Montecito resident Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, has recently joined Nacho Figueras, Keko Magrini, and Juan Guerrero to form Los Padres polo team, which, according to the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, will play at the club and on private fields for the next six weeks. The recently announced presence of the Prince at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in early June, however, appears to indicate that there will be a short break in the Prince’s polo schedule.
Polo Club General Manager David Sigman shared that the Club is thrilled to have a full roster of eight competitive polo teams for the 12-Goal Season, and “we’re obviously very excited about Nacho bringing Harry to our club to play polo.” The club’s goal, according to Sigman, is to ensure that Los Padres has a memorable playing experience so the team will return year after year. The Prince, Sigman noted, is playing really well, is part of a strong team, and appears to be in an environment where he feels very comfortable. The Club’s Polo Academy Director, Jeff Sheraga, has observed the Prince practicing and noted he is a very skilled player, and also a nice guy.
Harry isn’t the only celebrity on the team, Argentinian Nacho Figueras, who is the Prince’s long-time friend, is known around the world for his polo playing and also as a Ralph Lauren model.
In an interview on KCLU, Figueras stated that the team will be raising awareness for local charities and will be a platform for a lot of good things. The Archewell Foundation, which handles the philanthropy of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Harry and Meghan), indicated that info about the charitable component of the team will be available in the coming weeks. The Los Padres team is named after the Los Padres National Forest.
The Royal Family has quite the tradition of raising funds for charities. When Harry’s brother, Prince William, played at the Santa Barbara club’s Centennial Celebration in 2011, part of the negotiations were that a portion of ticket proceeds go to his charity.
Sigman noted that while the announcement of the Prince playing here has brought a lot of attention to the club, Opening Day was sold out before the announcement. Despite all the excitement and publicity, the club is keeping its primary focus, according to Sigman, on tournament play and the sport that it loves.
Getting to see Prince Harry play is a bit tricky, because matches are played on three fields at the polo club, which are open to the public, but also on a few private fields, which are off limits to the public, and with limited exceptions, field assignments aren’t made too far in advance. Some assignments are made the day of the match.
On May 1, during Opening Weekend, Los Padres won the Harry East Memorial on the West Coast, 17-10. Keko Magrini was named most valuable player for spectacular play that resulted in 11 of the goals. Prince Harry — or Harry Wales as he prefers for polo — impressed the crowd with a run the length of the field that culminated in a score with a neck shot. The high score, Sigman related, shows that this team is not here to just have fun — they are here to win some tournaments.
A combination of factors — horses coming here from the U.S. Open, the conditions of the club’s fields, the perfect weather, and the adrenaline of players — is resulting, according to Sigman, in some very competitive, high-scoring matches.
Last weekend in the Folded Hills Pope Challenge, Dundas defeated Los Padres 11-10, but Los Padres did secure a spot in the semifinals and will play Antelope this Friday, May 13.
For more info, go to http://sbpolo.com.