Tag Archives: sports

Day Three of the La Martina Miami Beach Polo World Cup Comes Down to the Wire

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The Raleigh vs James Royal Palm-Jet Blue. (Photo: The Polo Life/Mitchell Zachs)

The ninth annual La Martina Miami Beach Polo World Cup, the world’s largest and most prestigious Beach Polo competition, ended its second day of play with a capacity crowd on the edge of their seats and a penalty goal shoot-out to look forward to on the final day.

There was no lack of effort on the part of any of the competing teams in Saturday afternoon’s matches, with each of the three victories coming by one goal margins.

The Raleigh team, consisting of Bash Kazi, Juan Monteverde, John Gobin and David Tafuri, scored the first win of the day in a hard fought 14-13 victory over a game James Royal Palm Hotel/Jet Blue team (Neku Atawadi, Oscar Mancini and Sebastian Dawnay).

The Raleigh bounced back from a 7-6 first half deficit, behind six second half goals from Juan Monteverde (the team’s high scorer with nine goals). James Royal Palm Hotel/Jet Blue team’s Oscar Mancini scored a game high of 12 goals in a losing effort.

The team from La Martina, consisting of Guillermo Steta, Santi Torres and Carlos Gracida, battled Merchant Hub (Tommy Kato, Jamie Morrison and Luis Escobar) to a 5-5 halftime score and trailed 8-7 with just one chukker to play. Dominic State replaced an injured Tommy Kato (who suffered a pulled groin muscle) as Merchant Hub took an 8-7 one goal lead after the chukker.

Santi Torres and Carlos Gracida scored two goals apiece in the final period for the 11-10 win despite a frantic rush by the Merchant Hub trio. Torres and Gracida scored four goals apiece in the victory while Merchant Hub’s Luis Escobar led all scoring with eight goals.

The final game of the day was another nail biter. The team from Grey Goose (Tom Ravenal, Lance Vetter, Vincent Mesker and Guille Usandizaga) and the team from Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (MZ Kazi, Carlitos Gracida, Kris Kampsen and Claudio Ochoa) tied it up at 3-3 after the first chukker and 6-6 after the second.

Grey Goose took a 10-8 lead in the third chukker, outscoring SLH 4-2, but SLH wasn’t ready to roll over yet. Trailing 13-10, Grey Goose watched Kris Kampsen convert a 2-point goal from midfield and tied it up at 13-13 with time running out.

A foul by SLH sent Grey Goose’s Vincent Mesker to the penalty line with 16 seconds on the clock. Mesker converted the shot for the winning goal sending the tournament finals in to confusion.

With three teams – La Martina, The Raleigh and Grey Goose – all tied at 2-0, a shoot-out is scheduled to be played at 2:00pm, following Sunday’s 1:00pm match between Merchant Hub and the James Royal Palm Hotel/Jet Blue team.

The top two shoot-out winners will face one another in the 3:00pm finals. The loser will play SLH immediately following the shoot-out.

Day three of the La Martina Miami Beach Polo World Cup comes down to the wire. 2013, April 18. By Ales Webbe. Retrieved from http://livingpolo.com/news/335530-day-three-of-the-la-martina-miami-beach-polo-world-cup-comes-down-to-the-wire/.

Three-way Shootout awaits Polo Finalists in Miami Beach Event

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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.

Sand Polo On Miami Beach – NBC ‘Six In The Mix’

 

Six years ago Tommy Kato watched the Miami Beach Polo World Cup, mesmerized by the athletes and horses.

Following the final match, Kato approached one of the top U.S. players — Luis Escobar — about learning how to play the sport. He had no previous experience riding a horse.

Kato hired Escobar as an instructor and bought a couple of thoroughbred horses, practicing four to five days a week for two years at Santa Clara Polo Club in Wellington. The following year, he began participating in tournaments before entering the world cup as a player in 2012. Continue reading

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

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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

Merchant Hub Sponsors Miami Beach Polo 2013

  The world’s largest and most prestigious polo tournament on the beach is back – the Miami Beach Polo World Cup 2013! On April 25, beginning with the South Beach Women’s Polo Cup V, join avid fans, renowned players, celebrities and more as they enjoy the sun and the “sport of kings” on the pristine beaches of Miami Beach. Among the men team players are Thomas Kato, CEO of Merchant Hub. For it’s 9th year in a row Merchant Hub is proud to be a sponsor of Miami Beach Polo. For tickets or more info. visit  http://www.miamipolo.com.

