Saratoga Polo began its season a month later than usual this year at the historic Whitney polo fields at Bloomfield and Denton roads in Greenfield in order to keep up the turf for the end of the season.
Instead of a June start, the season started July 10. James Rossi, managing partner of Saratoga Polo, said there is so much demand for the polo fields late in the summer that his organization decided to start later to preserve the quality of the turf.
“We have some incredible teams coming this summer,” Rossi said. “We will have some of the best polo in the country in August.” Teams coming this season include a mix of professional polo players from such countries as Argentina and highly skilled non-professionals.
“Saratoga is a destination, a place people like to come to,” Rossi said about the polo fields just north of Saratoga Springs. He said that despite the weak national and world economy, players still want to come and compete in Saratoga.
Saratoga Polo matches are played every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, with gates opening at 4 p.m. and matches starting at 5:30 p.m.
Admission prices remain the same as last year and 2007. Admission to the clubhouse, which offers box seats, air conditioning and a full cash bar, is $25. A carload of people is $25 on the general admission lawn on the other side of the polo field.
Rossi said special agreements with AAA Northway and AAAHudson Valley allow AAA members to save $5 on clubhouse admission and $5 on carload general admission.
Saratoga Polo also has a new polo manager. Nicholas Barry has been hired as the polo manager working alongside longtime polo director Tony Coppola, who is also a member of the Polo Hall of Fame.
Barry comes from Port Mayaca Polo Club in South Florida, where he served as business manager and directed all the club’s financial operations.
Barry has played polo for the past 14 years. He started his playing years with the Darlington Polo Club in western Pennsylvania.
Rossi said Barry, in addition to having played polo at the University of Virginia, has also played throughout the United States, Argentina and England.
Another change at Saratoga Polo is a partnership with Jacob & Anthony’s Catering to provide all food and beverage services at the polo venue.
Jacob & Anthony’s is owned and operated by the Marrello Management Group, whose other food and beverage holdings include a pair of Bellini’s Italian Eateries in Clifton Park and Slingerlands as well as restaurants in Victor, N.Y., and South Windsor, Conn. The group also owns Houlihan’s Restaurant in Crossgates Mall through a franchise agreement.
Marrello Management will add another restaurant location in Saratoga Springs when Jacob & Anthony’s Classic American Grill opens at The 38 High Rock condominiums later this year.
The season’s menu includes unlimited tapas, featuring mini grilled shrimp BLTs and wood-fired pizza, and an antipasto table, among other hot and cold selections, all for a price of $25 per person.
The 2009 polo tournament schedule includes:
u The Saratoga Cup, July 10 through July 19.
u The Chamber of Commerce Cup, July 20 through July 26.
u Veuve-Clicquot Saratoga Women’s Challenge, July 27 through Aug. 2 (when the finals will be held).
u The Whitney Cup, with the trophy being presented by Marylou Whitney on Aug. 9.
u The Ylvisaker Cup, Aug. 1 through Aug. 16.
u The United States Polo Association Hector and Susan Barrantes Memorial, Aug. 18 through Aug. 30.
In addition to the Whitney field, named for William Collins Whitney, who brought polo to Saratoga Springs in 1898, Saratoga Polo has a second field on its own 42 acres and leases two polo fields nearby on property owned by Skidmore College.
For the past several years, Rossi and partner Mike Bucci, a Rochester businessman, have been planning the Saratoga Polo Retreat, a $70 million residential complex built around the Whitney polo field. The project includes fractional-living luxury apartments, a conference center and spa and a large reception space, among other amenities.
The project is on hold until the sluggish economy becomes stronger, according to Rossi. He said offering people the opportunity to purchase everything from two weeks to an entire year at a luxury apartment near Saratoga Springs — rather than purchasing an entire second home — makes economic sense.
For information and details about the 2009 polo season, see www.saratogapolo.com or call the clubhouse at 584-8108.
Reach Gazette reporter Lee Coleman at 587-1780 or at [email protected]