Polo Players Edition

SEP 2018

Polo Players' Edition is the official publication of the U.S. Polo Association. Dedicated to the sport of polo, it features player profiles, game strategy, horse care, playing tips, polo club news and tournament results.

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60 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N Y E S T E R Y E A R S INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION I n late summer of 1928, magazine edi- tor Herbert Reed wrote a story titled, "The Argentine Threat." Reed declared: "What is probably the most serious assault on American suprema- cy will be launched by the flying horsemen from the Argentine on the International Field at Meadow Brook." He of course was referring to the first official international match-up of polo powerhouses Argentina and the United States. The event became known as the Copa de las Americas (Cup of the Americas) and many believe it helped usher in the age of the Argentines as the world's dominant polo-playing country. Reed wrote just pri- or to the 1928 series, "There is another angle to the coming matches that is inter- esting. The Argentines, while the best of sportsmen, felt a little hurt that they have not been allowed to try for the Interna- tional Challenge Cup. The powers that be, however, have felt that they could not vio- late the deed of gift that accompanied what was know in the early days as the Westchester Cup." According to the United States Polo Association's 1930 year book, the match between the United States and Argentina marked, for the first time since 1921, that the United States played an international match two years in succession. The pony string of the challenging side established records in three ways, as fol- lows: length of time given to their stay in the country and the acclimatization process which was the longest yet known; a record total sales price for the string sold at auction, which brought a grand total of $276,100 ($3,934,400 in 2018 buying power value) and a record individ- ual pony sale of $22,000 ($313,500 in today's value). There was speculation the sales prices was indicative of the then-pre- sent interest in the game in the United States and of the popularity of the ponies bred in Argentina as mounts for U.S. play- ers and for breeding purposes. While Argentines and Argentine teams playing in the United States was nothing new, there had never been a match-up of an Argentine team against an official "American Big Four" featuring the best team that could be assembled for the chal- lenge. The Big Four, rated 32 goals in 1928, was made up of W. Averell Harri- man, Thomas Hitchcock Jr., Malcolm Stevenson and Winston Guest. According to Reed before the series began, "There is no doubt, too, that the Americans will be hard put to it to match the horsemanship of the Argentines, that all but reinless riding that is the mark of a lifetime in the saddle, of in a word, 'horse- mastership' as distinguished from mere horsemanship." Reed noted that while there was nothing severely lacking in the horsemanship of the Big Four, the fact some of the American players made at least a hobby of raising and training their own strings gave them an advantage over some of its predecessors. The team from Argentina featured a similarly rated foursome of Arturo Kenny, Juan D. Nelson, Juan B. Miles and at back, the redoubtable 10-goaler Luis L. Lacey. For Kenny, this international match would be his first playing in the United States. Many felt Nelson was like Tommy Hitchcock, one of the best No. 2 players in the world. Nelson and Miles dis- played an extraordinary ability in the pass- ing game; always working on play that would free one of them so the other could place a perfect pass while the other was flying across the field. U.S. defeats Argentina in 1928 and 1932 Cup of Americas competitions P E T E R J . R I Z Z O The U.S. team in the first and second match included W.A. Harriman, Tommy Hitchcock Jr., Malcolm Stevenson and Winston Guest. With them is USPA Chairman Luis E. Stoddard.

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