“Criterion” – the third planned book in my series “The Games Men Play” – is a tale of bloodlust and bloodlines set amid rival families in the equestrian world. So I was more than a little excited to see that Nacho Figueras – the polo star and Ralph Lauren spokesmodel – is presenting a series of romances, “The Polo Season,” written by Hudson Valley, N.Y. writer Jessica Whitman.
The first, “High Season” (Forever/Grand Central Publishing, $13.99, 351 pages) follows an upstate New York veterinarian as she threads her way among the 1-percenters of the winter equestrian circuit in Wellington, Fla. Will she find love with the dashing polo star who, too, has his challenges? Is there any doubt?
I find the novel, which Figueras and wife Delfina Blaquier developed with Whitman, to be a breezy, absorbing read – the characters, well-drawn; the dialogue, snappy; and the world of the beautiful people, sharply observed. I love it when our vet heroine’s gay pal observes of the horsey set that “…there’s no portion control when it comes to their accessories.”
Such writing bodes well for the follow-ups “Wild One,” out June 28, and “Ride Free,” out July 26.
Figueras – who faced off memorably against friend Prince Harry in a 2013 Sentabale charity match at Greenwich Polo Club – returns there this Sunday to sign copies of the first book before the start of the club’s 35th season.
“ ‘The Polo Season’ series blends my favorite sport with a little bit of romance,” Figueras said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to be launching ‘High Season’ with friends at Greenwich Polo Club. Whether you’re already a polo fan or completely new to the game, I hope readers will enjoy these characters and their stories.”
After the book-signing from 1 to 3 p.m., it’s on to the main event – the first match of the United States Polo Association-sanctioned Monty Waterbury Cup.
Teams competing in the Cup include White Birch (Santino Magrini, Hilario Ulloa, Mariano Aguerre and Greenwich Polo founder Peter Brant), Airstream (Peter Orthwein, Matias Magrini, Kris Kampsen and Guillermo Aguero) Postage Stamp Farm (Annabelle Garrett, Nick Manifold, Joao Paolo Ganon and Brandon Phillips) and Goose Creek (Maureen Brennan, Tomas Garcia del Rio, Mariano Gonzalez and Marcos Garcia del Rio). The USPA will conduct a draw before the tournament to determine which teams play opening day.
Said Brant: “We are excited to start our 35th season of high-goal polo this summer at Greenwich Polo Club with three of the most prestigious USPA polo tournaments returning to our field this year – the Monty Waterbury Cup, the Butler Handicap and the East Coast Open. Opening day is always special at Greenwich Polo Club, and we’re delighted that Nacho will be launching his new book series amongst fellow polo players and fans.”
Polo matches are open to the public every Sunday from June 5 to July 17 (with no match July 3) and Aug. 28 to Sept. 11. Tickets may be purchased online and are $500 to $600 for VIP private cabanas (seating eight); $300 for box seats (seating four); $60 per car for grandstand seating; and $40 per car for lawn seating. Picnicking and dogs on leashes are allowed. There are also any number of high-end food, clothing and accessories vendors in what is a casually elegant, familial environmentGates open at 1 p.m. The field address is 1 Hurlingham Drive, Greenwich, Conn.
For more, visit greenwichpoloclub.com. And look for Nacho Figueras between the covers – of August WAG magazine.