Tag Archives: Miami Herald

Three-way Shootout awaits Polo Finalists in Miami Beach Event

Merchant Hub blog 1

Beachgoers making their way to Miami Beach certainly got their fair share of sun and surf on Saturday, but they also had a chance to catch a glimpse of something a little different.

The La Martina Miami Beach Polo World Cup IX, in its second day, drew a diverse crowd that included curious onlookers and featured three exhilarating matches that were each decided by a single goal.

Raleigh/Comcast, La Martina and Grey Goose emerged as winners of their respective matches and will face each other in a three-way shootout to determine who will play in Sunday’s championship match.

After intermingling with spectators at the conclusion of the afternoon matches, players from the teams were impressed by the event’s festive feel, seeing the event as a step in the right direction for a sport looking to extend its reach in South Florida and beyond.

“It was a crazy atmosphere, and I think the crowd just loves it,” John Gobin of Raleigh/Comcast said. “It’s perfect for polo, and the crowd this year seems bigger. It’s just a lot more fun.”

Kris Kampsen of Small Luxury Hotels (SLH) added: “It’s amazing. This event being here on the beach opens the game to a whole new audience that never normally consider going to a polo game, and it broadens the horizon of the sport.”

In the opening match of the day, Raleigh/Comcast, with a four-goal lead in the final chukker against James Hotel/JetBlue, appeared to be headed for a comfortable win, but a late push by James Hotel/JetBlue tied the score with just over a minute to go.

But Juan Monteverde, who led Raleigh/Comcast with nine goals, scored moments later to give it the lead and a 14-13 victory.

“Our game was rough, tough fast … it was back-and-forth the whole time,” said Gobin, who added five goals in the winning effort. “At the end of the day we pulled it off.”

La Martina’s team jumped out to an early three-goal lead in the first chukker of its match with Merchant Hub. That would be the largest lead of the match, however, as Merchant Hub went on the attack and tied the score at 5 just before the end of the second chukker.

But a balanced offensive effort for La Martina, led by four goals each from Santi Torres and Carlos Gracida, was enough to outlast Merchant Hub in an 11-10 win.

Grey Goose and SLH, in the afternoon’s last match, ended the tournament’s second day in thrilling fashion.

Trailing by three goals with time winding down in the fourth and final chukker, Kampsen came up big for SLH with an impressive two-point shot through the uprights followed by a converted penalty shot to tie the score at 12.

Unfortunately for SLH, it was enough as Grey Goose’s Vincent Mesker converted his seventh penalty shot of the game with 16 seconds remaining to lift his team to a 13-12 win. Mesker finished with a team-high eight goals.

“There was a lot of pressure and it was very hectic in that moment,” Mesker said. “A shot like that messes with your mind.”

Three-way shootout awaits polo finalists in Miami Beach event. 2013, April 28. By Joel Delgado. Retrieved from http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/27/3368998/three-way-shootout-awaits-polo.html.

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Beach Buzz: Polo competition returning to South Beach – Miami Beach – MiamiHerald.com

MH PIC POLO `1

Polo returns to the sands of South Beach (between 20th and 22nd Streets) April 25-28.

The competition begins April 25 with the South Beach Women’s Polo Cup. The day-long series of round-robin matches features eight teams, including 2012 champs Cecilia Cochran and Alicia Harden, and SMU’s Pamela Flanagan and Tiffany Busch (of the Anheuser-Busch family).

Friday through Sunday (April 26-28), six men’s teams will vie for the ninth annual Miami Beach Polo World Cup. Players include the legendary Carlos Gracida of Mexico, Kris Kampsen of the United States (last year’s MVP), and Luis Escobar of Costa Rica.

Riding alongside Escobar is his teammate and “patron” (team owner): Tommy Kato of Miami Beach. Kato, 40, owns Merchant Hub, a Beach-based credit-card processing company. He attended the event six years ago — and was hooked.

“I’d never ridden a horse before, and when I saw that game, I decided I needed to play in that tournament,” Kato said.

He took polo lessons from Escobar’s Santa Clarita ranch/school in Wellington — and later bought thoroughbreds from Escobar, including two (Julio and Sanyo) that will participate in this year’s competition. Continue reading

Ponies, Players Return to Miami Beach for Polo

After its appearance in Chicago, and on the way to a debut in China next year, beach polo returns to Miami Beach this weekend.

By Hannah Sampson, hsampson@MiamiHerald.com

Thomas Kato first came across beach polo as a spectator five years ago on Miami Beach.

He was hooked.

“I thought it was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen,” said the businessman, who lives in Miami and New York. “I said, ‘I need to play in this game.’ And I said, ‘I don’t even know how to ride horses.’”

Over the past few years, he’s bought horses, found a polo pro and learned how to play the “sport of kings.” And the credit card processing company that he founded and oversees as CEO, Merchant Hub, has become a sponsor over the last few years.

That’s the kind of devotion that a network of polo aficionados, led by promoter Bruce Orosz, is hoping to create around the world.

Miami Beach Polo World Cup, which started with women’s matches on Thursday, marks its eighth year in Miami Beach with a new title sponsor (Maserati) and an expansion last fall to Chicago under its belt.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/04/26/2769909/ponies-players-return-to-miami.html#storylink=cpy