carlos Gracida Cup. Nacho Novillo Astrada converted a 60-yard penalty to clinch the win. Sugar Erskine was MVP and Fanta, owned by Gillian Johnston, was Best Playing Pony. Steve Krueger of Coca Cola led scoring with four goals. Astrada and Erskine each had three goals.