Polo returns to the sands of South Beach (between 20th and 22nd Streets) April 25-28.
The competition begins April 25 with the South Beach Women’s Polo Cup. The day-long series of round-robin matches features eight teams, including 2012 champs Cecilia Cochran and Alicia Harden, and SMU’s Pamela Flanagan and Tiffany Busch (of the Anheuser-Busch family).
Friday through Sunday (April 26-28), six men’s teams will vie for the ninth annual Miami Beach Polo World Cup. Players include the legendary Carlos Gracida of Mexico, Kris Kampsen of the United States (last year’s MVP), and Luis Escobar of Costa Rica.
Riding alongside Escobar is his teammate and “patron” (team owner): Tommy Kato of Miami Beach. Kato, 40, owns Merchant Hub, a Beach-based credit-card processing company. He attended the event six years ago — and was hooked.
“I’d never ridden a horse before, and when I saw that game, I decided I needed to play in that tournament,” Kato said.
He took polo lessons from Escobar’s Santa Clarita ranch/school in Wellington — and later bought thoroughbreds from Escobar, including two (Julio and Sanyo) that will participate in this year’s competition.
This year’s title sponsor is La Martina, manufacturer of polo apparel and gear and sponsor of polo events worldwide (replacing Maserati, and formerly AMG Mercedes). The event will feature afternoon fashion shows by La Martina and designer Crystal Jo, as well as invite-only parties including an evening soirée at the Mondrian featuring sunset cruises and DJ Irie.
“We’re expecting more horsepower on the sand this year than a Formula One race,” quipped Bruce Orosz, president and co-founder of The Polo Life LLC, event producer.
Orosz also owns Hollywood & Vine wines and ACT Productions. ACT is slated to produce the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame inaugural induction gala at Miami Beach’s New World Center on April 23.
General admission to Miami Beach Polo is free; VIP tickets (shaded grandstand plus food and drinks) are $100 Thursday; $130 Friday through Sunday. VIP passes are $375 (three-day) and $450 (four-day). A portion of ticket sales benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami.
For tickets and complete schedule, call 305-538-3809 or visit http://www.miamipolo.com.
Beach Buzz: Polo competition returning to South Beach – Miami Beach – MiamiHerald.com. By Debra Leibowitz. 2013, April 19. Retrieved from http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/19/3353474_p2/beach-buzz-polo-competition-returning.html.