|Team Palm Beach Illustrated rider Magoo Laprida taking a shot at the Joe Barry Memorial Cup.|
Photos by Abigail Duffy
The phrase "next man up" is common parlance in the world of sports. There is always a younger, eager player waiting on the sidelines, ready to prove his worth as an athlete. In polo, where players perform their best in their mid-30s and patróns can be as old as 70, a young player often has to wait a while before he is the next man up. That is, unless of course you play for team Palm Beach Illustrated.
New to 20-goal play at International Polo Club Palm Beach, team PBI is fresh not only to the scene but also in its players. Boasting the youngest team at IPC, team PBI is made up of eight-goaler Magoo Laprida (age 28), six-goaler Facundo Obregon (age 24), four-goaler Tommy Collingwood (age 22) and two-goaler Jared Zenni (age 18). Of the four-man team, Laprida and Obregon have the most competition experience in high-goal polo; Argentina's Laprida was on the 2013 Zacara team, winners of the USPA Maserati 109th U.S. Open Polo Championship, while Obregon rode with Alegria’s 2013 team in all three 26-goal tournaments.
|Facundo Obregon sprints down the pitch at the International Polo Club when team Palm Beach Illustrated took on Orchard Hill in the Joe Barry Memorial Cup.|
Americans Collingwood and Zenni, the youngest members of PBI, are relative newcomers to the realm of high-stakes, high-goal polo. A product from Wellington High School, Collingwood is a hard-charging, aggressive rider whose powerful backhanders and stellar defense have him playing well above his four-goal handicap. He made his high-goal IPC debut in 2013 with Coca-Cola and captured the Herbie Pennel Cup and the Ylvisaker Cup with teammates Julio Arellano, Sugar Erksine and patrón Gillian Johnston. He recently returned from the Nation’s Cup in China, where he represented team USA with fellow Americans Nic Roldan, Mike Azzaro and Ulysses Escapite.
|Jared Zenni speeds down the pitch in pursuit of a goal at the Joe Barry Memorial.|
Zenni made his high-goal debut in 2012 as Villa Del Lago's youngest gun. Like most of polo’s up-and-comers, Zenni is the product of a polo family. Son of Jim Zenni, patrón of Villa de Lago/Casablanca—team PBI’s stable mates—Jared grew up on the polo pitch, first as a fan of his father, then mounting-up himself. Now 18, Jared has the potential of being an imposing polo player, standing easily at 6’3” and still growing into the frame. With a two-goal handicap, he is making a name for himself as a great horseman whose instincts and solid gap protection are making him a player to watch.
|Tommy Collingwood defending against Lucas Criado of Orchard Hill in the Joe Barry Memorial.|
With two tournaments under the belt, team PBI has shown true poise on the pitch despite coming up short in the end. With hard-fought matches against Coca-Cola (a loss), El Caburé and Orchard Hill (both wins) in the Joe Barry, IPC’s youngest foursome has earned their confidence, and respect, as they head into the true 20-goal test, the Ylvisaker Cup. Situated in bracket IV, team PBI will be playing the big stage on February 2 at IPC’s 3 p.m. Sunday spotlight match-up, taking on growing rival Coca-Cola. Four weeks of matches are scheduled through the end of January to February 23.
- For the complete schedule of the Ylvisaker Cup, click here.
- General admission is $10, with lawn seats ranging $20-$30. Champagne Brunch costs $100 per guest. To purchase tickets, visit internationalpoloclub.ticketleap.com.
- For more information, visit internationalpoloclub.com.
As a primer for this 20-goal showdown, we caught up with team PBI’s American compatriots to talk the game and their future in the sport. Click on images below to check out our Q&As.