Miami Beach Polo World Cup 2013
April 25 – 28, 201
Between 21st and 22nd Streets
Miami Beach

Schedule:

Thursday, April 25 – South Beach Women’s Polo Cup V, Miami Beach Polo World Cup IX Kick-Off Party
Friday, April 26 – Miami Beach Polo World Cup IX
Saturday, April 27 – Miami Beach Polo World Cup IX & Fashion Show by La Martina
Sunday, April 28 – Miami Beach Polo World Cup IX Final Play-Offs, Finals & Farewell Party

Merchant Hub CEO, Thomas Kato Takes on The Sport of Kings

Thomas Kato at the 2012 Maserati Miami Beach World Polo Cup

For it’s 8th year in a row, the 2012 Maserati Miami Beach Polo World Cup brought the “sport of kings” to the shores of South Beach this past weekend.  First held in 2005, the Miami Beach Polo World Cup features an international lineup of competition, with polo teams coming from as far away as Argentina, Brazil, and Germany to compete for the La Martina Trophy.  All Miami Beach Polo World Cup polo matches are held on the beach — making the South Florida polo tournament “the world’s largest and most prestigious Polo Tournament on the Beach.” drawing celebrities and top-notch, famous polo players including, Nacho Figueras, Jamie Morrison, Luis Escobar, and Nic Roldan to name a few.

Polo Player Kris Kampsen with Directors from Gascon Wines, Polo Player Nic Roldan, and Polo Player Thomas Kato at the opening for the 2012 Maserati Miami Beach Polo World Cup

Thomas Kato, Merchant Hub CEO, first developed an interest and passion for polo 5 years ago when he attended the Miami Beach Polo World Cup in 2007 and told himself, “I have to learn how to play polo and ride so I can play in this tournament.”  Merchant Hub has been involved in the sport of polo all over the world sponsoring competitions in London, China, Palm Beach, and Miami.  This year though marked the entry for Kato into the professional world of polo as a player for Team Lufthansa in the Miami Beach Polo World Cup.  Kato also served as the team patron and hired legendary polo players Luis Escobar and Jamie Morrison to play alongside him.

Thomas Kato with Merchant Hub sponsored Argentine team at the HPA Gaucho International in London led by Team Captain, Nacho Figueras.

Thomas Kato and Adolfo Cambiaso, World Renowned Polo Player taking in a charity polo match.

On Friday, Kato’s team – Lufthansa Private Jet was matched against The Raleigh and were defeated with a score of 9-6.  As play continued Saturday against Yellow Cab, although Lufthansa was not able to cinch the win, Kato did score his first goal for the team.  Well done!

“I feel really good about how we played this weekend.  I’m excited and motivated to work even harder training to become a better polo player and looking forward to competing in my next professional polo match.” said Kato.

Thomas Kato at the Santa Clara Polo Club in Wellington, FL.

Congratulations Thomas on such an incredible achievement and we too look forward to following your aspiring career in the esteemed sport of polo.

Merchant Hub Spotlights Polo Player Luis Escobar

Luis Escobar enjoys living and playing polo in Wellington and wants to share his passion with the world.

Escobar and Kazi enjoying the win at the 2011 Miami Beach World Polo Cup

Escobar first came to Wellington with his parents in 1978 when he was 7 and was hooked. He finished high school in Costa Rica, then moved to Wellington in 1989 and attended Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, graduating with a marketing degree. Escobar played polo when he could, basing his operation out of Santa Clara Polo Club, which his father purchased in 1984. “My father named it after my mom’s third name, Clara,” said Escobar. “Santa stands for Saint. He realized she had to be a Saint if she was married to him, hence the name Santa Clara.”

As a 7 goal player, Escobar just finished the season playing for Coca-Cola in the US Open and this week will play for the 4th year in a row at the 2012 Maserati Miami Beach World Polo Cup for the Lufthansa Private Jet team alongside National Team Captain for the UK team, Jamie Morrison and Merchant Hub CEO and team patron, Thomas Kato.

The Miami Beach World Polo Cup takes place on the sands of South Beach April 26th-29th.  Escobar had this to say about the tournament, “I think it’s fantastic.  I think it’s one of the best events for polo.  The people who come here really get into it.  The horses love it, the players are good.  The quality of players they are bringing is getting better and better every year.  So it’s getting very, very competitive, it’s going to get harder and harder every year”.

Luis Escobar

“Luis has an incredible reputation in the world of polo and has won countless tournaments over the last 30 years, I’m honored to play in my first professional polo match alongside him”, said teammate and team patron, Thomas Kato.

Lufthansa is sponsoring both men’s and women’s matches at the 2012 Miami Beach World Polo Cup after winning the 2011 Chicago Beach Polo.