Carlos Gracida, the passing of a
By Alex Webbe
Tragedy befell the polo community Tuesday afternoon on the
Everglades polo field when in the course of the 4pm Freebooters Classic match
between Santa Clara and Goose Creek, fifty-three-year-old Carlos Gracida
suffered a life ending fall.
Gracida suffered massive facial and chest trauma after his
horse stumbled launching Carlos to the ground.
It is thought that the horse’s head knocked him unconscious before he
ever hit the ground. The horse then fell
on him and damaged him again when attempting to get up. Gracida was airlifted to the Delray Medical
Center where efforts were made to revive him failed.
Internationally recognized as one of the premier players in
the history of the sport, Carlos reached the ultimate polo rating of 10-goals
at the age of twenty-five and rode on to capture the most prestigious polo
trophies around the world. SportsIllustrated.com
says that Carlos Gracida has dominated the sport more than any other player in
history. He was inducted into the Polo
Hall of Fame just in 2012.
Carlos won the U. S. Open Championship on nine different
occasions; the Argentine Open five times; the British Open a record ten times;
and the World Cup seven times. An
encyclopedia cites Carlos as the holder of more tournament wins than any player
in the history of the game. He has been
named Player of the Year five different times and Argentina’s revered Olimpa
de Plata, the award for the most valuable polo player in the country, the
only non-Argentine to ever win the prestigious award.
Carlos continued playing and coaching high goal polo with a
lofty 9-goal handicap (after spending 15 years at the 10-goal pinnacle). Additionally, through his company, Gracida International,
his expertise had been requested on a number of polo-related ventures around
the world ranging from endorsements of equestrian products to polo exhibitions
to assistance in polo and equestrian developments.
A longtime resident of Palm Beach County, Carlos
participated in scores of fund-raising projects and benefits and continued to
be a role model for aspiring young athletes around the world.