Staff Report

The Santa Ynez Valley Polo Classic, a major fundraiser for People Helping People, will include three matches for the first time when this year’s event takes place Saturday, June 23, at Piocho Ranch at Happy Canyon Vineyard in Santa Ynez.

In addition to the traditional matches, one spotlighting up-and-coming junior players and another featuring “high goal” professionals, the third match will introduce exceptional professional women players.

The Polo Classic’s feature match of high-goal professionals will include the return to Santa Ynez of two exceptional world-famous players, said Joel Baker, player coordinator for the event.

One of the most popular players in the world, Nacho Figueras, will ride for Team Piocho. Figueras is an Argentine player who has been ranked as one of the top 100 polo players in the world.

He is perhaps better known as a former spokesman for Ralph Lauren‘s Black Label, but polo has been his real passion. He has said that his mission in life “is to bring polo to the world a little more.” So, he is working hard to raise the profile of the sport.

Riding for Team J.B. Polo Ranch will be the legendary Memo Gracida, a member of the Polo Hall of Fame. Gracida, a 10-goal player and the player with the most U.S. Open victories, is a multiple-time Player of the Year.

Memo said he is proud to return to play again in the Polo Classic. “I really believe in giving a hand up, the way PHP does it,” he said.

For more information or to buy VIP, Patron, Club, or General Admission tickets, go to or email

Tickets can also be purchased with bus transportation from stops within the Santa Ynez Valley, Westlake, Arroyo Grande, Santa Maria and Santa Barbara.

Prices for transportation are posted on the ticketing website and vary by point of embarkation.

The VIP reception and a Juniors’ match begins at 10:30 a.m. General Admission and Club seating open at 11:00 a.m., and the women’s match begins at 11:15 a.m. with the feature match at 1:30 p.m.

Piocho Ranch is at 1100 Secretariat Drive off Happy Canyon Road in Santa Ynez.

People Helping People is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of men, women and children in the Santa Ynez and Los Alamos valleys and surrounding areas by addressing emergency and basic needs and furnishing comprehensive integrated family and individual support services.

To learn more about PHP, its programs and ways to help, visit or call 686-0295.