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. Continue reading