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Press Release


PTF logo

Matias Gonzales and Wes Finlayson

Best Playing Pony Milkshake owned by Agustin Arellano with Gil Johnston

The winning team

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Casablanca Marches off with Polo Training Foundation Challenge

Written by: From a Published Press Release
Client: Polo Training Foundation
Release Date: 2015-03-20

Wellington, FL, March 20, 2015 – Casablanca scored the winning goal in the final two minutes to defeat Grand Champions, 3-2, to capture the Polo Training Foundation March Challenge on Monday at Everglades Polo Club.

Three teams of highly-skilled junior polo players competed in the two-hour event.

The teams were GJ Racing (Blake Ashcroft, Justin Daniels, Wes Finlayson, John Hand), Grand Champions (Juancito Bollini, Grant Ganzi, Liam Lott, Guillerhme Maia) and Casablanca (Agustin Arellano, Matias Gonzalez, Ian MacTaggart, Jack McLean).

Trailing 2-0 going after two Bollini goals, into the final chukker, Gonzalez opened the chukker with a 50-yard goal. A minute later, McLean scored to tie the game at 2-2.

After Bollini defended Gonzalez' scoring attempt, MacTaggart came back to score the game-winner with two minutes left in regulation.

Casablanca and Grand Champions players have competed with and against each other in past tournaments.

"Our team had great chemistry on the field," Arellano said. "It meshed really well together. We never all played together on the same team before but we all played really well together.

"Matias is a great back and crushes the ball. Jack and Ian were great with the ball pulling the team forward. I tried to help in the middle.

"We all knew everyone else who was playing and we all watch each other so we know each others strengths and weaknesses," Arellano said.

Grand Champions' Juancito Bollini, a sophomore at Florida Atlantic University, was named Most Valuable Player.

Arellano's 8-year-old grey thoroughbred mare Milkshake was awarded Best Playing Pony.

"My dad had bought her as a 4-year-old and didn't get along with her at all," Arellano said of his father, Julio, a top American player and member of Coca-Cola's pro team. "He let me play her a little bit and I loved her. I ended up buying her from him. She's turned out to be my best horse."

Arellano enjoyed playing with and against his friends.

"It's so much fun to play against other players your age and to challenge yourself at this level," Arellano said. "This is so fast, everyone is just running and having fun. It's great.

"The PTF is awesome, this is what has brought me to the level I am today," Arellano said. "It's just amazing. They do such a good job getting all the kids out here to play."

McLean, 14, an out-of-state player, enjoys playing against the best junior players to hone his polo skills. McLean competed in both the PTF March Challenge and Buzz Welker Memorial at Grand Champions Polo Club on Monday.

"It was great to play against Grand Champions and win," McLean said. "Juancito played great. Matias was amazing. I was a little nervous because they are the big guys and older. I got to play because they needed an extra player. It was an honor. This was super competitive. There was no holding back. Everyone was going all-out."

McLean is in his third year of playing in PTF events.

"This is the best polo you can get in the country for me," McLean said. "I will keep coming back for sure."

The two evenly-matched teams survived the first two qualifying rounds. Casablanca defeated GJ Racing, 4-1, and Grand Champions defeated GJ Racing, 5-2.

Gonzalez, 16, Arellano, 17, and Daniels, 16, each scored two goals in the six-chukker round-robin.

"Our team played great against two of the most important players, Wesley in the first game and Juancito in the final," Gonzalez said. "My teammates took them out and let me control the ball."

Gonzalez has played with McLean and MacTaggert representing the U.S. in New Zealand.

"We thought we could win this," Gonzalez said. "We knew we had an advantage because we knew each other so well. I really like playing in the PTF and playing with the other kids and giving back to the sport. The other players I played with taught me so I want to give it back and teach them."

The round-robin tournament featured junior players, ages 16-21.  Several players who are already competing at the higher levels of polo, including 20- and 26-goal tournaments, returned to play and support the PTF. Most of them have grown up in the PTF tournaments and events.

The Polo Training Foundation is attracting record number of juniors and events through the tireless efforts of Executive Director Danny Scheraga and Assistant Executive Director Jennifer McLeavy along with Chairman Richard Riemenschneider; President Tony Coppola; Vice President Gillian Johnston and Secretary-Treasurer Melissa Ganzi.

Johnston, whose work behind the scenes has helped the PTF grow, presented the player awards.

About the Polo Training Foundation
Since 1967, the Polo Training Foundation has been committed to excellence in the great sport of polo. The PTF supports polo training at all levels by providing funds for the development of current and future generations of players and umpires. The Foundation's many programs include beginner clinics designed to teach young people the principles of polo and international player exchanges. Through its activities, the PTF seeks to encourage the highest standards of sportsmanship and to promote international goodwill through polo competition. For more information the website at:

To contact the PTF:
Haley Bryan
(803) 215-3577

Jennifer McLeavy
(561) 670-3616


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