Inside The 2018 Equine Salute Invitational In Wellington With Gracida Foundation

Gracida PoloPhoto Credit: Gracida Polo

It was all smiles at this years Equine Salute Invitational at the Santa Rita Polo ranch in Wellington, Florida. Surrounded by family, close friends and lovers of the game, Carlos Jr. and Mariano Gracida played with their heart in this special annual match dedicated to honoring their father, the legendary Carlos Gracida and to bring together the entire equine community of Wellington.

Joined by their good friends, on the opposing team represented by the Arion Group was, Nic Roldan and rising star Juan Bollini. Their cousins, Julio Arellano and Sophie Gracida (a jumper by trade), also joined them on the field along with Grant Ganzi.

The weekend was kicked off by an intimate, exclusive dinner Thursday evening in the Santa Rita polo stables and only sponsors, billionaires, and family were allowed to attend. As guests’ cars were valeted, they were greeted by a mariachi band and then led down a candle lit path where model waiters were awaiting them with a glass of Gracida Gran Reserva. Hanging vineyard lighting streamed the immaculate long table setting and old photos of Carlos hung on the stable doors. Artist Michael Shellis did a live painting of Carlos Gracida playing polo.

The dinner was used as a way to commemorate Carlos Gracida Sr. and to launch the charity honoring him, The Gracida Legacy Foundation. Nick Valenta, the Gracida boys’ business partner gave a speech highlighting the need for the charity and the cause: enriching lives of community youth through the love of horsemanship by providing them with role models that will teach and instill in them leadership skills, discipline and a champion mentality.

Gracida PoloPhoto Credit: Gracida Polo

And the big day was nothing short of luxurious. A 1953 white Rolls-Royce was parked by the players and in the trunk, chilled Gracida Rosé Frizzante waiting to be passed out to attendees during halftime.

Guests could watch the game on a massive 60 feet screen and bid on silent auction items on their phones.

The game concluded with a score of 6-4, Apollo Jets, and words by the Gracida boys and Marc and Melissa Ganzi, close family friends of Carlos and Mariano and the owners of Santa Rita. The invitational continued underneath a big white tent where an assortment of gourmet items were served, more Gracida wine was poured and a DJ on set tempted many to hit the dance floor.

It was a weekend to remember, adding to the unforgettable Carlos Gracida and the memories he gave all who love and adored him. The Equine Salute will happen annually with the goal of bringing together everyone in the equine community and having a day to celebrate the greats that have touched a polo field, especially Carlos Gracida Sr.