Event Photos by Sheldon Baldie & Inta Gansone/Staff Photographers
Other Images Provided by Elliott Stares/La Martina
The ninth annual La Martina Miami Beach Polo World Cup IX ended on Sunday, April 28th with a riveting men’s final that had the capacity crowd on the edge of their seats, as defending team champions, The Raleigh/Comcast, narrowly edged through to beat the La Martina team 12-10, to retain the coveted title. More than 10,000 people attended this year’s tournament over the four days that featured the world’s top professional polo players from as far as Russia, Switzerland and Malaysia, as well as the very best from South America.
The traditional post-event awards ceremony was held at the end of each tournament to celebrate the winning teams from both competitions, during which Robert Kiger, owner of Elegante Polo, presented the trophy to the women’s champions and Adrian Simonetti, president of La Martina, did the honors for the men’s.
The Raleigh Hotel/Comcast team, comprised of Bash Kazi, John Gobin, Juan Monteverde and David Totari, trailed by two goals at halftime but exploded with six third chukker goals to ride past a talented La Martina foursome, consisting of Santi Torres, Carlos Gracida and Guillermo Steta, to win during a closely fought final afternoon match.
Earlier in the week, the La Martina South Beach Women’s Polo Cup V saw eight women’s teams battle to claim the prestigious championship title during a one-day tournament on Thursday, April 25th.
Team Cheeki, consisting of Whitney Ross, Cristina Hosmer and Tiffany Busch, fell behind The James Royal Palm Hotel/Jet Blue team, 3-1 but scored five goals in the final chukker to capture the coveted trophy. Cheeki made their way in to the finals on an opening 6-0 win over The Raleigh Hotel team, while The James Royal Palm Hotel/Jet Blue trio defeated an aggressive Grey Goose side, 13-1. The James Royal Palm Hotel/Jet Blue team came up with a single goal from Alicia Harden in the 6-4 loss. Cheeki’s Tiffany Busch earned Most Valuable Player honors for her efforts.
“This year’s La Martina Miami Beach Polo World Cup was a penultimate celebration before our 10-year anniversary next year and proved to be the best tournament we have had to-date,” said Bruce Orosz, president and co-founder of The Polo Life, LLC. “The intensity of competition and rivalry among the teams gave this year’s event an extra special edge and elevated the standard of Polo played on the sand to a new level. We thank all our sponsors, patrons and supporters for helping to make this year’s championship the most memorable.”
This year’s La Martina South Beach Women’s Polo Cup V and La Martina Miami Beach Polo World Cup IX was sponsored by Mastercard, Small Luxury Hotels of the World™, GREY GOOSE Vodka, Aventura Mall, Maura Wasescha, Cheeki Brand, E! Entertainment, Comcast, Equinox, jetBlue, The James Royal Palm Hotel, The Raleigh (SBE Entertainment Group), W South Beach Hotel & Residences, Riviera South Beach hotel and LUHHO Magazine, with support from the Greater Miami Convention Visiors Bureau and Miami Beach VCA. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami (who received a portion of funds raised through ticket sales from the event) and The Irie Found Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miamiation were the tournament’s official partnering charity organizations.