In preparation for the start of the 2022 Gauntlet of Polo, the United States Polo Association (USPA) hosted the C.V. Whitney Cup draw on January 31 at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) in Wellington, Florida.
Attended by representatives from each of the nine teams, the Monday night draw featured live music and an Argentine-style asado held poolside at the club’s Mallet Grill.
Kicking off his first season in a new role, USPA Chief Operating Officer & In-House Counsel Chris Green welcomed everyone to the tournament. Both USPA Chairman Stewart Armstrong and President and CEO of USPA Global Licensing Inc. Michael Prince spoke about the significance of the Gaunlet for the brand and the sport in its fourth consecutive year.
The official C.V. Whitney Cup draw was conducted by IPC Polo Manager Jimmy Newman and IPC Polo Coordinator Haley Bryan. The two determined the playing order for the first tournament of the Gauntlet of Polo, which begins on February 6. All games will be livestreamed exclusively on Global Polo TV.
Showcasing nine competitive high-goal teams and nine 10-goal players, the Gauntlet of Polo brings together the world’s best polo players and their incredible horse strings for three months of nonstop action. Hoping to start the 2022 season off strong with consecutive titles, 2021 C.V. Whitney Cup defending champions Park Place will return with a new addition to their roster.
Challengers also vying for the GAUNTLET include the inaugural and reigning GAUNTLET champions Pilot, as well as new teams La Fe and Dutta Corp/Show+. Making a strong debut as an 18-goal team, La Fe has reached both the Iglehart Cup and Ylvisaker Cup finals.
There will be three brackets for the upcoming tournament. Bracket I include team Coca-Cola, with Gillian Johnston (1), Nico Escobar (5), Rufino Bensadon (8), and Julian de Lusarreta (7). Park Place, with Andrey Borodin (0), Juan Britos (9), Hilario Ulloa (10), and Cody Ellis (3), will also be present. Finally, Pilot is joined with members Curtis Pilot (0), Mackenzie Weisz (5), Facundo Pieres (10), and Matias Torres Zavaleta (7).
Bracket II welcomes Cessna, with Will Johnston (2), Camp Campbell (2), Miguel Novillo Astrada (9), and Gringo Colombres (8). Joining the first team is La Indiana, with Stewart Armstrong (3), Jeff Hall (6), Lucas ‘Luckitas’ Criado Jr. (5), and Mariano Aguerre (7). Lastly, SD Farms comes in with Sayyu Dantata (2), Lucas Escobar (4), Pelon Stirling (10), and Peco Polledo (6).
The last bracket, Bracket III will feature Dutta Corp/Show+ with Timmy Dutta (4), Tomas Garcia del Rio (8), Iñaki Laprida (7), and Joaquin Avendaño (3). La Fe will also enter teh bracket, with Louis Devaleix (0), Robi Bilbao (5), Francisco Elizalde (9), and Lucas Diaz Alberdi (6). Last but not the least, Scone features members David Paradice (0), Keko Magrini (3), Poroto Cambiaso (9), and Adolfo Cambiaso (10).
The teams will play within their bracket, per the tournament’s format. Following bracket play, all teams will be ranked 1 to 9 based on win-loss, then net goals, then gross goals. Teams ranked eighth and ninth will have a playoff game. After the playoff game, teams will play a quarterfinal. Teams ranked 1, 2, 3, and 4 will draw from the remaining teams for quarter final pairings. Semi finals will be paired by draw and the winners will advance into the C.V. Whitney Cup final.
“The 18-goal polo we’ve seen the first few weeks here in Wellington, Florida, has been outstanding,” USPA Chairman and Gauntlet of Polo competitor Stewart says. “I expect the polo we’re going to see throughout the GAUNTLET is going to be really outstanding. I want to thank the team owners who have put teams in this tournament and I certainly want to congratulate all the players who found their way onto these competitive teams. May the best team win.”
The 2022 Gauntlet of Polo will begin on February 6 to 27 with the C.V. Whitney Cup, followed by the USPA Gold Cup on March 1 to 27. The series will conclude with the U.S. Open Polo Championship on March 29 to April 24.