Victory Victorious In Silver Queen Invitational; Torito Ruiz Named MVP

Victory Victorious In Silver Queen Invitational; Torito Ruiz Named MVP

Victory knocked off Los Amigos to win its first major tournament of the summer polo season Sunday at McClure River Ranch.

By Sharon Robb

Victory (Vinny Sangaline, Kevin Schmeits, Torito Ruiz, Pancho Bensadon) led from start to finish to defeat Los Amigos (Paul Foster, Nic Roldan, Marc Ganzi, Tomacho Pieres), 11-9, to capture the second annual Silver Queen Invitational.

Los Amigos, the winningest team of the season, was going after its fourth tournament win. Victory, however, had other ideas.

Argentine 7-goaler Torito Ruiz, 24, making his final appearance in his third season in Aspen, was named Most Valuable Player for the second time this season. He was also MVP playing for La Karina in the Mount Sopris Cup. He left Monday to compete in Argentina.

“Torito played amazing,” Sangaline said. “He definitely deserved MVP for this game. He turned on the jet engine and let it rip. That’s what we told him to do and we would back him up just in case, but he really got the job done. He’s been playing really well. We’re excited for him to get out to Argentina and show those guys what he can do. It’s always an honor playing with him.”

Jabalina, played by Marc Ganzi and owned by Santa Rita Polo Farm, was Best Playing Pony.

“We played a good game and were well-positioned, we played as a team on the field,” Ruiz said. “It was one of those days where I got lucky and didn’t miss. I think it went really, really well. Kevin and Vinny played amazing.  With Pancho it’s so easy to play, he knows the game.”

Victory took control of the game early behind Ruiz’ offensive attack, Bensadon’s defense and father-son duo Schmeits and Sangaline playing well up front, defending and opening holes for Ruiz. “They made it easy for me,” Ruiz said.

Victory jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the first chukker and extended its lead to 4-2 after two chukkers and 6-3 at the half. Los Amigos tried digging itself out of a hole in the second half, but still trailed 8-5 after four and 10-6 after five chukkers.

Victory led by as many as five goals, 10-5, in the fifth and 11-6 early in the sixth before Los Amigos started reeling them in closing the gap to 11-9 in the final minute of the game.

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Aspen Valley Polo Club