Carlos Gracida, 53, regarded as one of the greatest polo players to ever play the sport died after a terrifying accident in Florida on February 26, reports The Palm Beach Post.
The accident occurred on February 25 during a game at the Everglades Polo Club in Wellington, Florida, where he lived. An opponent’s mallet accidentally hit Gracida’s horses’ head. The spooked steed jumped, throwing Gracida to the ground, the horse then landed on him, it sent him into a coma from which he would never awaken.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Trained The British Royal Family
Gracida was known to the British Royal Family. He played with Prince Charles in the past, and trained Princes William and Harry. He referred to the younger royals as “true princes.” In some media reports, Gracida was said to be Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite polo player. Away from royalty, Gracida also trained Sylvester Stallone in the art of polo, according to his online bio.
2. He’s One of the Most Decorated Polo Players of All Time
Gracida attained the highest handicap ranking for a polo player, 10-goal, holding it for 15 years. Throughout his career, he won the U.S. Open nine-times, the Argentine Open six-times and was Player of the Year five-times. He also managed to be the only player to have won polo’s Grand Slam of U.S., British and Argentine Opens three times.
3. He Lived With His Sons in Florida
Two of his sons, Carlos Jr. and Mariano, are professional players. His brother, Memo, is also in polo’s Hall of Fame. Gracida’s father was also a prominent player. Gracida lived with his sons in Wellington, Florida. A year ago, in February 2013, Gracida was arrested and charged with a DUI.
4. He Didn’t Like His Most Famous Horse
During his career, Gracida was synonymous with his horse, Chesney, while riding the horse, he won the British Open Gold Cup three times. Though he had said, he personally preferred to ride, Nony Nony, according to The Daily Telegraph.
5. The Gracida Family Are a Polo Dynasty
Gracida was a native of Mexico City, his family were known as a polo dynasty. He first played the game at the age of 5 and played his fist competitive game at 10. His father, Guillermo, played off a 9-goal handicap during his career, and at 65, still played off 5-goals at 65.