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Klentner Ranch Edges Lucchese for Pacific Coast Open Polo Championship

Pacific Coast Open polo final Click to view larger
The members of the Klentner Ranch team pose with the Pacific Coast Open championship trophy. The members, from left, include: Remy Muller, Mariano Obregon, Justin Klentner, Jake Klentner and Jesse Bray (David Lominska photo)

Jake Klentner filled in for his injured father and helped Klentner Ranch win the Silver Air Pacific Coast Open polo championship at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club on Sunday.

Klentner Ranch defeated Lucchese in the title game of the biggest tournament of the season, 8-6.

Jake Klentner raced home from Colorado to play in the Pacific Coast Open after his father, Justin, suffered a hand injury in the semifinals against Sol de Agosto.  Jake was playing in the National Youth Tournament Series semifinals and helped his team reach the finals.

“The whole situation is surreal," said Jake, a former Bishop Diego multi-sport athlete. "I’m so thankful to my dad for letting me come out to California to play in this tournament."

Jake and his teammates received championship rings that bore a striking resemblance to a Super Bowl championship ring.

“Who doesn’t like a ring? I feel like Tom Brady right now!” a beaming Jake said.

Justin Klentner was proud to see his son play in his place and help win the title after Klentner Ranch lost in last year's final in double overtime.

“After last year, we needed to win this,” Justin Klentner said. “My hope is that we win it the next 10 years in a row, but after last year’s double overtime, we needed to win it this year. To have Jake win it is better than having me win it to be honest with you. We are looking for the future of American Polo, and here it is."

Klentner Ranch included three members of the U.S. Polo Association team: Jake Klentner, Remy Du Celliee Muller and Jesse Bray.

Muller was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.

“This is my second Pacific Coast Open win and it’s best to win it with friends,” Muller said. “Today I played my best horse, Phoebe, in three chukkers. I got her from Tom Gose and bought her in the spring of 2015 as a five-year-old.”

Jesse Bray Click to view larger
Jesse Bray of Klentner Ranch pushes the ball forward as a Luchesse player gives chase. (David Lominska photo)

Best Playing Pony honors were presented to Bray’s 10-year-old bay mare, Venice. She played in the first and the fifth chukkers.

“I got her as a two-year-old off the training track and my dad made her,” Bray shared. “She has been playing well in this tournament and is just starting to peak now.”

Both teams struggled for possession early, but Klentner was able to capitalize on numerous Lucchese fouls to gain the edge. Early in the second chukker, Bray converted a Penalty 3, but was met by an answering field goal from Lucchese's Jeff Hall, who broke through a clustered pack to score.

Jake Klentner scored off a feed from Jesse Bray to keep his team up by one at halftime, 4-3.

Adding a Penalty 3 conversion each to their respective tallies, Klentner Ranch clung to its one-goal lead. Mariano Obregon scored on a penalty for a 7-5 lead.

Slipping out of the pack to make a coast-to-coast breakaway on 12-year-old thoroughbred mare Fondue, Lucchese's Facundo Obregon made a strong statement with an open backshot tap to goal to make it 7-6 at the end of five chukkers.

The game came down to the wire. Defending their end line well and capitalizing on a pivotal foul, Klentner Ranch’s Mariano Obregon scored on 30-yard penalty, cementing their victory, 8-6.

—Story includes information from the U.S. Polo Association

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