Prima Polo (Robert Payne III, Jenny Alter, Toto Socas and Todd Randall) rode onto the field like gangbusters in the final of the 4-goal 2018 USPA Congressional Cup at the Empire Polo Club Sunday afternoon, but it would be a last chukker rally by La Herradura (Caroline Anier, Gina Padilla, Meghan Gracida and Carlos Hernandez) that would take the day in a hotly-contested 7-5 win.
Toto Socas scored the first two goals of the day for Prima Polo followed by a goal from Todd Randall. Shutout defense kept La Herradura off of the scoreboard in the opening chukker as Prima Polo ran up a 3-0 lead.
A reorganized La Herradura team put together a coordinated offensive attack in the second period. Caroline Anier scored first followed by a pair of goals from Carlos Hernandez (one on a penalty conversion). This time it was the La Herradura defense that set the tone for the chukker by shutting down the Prima Polo attack. At the end of the first half of the four-chukker match it was all even at 3-3.
A determined Prima Polo team got their attack back in gear in the third. Robert Payne, III scored once from the field and once on a 40-yard penalty shot to make it 5-3, Prima Polo. Meghan Gracida got her team on the scoreboard with the final goal of the chukker, but it was Prima Polo with the one-goal lead, 5-4.
La Herradura needed a stellar final chukker to salvage the win, and they got it . Another solid defensive effort was complimented by three consecutive goals from Hernandez (the last on a penalty shot) for the 7-5 victory.
Hernandez led all scoring with five goals (two on penalty conversions). Anier and Gracida each scored once for the win. Socas and Payne scored two goals apiece for Prima Polo, with Payne receiving MVP honors for his efforts. Randall added a goal in the loss.
Payne’s mare Renata was named Best Playing Pony on the day.