Polo legend Carlos Gracida has died at the age of 53 after sustaining injuries in a polo accident on Tuesday.
He was playing in a tournament at Everglades Polo Club in Florida. He died late on Tuesday night in the intensive care unit of Delray Medical Center.
The accident happened when another player hit Gracida’s horse in the head with a polo mallet. The horse threw its head around and hit Gracida in the head, knocking him unconscious. Gracida fell off and the horse rolled on top of him.
He suffered bleeding and swelling on the brain and never regained consciousness.
He was surrounded by his family at the hospital, including his sons, professional polo players Carlos Jr. and Mariano, and his brother, Memo (Guillermo).
The Mexican player lived in Wellington, Florida, and was inducted into Polo’s Hall of Fame in 2012. Gracida was also a nine-time US Open winner, five-time Argentine Open winner and five-time Player of the Year. He was a member of Kerry packer’s Ellerstina team, which won the Argentine Triple Crown in 1994. He was the only player in polo history to have won the Grand Slam of Polo (US Open, British Open and the Argentine Open in a calendar year) which he accomplished three times, in 1988, 1989 and 1994.
He attained the sport’s highest handicap of 10 in 1985 and kept that ranking for 15 years.
Carlos Gracida was born on September 5, 1960 in Mexico City, into the country’s “first family” of polo. He learned to ride at the age of five and started playing polo at 10.
Gracida was also a favourite of the British royal family, being described as the Queen’s favourite player. He also gave lessons to Prince Charles and his sons, William and Harry.