2024 United States Polo Association Women’s Open Championship

Find a recap of the 3rd Women’s Open Polo Championship at the National Polo Center in Wellington, Florida with Dr. Gregory Beroza, aka HorseDoc ‘Talking Horses,’ produced by WuzUpDoc Media.

Two final teams at awards ceremony. Photo by G. Beroza.

February 23, 2024 (Wellington, FL) – WuzUpDoc Media covered this historic event as the women’s World Championship polo teams competed to win the prestigious 22-Goal United States Polo Association Open Championship. The final game was played on the Main Stadium Polo Field #1 at the National Polo Center in Wellington, Florida for the second consecutive year. There originally were eight teams equally divided into two brackets. To narrow the competition down to the final team of each bracket for Championship play at the National Polo Club in Wellington, preliminary competition within the semi-finals occurred at south Florida’s Port Mayaca Polo Club (PMPC) in Okeechobee. The PMPC is located on 600 acres, has eight regulation fields, 220 stalls, an exercise track, a stick-and-ball field, a clubhouse, and more — all made available to the polo community.

Some of the competitors were being supported by their Hall of Fame relatives. On Team 90210, Meghan Gracida (4-goals) was playing at #2. Her husband, HOF 10-goaler Memo Gacida, was present as a coach. Equally impressive was the support shown to Mia Cambiaso (8-goals), who was playing at #4 for Team 90210. Her father, HOF 10-goaler Adolpho Cambiaso, was in attendance to assist the team. Semi-finals at Port Mayaca Polo Club with coaching advice given to Team 90210. Meghan Gracida is #2 with red helmet and Mia Cambiaso is #4 in the blue and white helmet. Memo is shown in white collared shirt (L) and Adolpho in white tee-shirt (R). Photo by G. Beroza.

In the semi-final Bracket #1, the former 2023 USPA Women’s Open Winning Team La Fe (2-2) lost to the 2024 Team 90210 Polo (3-2), which advanced to the finals. In Bracket #2, Team Buena Vibra (5-0) beat Team Work To Ride/Grand Champions (2-2) to advance to the finals. The Finals were played at the National Polo Club on Friday, February 23rd at 11am after a five-day delay due to heavy south Florida rains.

The United States Women’s Polo Association was the first and only exclusively women’s polo association in American polo. It was established in 1937 and dissolved two years later. Women subsequently were welcomed into the current United States Polo Association (USPA) in 1972. While women were eligible to compete with men in polo championships, the Women’s Polo Open was only officially recognized as an independent tournament in 2011 and has been played exclusively in south Florida since 2018. Women polo players earn their own goal rating based upon performance. Last year’s and again this year’s Team La Fe member, Hope Arellano, was the first American woman earning the ultimate 10-Goal rating. This year’s Team Buena Vibra had two 8-Goal players, Milly Hine and Clara Cassino Seppe, and Team 90210 had one 8-Goaler in Mia Cambiaso (last year’s Team La Fe Open winner) and one 7-Goaler Catalina Lavinia. Each team had an equal assortment of other lesser goal ranking members totaling equal team ratings of 22-goals.

Team Buena Vibra members en route to the Awards Ceremony. Photo by G. Beroza.

Throughout the entire six seven-minute and 30-second chukkers of competition, the lead was gained and lost by each team several times, never creating more than a two-point difference. At half time, Team Buena Vibra was one-goal up. The team fell behind in the second half of the game. In the last minute of play, Team Buena Vibra was only one goal up until the final seconds when the team stole the ball from Team 90210 and was awarded a penalty shot, scored by Milly Hine to give Team Buena Vibra a two-goal advantage win.

Milly Hine being awarded MVP by Steve Orthwein Jr. (owner Port Mayaca Polo Club) and emphasizing her highest number of Team Buena Vibra goals which were greater than any other competing teams individual members. Photo by G. Beroza.

Team Buena Vibra with Winning Cup. Photo by G. Beroza.

Team Buena Vibra connections celebrate on stage. Photo by G. Beroza.

This was historic polo announcer Tony Cappola’s third USPA’s Women’s Open to call, with 25 previous USPA’s Open assignments, after 50 years of announcing all venues of polo. Cappola began his career in polo at the WHPC on Long Island, NY, which this author subsequently owned and operated. Angel Vasquez, Jr., a retired Thoroughbred racing jockey, a former West Hills Polo Club (WHPC) member, and a long-time multi-talented polo worker, repeated his role from 2023 as an Assistant Broadcast Producer.

Angel Vasquez, Jr. (Assistant Producer), Tony Cappola (Announcer), and HorseDoc Dr. Gregory Beroza. Photo courtesy of G. Beroza.

If you would like further coverage, WuzUpDoc Media broadcast a great video interviewing significant contributors and participants. Highlights of the competitive game are also included.

Dr. Gregory A. Beroza, DVM, DACVS, DABVP has been a practicing veterinarian and consultant for 42 years; and HorseDoc® ‘Talking Horses’® media host, author, and consultant since 2007. Dr. Beroza is a multimedia host and broadcasts his productions, including a new Podcast, via his WuzUpDoc Media website: www.WuzUpDoc.com. He can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and other social media sources.

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