Pacific Coast Open begins today in Carpinteria
The trophy is big. Really big.
It’s 5 feet high!
But its size matches the magnitude of the event.
It’s the Pacific Coast Open, the West Coast’s only outdoor open trophy in polo and the season’s biggest event for the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria. The tournament will start this afternoon and run there through Aug. 29.
Six teams will compete. Among them is Klentner Ranch, the defending champions. The ranch also won in 2018.
The competition starts at 4 p.m. today with a match between BenSoleimani.com and Farmers & Merchants Bank. This particular contest has been dedicated as the Charles Ward Memorial Match. Mr. Ward was instrumental in club sponsorship.
Games will be held on Sundays and Fridays.
Back to that trophy. This work of art is topped with an eagle supporting a globe and is covered with semiprecious stones. It rests on a redwood base, and the side panels depict dynamic polo scenes.
Originally, it was called the All American Polo Trophy. The cup was commissioned in 1908 by friends and members of the Coronado Country Club in Southern California, according to a news release.
Throughout the late 1920s until the early 1940s, the tournament was hosted by various clubs throughout California.
After World War II, the Pacific Coast Open moved to the Beverly Hills Polo Club until 1952, when it found a new home at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club.
The trophy remains today at the Carpinteria club.
In addition to Klentner Ranch, the Pacific Coast Open teams are Santa Clara, Farmers & Merchants Bank, Antelope, Bensoleimani.com and Lucchese.
“With four tournament titles, Lucchese holds the most wins of all teams competing (2015, 2012, 2011, 2010), followed by Klentner Ranch and Farmers & Merchants Bank with two (2019, 2017) and Antelope with one (2004),” according to the news release.
A love for polo naturally gets passed on from one generation to the next. Justin Klentner and Jesse Bray, who were teammates in 2020 at Klentner Ranch, are joined this year by Justin’s son, Jacob “Jake” Klentner. They’re also joined by Argentine Santiago Toccalino.
Carlucho Arellano, executive director of services at the U.S. Polo Association, said the teams face the challenge of winning all the 16-goal tournaments.
“Most summers it seems customary that a different team wins each trophy. Mainly because it is so difficult to keep a single team’s horses peaking for that long — prime fitness is tricky to maintain.
“Klentner Ranch just might be able to accomplish the feat and finish the Santa Barbara season with a Pacific Coast Open victory.”