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History of Polo in Argentina

Argentina was first introduced to polo by the English. In the second half of the 19th century, English immigrants arrived in Argentina as wealthy landowners with a new found passion for polo. This influence, in combination with Argentina’s abundance of treeless plains and horses created a polo paradise.

As the sport became more and more popular, the River Plate Polo Association and the National Polo Federation decided to combine forces to create the Argentine Polo Association in 1922 to regulate and oversee the sport of polo in Argentina In commemoration of this important step forward for the sport, the Argentine Polo Association and the War Horse Commission created two of the most famous polo fields in Argentina located just ten minutes away from Buenos Aires: the stadium fields at Campo Argentino del Polo in Palermo. This iconic facility is one of the many impressive features of polo history in Argentina, but these picturesque locations alone did not build the impressive reputation of Argentine polo.

In Argentina’s first appearances on the international polo stage, they began to make their mark as they traveled to the U.K. and the U.S.. Shortly after, Argentina won a gold medal in the Paris Olympic Games in 1924 and again in the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936. And Argentina’s international polo prowess did not stop there.

The Triple Crown of Polo

Argentina is famously known for the creation of the notorious Triple Crown of Polo. This tournament series is the combination of the Tortugas Open, the Hurlingham Open, and the Argentine Open. To win all of these events is to gain the most prestigious title in all of polo.

The Tortugas Open first presented in 1907, is an open competition that welcomes highly talented teams from across the world. Most recently, team La Natividad defeated team La Hache in the final match of the 83rd Tortugas Open, fifteen goals to ten. Team La Natividad included four Argentine players: Barto and Jeta Castagnola, Facundo Pieres, and Pablo Macdonough. Macdonough has won 12 Tortugas titles and now holds the record for the most wins in the tournament’s history. Following close behind, his teammate Pieres has won the tournament 11 times.

The Hurlingham Open began in 1929, and similar to the Tortugas Open, has an open tournament style that welcomes players of any high-goal handicap. In 2023, team La Dolfina Saudi defeated La Hache 18 goals to 13 to claim the victory of the 130th Hurlingham Open. La Dolfina’s team included one of the most famous polo players of all time, Adolfo Cambiaso, and his son, Adolfo Cambiaso Jr., both beloved Argentine polo players who continue to raise the bar for polo players worldwide.

The final and most coveted trophy of the Triple Crown is the Argentine Open. This tournament has taken place at the Campo Argentino de Polo in Palermo, Buenos Aires annually since 1893. Every year, the Argentine Open attracts more than 40,000 spectators and some of the most talented teams in polo. The 2023 Argentine Open recently came to a close with La Natividad claiming the victory over La Dolfina.

The Argentine Women’s Polo Open began in 2017 and is held annually at the Alfredo Lalor headquarters of the Argentine Polo Association in Pilar. The final match is played on the Argentine Field of Polo in Buenos Aires. To compete, every team in the Argentine Women’s Open must have a combined handicap between 16 and 40 goals, which makes these teams some of the most talented women’s teams in the world. The 2023 tournament came to a close in December with El Overo Z7 UAE team winning their first title.

Written in collaboration with Lily Brennan

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