The highlight of Santa Barbara’s Polo Season took place last Sunday, August 28, the Pacific Coast Open (PCO) finals, with Restoration Hardware defeating FMB Too! 13-9. Because the PCO is one of the top tournaments on the West Coast, the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club (SBPRC) in Carpinteria attracted polo fans from all over the region and beyond, with about 4,000 people filling the boxes, clubhouse, cabanas, and grandstands. The 16-goal tournament dates back to 1909 and has been held at the SBPRC since 1952.
At halftime, Restoration Hardware was trailing 7-6, but after a riveting fourth chukker, the team had a four-goal lead and finished with a resounding 13-9 victory. According to U.S Polo Association Services executive director Bob Puetz, while FMB Too! really fought hard, “Restoration Hardware kept creating a strong offensive play and breaking up the defense very quickly … they were on the attack, and when you are on the attack, you score goals.” All players on the teams were American or Argentinian except for a lone Chilean, Felipe Vercellino, on the FMB Too! team.
When the game was over, the party, which had been in low gear in the clubhouse and in the cabanas, shifted into high gear with dance tunes beckoning the oh-so-fashionably attired fans onto the field turned dance floor. Some enjoyed a buffet barbecue dinner, while others just mingled with new and old friends.
For those missing the excitement, the finals will be rebroadcast on NBC Sports Network on September 11 at 9 p.m.
While this marks the end of the high goal season at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, plenty of exciting tournaments remain this year, including the U.S. Polo Association’s President’s Cup September 10-18 and the Women’s Championship Tournament (WCT) on September 23-25. For a full schedule, go to
By Gail Arnold