Carlos Gracida, Polo Great, Dies After Game Accident in Wellington

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Carlos Gracida with Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth.
Carlos Gracdia with Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth.

WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 25, 2014–Carlos Gracida, a dashing and charismatic polo legend around the world, died Tuesday night after sustaining a head injury during a match in Wellington.

Carlos, 53, a Hall of Famer and former 10-goal rated player, was playing for Santa Clara in the International Polo Club’s Freebooters Classic 14-goal tournament at Everglades Polo Club.

Witnesses reported that another player accidentally hit Carlos’s horse in the head with a polo mallet. The horse, stunned, whipped his head around and hit Carlos in the head, knocking him unconscious. He fell off and the horse rolled on top of him.

He was helicoptered to nearby Delray Beach Medical Center where family members Carlos, Jr. and Mariano, his sons and both professional polo players, and his brother, Memo, also a Hall of Famer, kept vigil.

Tim Dutta, a long-time friend of Carlos, said: “I am devastated by his death. He was such a friend and mentor.”

Carlos, a product of the Gracida polo dynasty. was a Wellington resident, nine-time U.S. Open winner, five-time Argentine Open winner and five-time Player of the Year.

Carlos was born in Mexico City and earned the 10-goal ranking, the highest rating in polo, in 1985 and maintained it for 15 years.

Carlos competed Saturday, leading Catamount to a win against Goose Creek in the Sieber Memorial Tournament.