Players from the 2012 Platinum Performance S.Y.V. Polo Classic team (L to R in team shirts), Carlos Gracida, TJ Barrack, and Memo Gracida will return to play in 2013. Also pictured celebrating victory with the players are representatives from Platinum Performance located in Buellton.

The Platinum Performance team will once again feature Polo Hall of Famer Memo Gracida, the player with the most U.S. Open victories, and 3-time Grand Slam of Polo award winner, Carlos Gracida. Both brothers are long time 10 goal players and both are multiple-time Player of the Year Award winners.

Platinum Team patron, Mark Herthel, said that he is very happy to be able to once again sponsor a team to defend our championship. “We are proud to associate our brand with an event that had such a great and enthusiastic crowd and an organization like PHP that helps so many.”

Baker said that the Gracidas had such a great time playing in last year’s event that they couldn’t wait to return to play in the Valley and support the event beneficiary, People Helping People (PHP). Baker said that the Gracidas were impressed by the type and breadth of assistance that People Helping People (PHP) is able to furnish to those less fortunate. “Memo and Carlos really believe in giving a hand up the way PHP does it,” said Baker.

According to Baker, last year the Gracidas scored a combined nine goals in three six minute chukkers (in polo, timed period of play). Team Platinum Performance won a close victory over Team Cinque Stelle, 12 to 10.

Baker is himself a thirty year veteran of the sport and continues to compete as a high goal player. Joel was ranked as one of the top ten polo players in the United States and had the honor of being chosen to play for the United States as a member of the Cup of America team. Among his achievements are winning the U.S. Open, America’s Cup, U.S.P.A. Gold Cup, the Silver Cup twice and the Pacific Coast Open four times.

The Gracidas and Baker are expected to be joined by other experienced local players who have also played on the world-wide stage, including local T.J. Barrack. Barrack is the third returning player for Platinum. Baker said that, “(I) have no doubt that the teams we are putting together for the Polo Classic will provide a highly competitive and enjoyable match. It will be really exciting to have such great competitors playing in a beautiful setting where guests are seated so close to the action.”

One thing for certain is that Team Platinum will be playing against a team that will ride under the banner of the Happy Canyon neighborhood. Four patrons representing Happy Canyon have purchased one of the team sponsorships. One of the Happy Canyon team patrons, who wished to remain anonymous, said “we wanted to do this for PHP. They do so much all year long for so many of those who are less fortunate, those who need food, shelter, or healthcare. This is the least we could do to help them help others.”

Many other local businesses have also stepped up to help PHP and make this a memorable event. Champagne, wine and beer are being donated by Lucas and Llewellen, Cinque Stelle, Quail Crossing, and Firestone Walker Brewing. The VIP reception and lunch is being prepared and served by Trattoria Grappolo. Awards for players and best playing ponies are being furnished by Carlos Gracida (hand crafted spurs), MDC Stirrups, Montecito Bank and Trust, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and Markel Specialty.

PHP’s Fahim Farag, Associate Development Director said that in addition to the team sponsorships there are still other opportunities available to support the Polo Classic. For more information about sponsorship benefits or program acknowledgements contact Fahim at or 686-0295.

For all VIP, Patron, and General Admission tickets for the Santa Ynez Valley Polo Classic on Saturday, July 20th visit call 686-0295.

VIP tickets include parking, champagne reception, comfortable tented seating, catered lunch, para-charity drawings and hat contest are $250 each. Patron levels which include VIP polo tickets, Friday evening player reception, tickets to additional PHP events, PHP service sponsorships, and polo program mention are also available. Contact Fahim at: for pricing and availability.

General admission tickets at only $10 each, ($5 children 12 and under) include nearby parking and shuttle to the field and field level seating close by the action. Food and beverages, including beer and wine will be available for purchase.

Doors open at 10:30 A.M. for VIP and 12:15 P.M. for General Admission; match begins at 1:30 PM.

For more information about non-profit human services provider and event beneficiary, People Helping People, go to www.syvphp.or.


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