White Birch’s Mariano Aguerre Inducted into polo HOF
By Liz Leamy
Mariano Aguerre, the Argentinian polo superstar who has played a starring role in helping White Birch, the celebrated Greenwich-based high-goal team, establish a reputation as one of the best in the sport, was inducted last Friday into the Museum of Polo Hall of Fame at a gala ceremony in Lake Worth, Fla.
Aguerre has played the number-three (lead) position for White Birch for more than three decades and is ranked at nine goals out of a possible ten. He was thrilled at the receiving the award.
“It’s a great honor,” said Aguerre, who for many years has stayed with his wife, Tatiana, and four children, Sophie, Lola, Carmen and Antonio, in town during the high-goal polo season at the Greenwich Polo Club.
Regarded as a master strategist and as one of the smartest players in the sport, Aguerre, 46, has experienced a remarkable level of success in his career so far.
Over the years, he has consistently helped lead White Birch and various other teams in Argentina, Florida and other locations around the U.S. and the world, lock down victory after victory.
Regarded as one of the sport’s best “money players,” Aguerre is also famous for putting on a terrific show during the matches.
Last September, he helped guide White Birch to victory in the East Coast Open Championships, held at the Greenwich Polo Club and broadcast on NBC Universal Sports. He played an instrumental role in helping his team edge out Audi, the formidable high-goal squad from Wellington, Fla., 14-13, in the final match.
Reflecting on his career, Aguerre said, “Without a doubt, the Museum of Polo’s Hall of Fame is one of the most important achievements of my career.”
A Polo Club Draw
Aguerre, whose play is marked by a combination of great skill, intelligence, quickness and determination, has been a main draw for the Greenwich Polo Club since he first started playing for White Birch in the late 1980s.
Always exciting to watch, especially playing alongside his decorated teammates—Peter Brant, the team’s patron, a business mogul who founded the Greenwich Polo Club in 1981, and Hilario Ulloa, the number-two Argentinian and one of the sport’s rare 10-goalers— Aguerre always is effective in engaging the Conyers Farm crowd with his technique, fire and flair.
Aguerre, whom Brant had invited to join White Birch when he was just 16, is also much of the reason why the Greenwich Polo Club has, over the years, earned the reputation as one of the premiere sites for American high-goal polo.
Having worked alongside Brant, Ulloa and a host of other skilled players for so many years, Aguerre, who achieved a 10-goal rating in the U.S. back in 1994, is somebody who always delivers.
Humble off the field and fierce on it, Aguerre credited Peter Brant and White Birch for his success.
“Let me put it this way,” he said. “I’m not sure there would be any Hall of Fame moment for me is it wasn’t for the White Birch organization and all of their support.
“I’ve been playing with White Birch and Peter Brant for more than 30 years,” Aguerre continued. “I think the longevity of our partnership and the team we’ve been able to build throughout the years is pretty rare.”
Friend and Family Man
Aguerre is known to be among the most respected and well-liked players in the sport.
At matches, his wife, the daughter of famed polo player Gonzalo Pieres, and children are always on hand to cheer him.
Meanwhile, he is close friends with many of the players, including Nick Manifold, manager of White Birch and five-goaler, and Naco Taverna, the Argentinian six-goaler, who were delighted at his induction. (Aguerre, Manifold and Taverna all jointly manage and oversee Los Machitos Farm, a renowned site for breeding prize-winning polo ponies.)
“I couldn’t be more proud to be part of Mariano’s accomplishment,” said Manifold, who has known Aguerre for more than 30 years. “He is a true champion on the polo field and one of the greatest horsemen I know.”
No doubt, Aguerre’s level of commitment to those close to him, especially to those who have been part of the White Birch group, has seems to have served him well over the years.
But at the end of the day, it is clearly his passion for the sport that seems to have been the secret to his success, both as a player and as a person.
“I think the combination of the speed and adrenaline of the sport and interacting with the horses make [polo] really unique,” said Aguerre. “I love the lifestyle of polo, getting to play in Argentina and the U.S., but every location feels like home with plenty of friends and family. I’m extremely lucky to earn a living doing what I love.”