History

Lewis L. Lacey

Lewis Lacey was born in Montreal on February 17, 1887, the son of a professional cricket player. Lacey became Argentina’s second 10-goal player in 1915, winning the Argentine Open that year with Palomar.

Born a British citizen, he served with Great Britain in World War I, and saw front line action. After the war, he returned to Argentina and got on with his polo-playing career. He got into the habit of going to the United States every couple of years, and continued to visit England. He gave the Americans a preview of his talents when his Argentine team won the 1922 United States Open Championship with a resounding 14-7 win over Meadow Brook in the finals.

In 1924 Lacey was asked for Great Britain in the Olympic games in Paris. He responded by saying that he would play for Great Britain but would not take the field against Argentina. Needless to say, he didn’t play for Great Britain and Argentina won the first of two Gold Medals in polo (1924 and 1936).

In 1924 and 1930 Lacey competed for Great Britain in the Westchester Cup series against the United States. Both times he took the field as team captain. Injured, Lacey was still the best player on the field for Great Britain in 1924, and he led the team in scoring in 1930. He also competed for Argentina against the United States in the 1928 Cup of the Americas series.


Lewis Lacey mounted on Jupiter

Rated at the top of the Argentine handicap list from its inception, his success in Argentine polo is no less illustrious. His played on seven Argentine Open Championship teams from 1915 to 1937.

In spite of his excellent horsemanship and world-class play, there are two things for which Lewis Lacey may best be remembered. Following the Cup of the Americas series in 1928 Lewis Lacey sold a Chestnut gelding to John Sanford (father of 7-goal American Laddie Sanford) for a record $22,000, the largest amount ever paid for a polo pony at that time. The second is the1920 creation and sale of a short-sleeved sports shirt with a mounted polo player over the heart (are you reading this Ralph Lauren). The Hurlingham Polo Team wore the shirts for the 1923 season.

Lacey stayed active in the game umpiring and coaching until the very end. He passed away at his home in Hurlingham in November of 1966, on the eve of a Cup of the Americas series with the United States.

 

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