The Philadelphia Polo Classic Returns to Fairmount Park This Fall
Tickets are now on sale for the event benefiting Work to Ride.
Last fall, the Philadelphia Polo Classic — our city’s first-ever polo exhibition match — debuted in Fairmount Park to a sold-out crowd. West Philly’s own polo champion Kareem Rosser, an alum of Philly nonprofit Work to Ride (WTR) program, served as a team captain in what was an affirmation of his work in the polo world, as well as in the community.
The horseback sport rode into the spotlight on September 22, 2022, with high-profile matches co-captained by arguably the world’s most famous polo player, Nacho Figueras, and Rosser. As our own Sarah Jordan revealed in her September 2022 preview of the inaugural event, the unlikely friends’ love for horses transcended their differences. This just so happens to be the mission of WTR, where Rosser got his start as a kid growing up in difficult circumstances, and where he found sanctuary, self-confidence and possibility.
“When you wake up every day and all you can think about is just surviving the day, you don’t have the capacity to dream and to believe there are other possibilities out there,” Rosser told Jordan. “But when you go to the barn, you have all that and more. You are now at a place where your mind is free.” Philly bet big on the ponies, and won: The Philadelphia Polo Classic gave WTR a $10 million fund-raising boost to build up its facilities and reach even more Philly kids.
“Last year, our event became a milestone in Philadelphia history as the first time a Polo Classic has been held in Fairmount Park, let alone one featuring Black polo players competing together on the same field,” Rosser said in a press release announcing the Classic’s return to Fairmount Park’s Edgley Field on September 23rd this fall. “This year, we aim to continue to push the boundaries around this incredible sport and highlight the talent present in our community, proving that the sport of kings can be accessible to everyone regardless of their background.”
Rosser will lead his team in two matches, including the Feature Cup Match, a highly anticipated rematch against Figueras’ team. Before the feature match, teams of current and alumni WTR members will face off, including Alyssa Perren, who was recently accepted to Harvard, and Mosiah Gravesande, last year’s Feature Cup Match MVP, who will soon attend University of North Texas. “As we look ahead to our 2023 Polo Classic, we are reminded of the impact this event and the Work to Ride program has had on the lives of our past and present program members,” said Lezlie Hiner, WTR founder.
Tickets are now on sale for the event that expects 5,000 attendees this year. As with last year, the Classic will also include a carriage parade, hat contests, food trucks, a beer and wine garden, lawn games and more activities for all ages. There are also VIP tickets, which get you food and drinks along with field-side viewing. While the event is family-friendly, the VIP tents are ages 21 and up only.
Proceeds from the event will again support Work to Ride’s programs and capital campaign toward their upgraded facility and indoor equestrian center.