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Free event to commemorate Miami Beach's polo history

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For the past 10 years, polo played on horseback on the beach has come to symbolize the sport here, but the sport's history here dates back to the 1920s, when it was a fabled Miami Beach pastime.

Back in the 1920s, when Miami Beach was the hottest playground in the United States, polo was a very popular sport. Carl Fisher, one of the city's founders (who also gave the area its name) was a polo enthusiast. A millionaire, publicity hound and real estate magnate, Fisher created the city's first polo grounds at Flamingo Park in South Beach, and even played several matches.

According to a PBS special about Fisher, entitled "Mr. Miami Beach," the famous developer spent more than a million dollars on stables (also located at Flamingo Park), grooms and blacksmiths. And, to be sure he got it right, Fisher also imported an entire team, with ponies, from England. Later, he had the sport moved north to a park located at 4301 N. Michigan Street, which was dubbed "Polo Park." Matches were held at Polo Park and Fisher commissioned three statues designed by Ettore Pellagatta to be placed in the park.

On Thursday, April 24, the public is invited to a free event that will include the rededication of the park and the unveiling of the remaining statue, which has been restored. Light refreshments will be served. In addition, The Polo Life LLC, will present a free polo exhibition. The Polo Life is responsible for the rebirth of polo on Miami Beach, and also La Martina Miami Beach World Cup, the four-day polo tournament on the beach, which will commences that day.

Rededication of Polo Park, 5:30 p.m., April 24, 2014, Polo Park, 4301 N. Michigan Street. Free

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