Rubi’s favourite game, as for sport
What he loved the most besides charming ladies
Polo is called “the sport of kings” and in the past centuries it has become a privileged spectator sport for equestrians and high society all over the world. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that the jet set king Porfirio Rubirosa was a polo enthusiast all of his life. But unlike others, Rubirosa, true to his go-ahead and active nature, didn’t just watch or sponsor polo, but was a player himself.
He started practicing polo during his youth in France and kept playing it until the end of his life. Back to his native Dominican Republic at the age of 17 to join the army, he became a captain at 20, and the captain of the country’s polo team as well.
It was during polo matches that he made some of the most important encounters of his life: his first father in law and protector Dominican president Rafael Trujillo, his fourth wife American heiress Barbara Hutton and his fifth wife French actress Odile Rodin.
Both his second and fourth wives, who were millionaires, donated him a stable of polo ponies – among others – as a wedding gift.
Polo was such a central passion in his life, that when in 1948 he was asked to pick any country in the world to be appointed ambassador of the Dominican Republic, he chose Argentina because it was universally considered the polo capital of the world. Subsequently, he was appointed ambassador to his country in Buenos Aires.
He met, made friends with, and often sponsored many of the best players of his time. He himself was told to be a player with a great fighting spirit, who always kept going with great determination.
Mainly Rubirosa took part in a polo tournament in France, precisely in Deauville, where with his team Cibao La Pampa he won the prestigious Gold Cup in 1951. With Cibao La Pampa he also won the Paris Open on three consecutive occasions – 1953, 1954, and 1955. Occasionally, he also participated in the Palm Beach seasons.
And then he spent the last evening of his life precisely celebrating Cibao La Pampa’s victory in the 1965 Coupe de France polo tournament.