Nine teams began the quest for the 2021 Gauntlet of Polo® on February 17, but it was Park Place that emerged as the only contender after a thrilling overtime victory over Scone in the C.V. Whitney Cup® final. Unlike Pilot in 2019, Park Place was unable to capture the trifecta of tournaments at the International Polo Club Palm Beach when Scone emerged as a frontrunner, capturing the USPA Gold Cup®. Entering the CaptiveOne U.S. Open Polo Championship® final on Sunday, April 18, Park Place and Scone meet again to determine which team will capture two of the three legs in the Gauntlet of Polo® and walk away with the $250,000 prize.
48 games have been played, and 1022 goals have been scored, displaying the elite level of polo over two months of 22-goal competition. Separating themselves from the pack, Scone and Park Place ranked first and second defensively by conceding the fewest goals per game throughout the season. Displaying organized defensive strategies with their entire line-ups rotating effectively has given them the possession advantages to lead them to victory. Scone holds the best winning percentage with an impressive 11-3 record, yet two of their three losses came at the hands of Park Place in the C.V. Whitney Cup® final and their opening game of the U.S. Open Polo Championship®. The finale provides an intriguing storyline in what will be the two teams’ fourth meeting of the season.
Scone is led by Adolfo Cambiaso, who is looking to capture his ninth CaptiveOne U.S. Open Polo Championship®, but arguably his most meaningful, alongside his son Poroto for the first time. The continual narrative for Scone has been their three-pronged attack of Adolfo Cambiaso, Poroto Cambiaso and Peke Gonzalez to produce the second highest-scoring offense. The only team to feature three players averaging more than three goals per game, Scone can score in a variety of ways, exploiting opposing teams while maintaining their rotation defensively. At the front of the game, 15-year-old Poroto Cambiaso is looking to join Nic Roldan as the youngest ever champion in the CaptiveOne U.S. Open Polo Championship®, doing so while holding an impressive 6-goal handicap. One of the standout players has been Gonzalez, who has thrived in the #3 position, shooting 48% from the field and leading the team with 4.6 goals per game. Entering the final, Scone will need a complete team performance against a Park Place team that features a balanced line-up of their own.
Providing a flair for the dramatic, Park Place captured the C.V. Whitney Cup® title over Scone on a memorable overtime goal by Jack Whitman while fighting their way into the CaptiveOne U.S. Open Polo Championship® final by scoring five unanswered goals in the sixth chukker to defeat La Indiana 14-13. A well-rounded attack sees all four players shoot above 40% from the field, but a key component of Park Place’s journey to the final has been their steady improvement from the USPA Gold Cup®. Each player has improved their goal output and shooting accuracy in the CaptiveOne U.S. Open Polo Championship® as Park Place looks to peak at the correct moment. Park Place is led by their 10-goaler Hilario Ulloa, who ranks fifth among all players with 5.5 goals per game, while also promoting a passing attack that has resulted in Park Place collecting the second-most assists in the tournament. Borodin has converted 75% of his attempts, while Britos and Coppola have played true end-to-end polo, effectively contributing on both sides of the ball.
In their fourth meeting of the season, Park Place has held the edge, winning two of the three previous contests, both victories coming by just one goal as the two teams have proven to be evenly matched. However, Scone enters the final coming off a dominant semifinal victory over Pilot, displaying some of their best polo of the season. The most prestigious trophy in American polo, the CaptiveOne U.S. Open Polo Championship® was first awarded in 1904, yet Park Place and Scone are looking to add their names to the trophy for the first time in a must-see final on Sunday at 3pm ET on the Home of the U.S. Polo Assn – Field 1 at the International Polo Club Palm Beach.