WELLINGTON, FL — Lechuza Caracas and Audi will face off for the Piaget Gold Cup following their semi-final victories over Pony Express and Black Watch today at International Polo Club Palm Beach

The morning match pitted Audi, the bracket II winner against the bracket I runner-up, Black Watch.  The contest saw two well mounted teams with players accustomed to winning the big games.  The crowd was not disappointed, they battled to a 5-5 tie at the half.  It was Audi that came out stronger in the fourth chukker as its Nicolas Pieres, added three goals to take an 8-6 lead.  In the fifth it was Black Watch’s turn as they completely shut down the Audi scoring while Fred Mannix added a goal to bring his team to within one.  The hum of the crowd was one of upset as they anticipated Black Watch would continue their strong defensive performance in the final chukker.  But, Audi’s Gonzalito Pieres had a different idea as he posted his only two goals of the game to put his team up by three 10-7 with less than 2 minutes remaining.  Nacho Figueras of Black Watch managed to score one more but they fell short of coming back, finishing the game down 10-8.

The late afternoon game between Lechuza Caracas and Pony Express was a real defensive struggle as both teams went scoreless in two chukkers.  It was Lechuza that completely dominated the first half as they mounted a 6-2 lead. In that half, Pony Express went scoreless in the first and Nic Roldan managed one goal in each of the next two chukkers.  The final three chukkers were almost a complete reversal as Pony Express held Lechuza scoreless in the fourth and closed the gap to 6-5.  The fifth chukker saw a two goal exchange and neither team scored in the final chukker giving Lechuza the 8-7 victory.  

Lechuza lost to Audi by one goal in the CV Whitney as a bad bounce on a shot by Victor Vargas went wide as time ran out.  Vargas at the time said, “We will have to change our strategy if we face them again in the Gold Cup.  They will be adding Nic Pieres and that gives them a much more wide open style of play.”  Nic Pieres replaced Fred Mannix who moved on to play with Black Watch in the Gold Cup and US Open Polo Championship. 

The Butler Handicap begins Thursday, March 26, with two games.  At 10:30 AM Zacara plays Las Monjitas and at 3 PM White Birch takes on Orchard Hill.  Sunday March 29 at noon will be the Butler final and at 3 PM Lechuza and Audi battle for the Piaget Gold Cup on the International Field.  

The USPA Gold Cup has been played since 1974 and 2009 marks the third year for the tournament at International Polo Club Palm Beach.  This year, the eight team field was divided into two brackets.  First and second place from each bracket cross played in the semi finals and the winners move on to the Gold Cup Final.

International Polo is located at 3667 120th Avenue South in Wellington and hosts professional polo tournaments through April and all are invited to attend.  The premier game of the week is played at 3 PM every Sunday on the International Field and Stadium.  Game information can be obtained by calling the polo hotline at 561-282-5290.  Ticket and other information is at 561-204-5687 or on the web at www.internationalpoloclub.com.

AUDI          2-1-2-3-0-2=10 (Nic Pieres 5 goals)

BLACK WATCH   1-1-3-1-1-1=8   (Fred Mannix & Sugar Erskine 3 goals)

LECHUZA CARACAS 1-2-3-0-2-0=8  (Sapo Caset 3 goals)

PONY EXPRESS 0-1-1-3-2-0=7  (Nic Roldan 3 goals)

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