New York’s Central Park Horse Show is hosting the first arena polo match on the city’s hallowed turf, in a challenge event supported by the United States Polo Association.
The Central Park Polo Challenge takes place on the last day of the show, on September 21 at 3pm, is being run in collaboration with The Chronicle of the Horse, US Polo Association and Grand Champions Polo Club.
The match will be played in Trump Rink, which will be transformed into an arena polo venue as the finale of the CPHS. Arena polo is a high-energy, fast-paced version of polo played with a three-person team on a much smaller field than traditional polo that is gaining in popularity nationwide.
The U.S. Polo Assn. team will consist of three highly talented American polo players; Grant Ganzi, age 16, Juan Bollini, age 18, and Nic Roldan, age 31. Their opposing teams illustrate polo’s rich multigenerational heritage through players Melissa Ganzi, who is Grant’s mother and Juan Bollini Sr., who is Juan’s father. The match will be telecast on the NBC Sports Network (NBC SN) on October 4, and will be the first ever nationwide telecast of an arena polo match.
Some of the competitions and features of the show are being live streamed.
The dressage event starts on Saturday night at 6.30pm in the Trump Ring, and features Steffen Peters riding his Olympic mount Ravel, in a special command performance of one of the most celebrated dressage horses in US history.
Dressage riders scheduled to compete at the show are Rolex Testimonee Isabell Werth (GER), five-time Olympic gold medalist; Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED) 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games team gold medalist; Olympian and 2014 WEG competitor Lars Petersen (DEN); American dressage Olympians Tina Konyot, Lisa Wilcox, and Jan Ebeling; Canadian Olympian Ashley Holzer; top US riders Caroline Roffman and Catherine Staller-Haddad as well as top amateur PJ Rizvi; and top Canadian riders Karen Pavicic and David Marcus, members of the 2014 Canadian WEG team.
US showjumper Todd Minikus, fresh from victory in the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix, will be among leading international riders competing for the $200,000 FTI Grand Prix in the Trump Rink.
Competition will be hot on Thursday night for the show’s feature event, and Minikus it hoping to continue his streak. He and Quality Girl bested a field of 33 contenders to take the win in the prestigious Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix in early September, and also won the 2014 $75,000 I love New York Grand Prix with Babalou 41, a nine-year-old Oldenburg mare (Balou du Rouet x Silvio I) without even needing a jump-off round. That is the first time that has happened since Charlie Jacobs won five years earlier.
Minikus, who is sponsored by Vita Flex, has won more than 75 grand prix since 1985. In 1990, he won all of the open jumper classes at the Washington International Horse Show, including the President’s Cup. He has competed five times in the FEI World Cup Show Jumping Finals and six times on Nations Cup teams.