With the onset of 2014, Wellington is once again invaded by quadrupeds and patróns as the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) begins its eleventh season of high-goal polo. The world’s best and brightest rattan swingers will converge for the country’s most prestigious tournaments in an action-packed four-month run through April, starting with 20-goal tournaments: Herbie Pennell Cup, Joe Barry Memorial Cup, Ylvisaker Cup and Iglehart Cup, followed by 26-goal competition culminating in polo’s American triple crown—the C.V. Whitney Cup, Piaget USPA Gold Cup and the 110th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship.
In IPC’s 11-year history, the start of each new season seems to usher in a new record, and 2014 is no exception. This year, a record 17 teams will be vying in the 20-goal tournaments, promising some hotly contested battles in the weeks to come. Play begins January 2 with the onset of the Herbie Pennel Cup, a four-team battle to get the ponies warmed up. Our very own Palm Beach Illustrated team will be taking on cross-stable rival Villa del Lago/Casablanca for the opening match of the season on Thursday, January 2. The champ from 2013, Coca-Cola, will take the pitch on Friday, January 3, against Lechuza Caracas. The winners of each will face off on January 5 for the kick-start of the Sunday polo season and the launch of what just might be the best Sunday Funday activity in all of Palm Beach County.
The 20-goal tournament quickly picks up with the Joe Barry Memorial Cup running January 5-26 with a limit of 12 teams for to join the tournament. The draw has yet to be determined as of press time, but will be announced at the close of the seventh chukker of Coca-Cola/Lechuza Caracas’ match on January 3.
On the heels of the Joe Barry, the preeminent 20-goal tournament, the Ylvisaker Cup, runs January 29 to February 23, fielding a 16-team limit with plenty on the line for the teams and players. The Ylvisaker is largely considered the testing ground for the 26-goal tournament gauntlet soon to follow, with players and teams well matched for some high-stakes, fast-paced play—it's akin to the affiliation of the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans; sister races where rivalries are cast and payback is served.
As the Ylvisaker Cup comes to a close on February 23, two additional tournaments get underway: the Iglehart Cup (20-goal) and the C.V. Whitney Cup (26-goal). The final 20-goal tournament of the season, the Iglehart Cup will field an eight-team limit and run February 22 through March 8. The C.V. Whitney Cup, the first leg of polo’s 26-goal triple crown, will run concurrently with the Iglehart from February 16 through March 2.
The 26-goal docket has yet to be set but word on the pitch is that 10 teams will be playing for bragging rights. The second leg of the American triple begins March 5 with the Piaget USPA Gold Cup, running through March 23. The granddaddy of them all, the 110th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship takes the field March 26 through April 20. The U.S. Open is the most prestigious polo tournament in the country, landing the best and brightest equines and players from all over the world in Wellington to test their hands at hoisting the silver chalice. Last year, the finals of both the Piaget Gold Cup and the Maserati U.S. Open came down to Valiente and Zacara, with Valiente capturing the Gold and Zacara securing the Open—coincidently the winners of the 108th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship as well.
For those who cannot get enough of the polo action, the IPC’s medium-goal season will run from January through March, with a steady stream of match play throughout the winter weeks. The Wanderers Classic 14-goal tournament plays through January, with the finals staged for January 25. The Freebooter’s Classic, a 14-goal affair, fills the February calendar, wrapping on February 22. The Everglades Classic, the pinnacle of the medium-goal season at 16-goals, will run from February 27 through March, with the champion being crowned March 29.
- January through April, general admission tickets cost $10 ($20 at the gate), with lawn seating starting at $20 (online only).
- For information for box seats, call 561-282-5290 or visit internationalpoloclub.com.
3667 120th Ave. S.
Wellington, FL 33414
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