La Dolfina takes 3rd consecutive Tortugas Open




La Dolfina – 11

Adolfo Cambiaso (10), David Stirling Jr. (10),
Pablo Mac Donough (10), Juan Martin Nero (10)

Ellerstina – 9

Pablo Pieres (10), Nicolas Pieres (9),
Gonzalo Pieres Jr. (10), Facundo Pieres (10)

Saturday’s performance by Adolfo Cambiaso in the final of the Tortugas Open – the first leg of Argentina’s Triple Crown of Polo – should put to rest any rumours about this being his last year of high-goal polo before retiring to his home in Cañuelas. The Argentine 10-goaler scored ten of La Dolfina’s 11 goals in leading his 40-goal team to their third consecutive Tortugas Open championship, over a disjointed effort by the 39-goal Ellerstina foursome.

There have been many comparisons between Cambiaso and Facundo Pieres over recent years, but the aging superstar made it quite clear who was the King of Polo on the grounds of the Tortugas Country Club Saturday afternoon. Scoring La Dolfina’s first ten goals and staking his team to a 10-7 lead in the sixth chukka, the number one ranked player in the world proved to be the dominant force in the game today.

Ellerstina showed some flare in the early chukkas, taking a 2-1 lead after the first seven minutes of play and matching La Dolfina goal for goal in the second period to maintain a 4-3 advantage before taking control of the game. Three third chukka goals by Cambiaso were supported by shutout defence, as La Dolfina moved out to a two-goal, 6-4 advantage. Ellerstina fought back, but a series of fouls by the Ellerstina players and missed penalty shots by Facundo Pieres proved to be costly to the black-shirted Ellerstina team.

Polito Pieres, the game’s most recent 10-goaler, tied it at 7-7 in the sixth chukka before Cambiaso went on a three goal scoring binge (two on penalty conversions) that locked the game up with a 10-7 edge. With two-and-one-half minutes left in the sixth, Pablo MacDonough scored La Dolfina’s final goal of the game for a commanding 11-7 lead. Facundo Pieres converted a penalty shot for his fourth goal of the game with just over a minute left in the penultimate chukka, but it was La Dolfina with the 11-8 lead and one period left to play.

La Dolfina played defence for the final minutes of the game as Ellerstina tried desperately to edge their way back into the game, but the dominance of the game’s best Back, Juan Martin Nero, and the coordinated team play of the balance of the La Dolfina roster weren’t having any of it. A final Ellerstina goal, a 60-yard penalty shot taken by Nico Pieres, illustrated the frustration Facundo Pieres was having at the penalty line on the day as La Dolfina celebrated the 11-9 victory.

“I think it would be a mistake if we start thinking about the chance of winning a new Triple Crown; a huge mistake. You try not to think about it. We made the mistake at the beginning of the game of not doing our way of playing. Milo was insisting on playing different: at the first touch. I think that one of the keys of our team is that each one is playing on his natural position, also that this is our fifth year playing together. Day after day we are becoming more friends between us and that is something that you can see on the field and also outside. We are having a great time together”. –Juan Martin Nero

The Herculean efforts by Cambiaso were emphasized by his 7 of 9 penalty conversions in comparison to a disappointing effort by Facundo Pieres, who missed four 60-yard attempts from the foul line and two 40-yard shots.

The efforts of Pelon Stirling and Pablo MacDonough cannot be overlooked with MacDonough orchestrating attacks from his number three position, while Stirling’s defensive efforts helped in disturbing the offensive attacks of the Ellerstina foursome.

Gonzalito Pieres looked strong in the middle of the Ellerstina lineup, and Nico Pieres showed streaks of brilliance, but a lacklustre performance by Facundo Pieres (scoring four penalty shots out of ten attempts) and a disappointing debut on the field by Polito Pieres (scoring four goals from the field) made it clear that the veteran La Dolfina team would continue to rule the game in Argentina, at least for one more.

“The goal was missing from us, we should have scored more, hitting the ball better. But we are on the good road, although there are many things to improve. Usually we hit well, but today it was not our day. Maybe the pitch didn’t help either. But maybe on the next tournament we can play a game more open for us and win it. But this is history, we are now looking forward on our next game”. –Gonzalito Pieres Jr.

Cambiaso earned MVP honors for his performance, scoring seven of his game-high ten goals on penalty conversions. Additionally, Chocolate, a 12-year-old Bay gelding, played by Cambiaso and owned by Valiente, S. A. was named Best Playing Pony of the tournament with Fax Cherokee, another Valiente, S. A. pony played by Cambiaso, honored by the Argentine Polo Horse Breeders Association, as the best Argentine bred pony of the tournament (Chocolate, the 2013 Susan Townley Cup winner as Best Playing Pony of the Argentine Open was born and bred in California).

It was a great day all around for Cambiaso and his La Dolfina teammates while Ellerstina will have to regroup and hope for a better performance against La Dolfina in either the Hurlingham Open or the Argentine Open – if they get the opportunity. –Alex Webbe


The Copa Emilio de Anchorena, is the trophy first presented by don Emilio de Anchorena in 1907. After 1972 it was played for in conjunction with the San Martín and 12 de Octubre Cups. Currently it is presented to the winner of the Tortugas Open Championship, the first of the mythical Triple Crown events.


Adolfo Cambiaso (10), David Stirling Jr. (10),
Pablo Mac Donough (10), Juan Martin Nero (10)

Pablo Pieres (10), Nicolas Pieres (9),
Gonzalo Pieres Jr. (10), Facundo Pieres (10)

Cristian Laprida Jr. (8), Hilario Ulloa (9),
Lucas Monteverde (9), Fred Mannix (9)

Ignacio Toccalino (9), Sebastian Merlos (9),
Eduardo N. Astrada Jr. (9), Alejandro N. Astrada (8)

Agustín Merlos (8), Guillermo Terrera (8),
Guillermo Caset (9), Ignacio N. Astrada (9)

Alberto Heguy Jr. (8), Ignacio Heguy (9),
Bautista Heguy (8), Eduardo Heguy (9)


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