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PHOTOS — 2017 Ends With Start Of 2018 Season At International Polo Club Palm Beach!

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PHOTOS — 2017 Ends With Start Of 2018 Season At International Polo Club Palm Beach!

International Polo Club Palm Beach

The 2018 season started early at Wellington’s International Polo Club Palm Beach, and Russian blue bloods Countess Evelina Sergieieva (left) and Princess Tatiana Romanova were there to catch the action (Mike Jachles Photo/Luxury PR Group c.2018)

WELLINGTON — The 2018 polo season kicked off a tad early in Wellington.

The ponies of the 20-goal Herbie Pennell Cup finals were let loose on a golf-perfect season-opening lawn of the International Polo Club Palm Beach on a picture-perfect New Year’s Eve in Wellington.

In nearly four months, the season is scheduled to end with the grand finale of the 26-goal U.S. Open, the Super Bowl of the Sport of Kings.

Until then, the champagne and the flowery dresses will flow field-side every Sunday afternoon at the club, 3667 120th Avenue South.

Yesterday at The Pavilion, the private brunch area with the best view on the action, the scene looked like a preview of what would undoubtedly happen later in the night in the various New Year parties: Society dames and their escorts sipped Veuve Clicquot while munching on lobster and smoked salmon and crab from the buffet.

Nothing new there.

The Pavilion and its sold-out brunch has become a Sunday polo staple.

But Sunday’s sun-splashed season opener also ushered a champagne flute-full of new stuff.

Take the grass, for example.

Stomping the divots, an old polo tradition on the new season of the Sport of Kings (Mike Jachles photo)

I’m told the polo lawn was recently sprigged with one-of-a-kind strain of a particularly durable Bahamas variety that is expected to make the field look like a billiard tables.

New teams have also signed up for the 2018 season.

They are SD Farms and Pilot, owned by Curtis Pilot, the multi-millionaire owner of a giant Alabama insurance adjusting firm. Pilot has surrounded himself with Argentine brothers Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres, and the team is expected to make some noise.

International Polo Club Palm Beach

New Year’s Eve saw the opening of the 2018 polo season in Wellington (Mike Jachles photo)

We briefly caught up with IPC owner Mark Bellissimo, who was beaming after a major victory in the legal arena for his companies.

After a trial early last month, Bellissimo won a lawsuit launched against him in 2012 over his plans to develop Wellington’s Equestrian Village property to include a hotel, condos and retail space. Depending on a final ruling from the judge Bellissimo, who also owns Wellington’s show-jumping Winter Equestrian Festival, could go ahead with his plans by year’s end.

Meanwhile, check out our Mike Jachles’ exclusive photos of Sunday’s polo opener:

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