A Veteran Of Top Tournaments, Juan Britos Has Found Success Around The World And Here In Wellington

A Veteran Of Top Tournaments, Juan Britos Has Found Success Around The World And Here In Wellington

By Mike May

Juan Britos Jr. is one of the great international stars on the international polo stage — at home in Argentina, in Europe, and here in Wellington during the winter season.

Listed as an 8-goaler here in the U.S. and a 9-goaler in Argentina, Britos is continually ranked among the top echelon of players in the world. Now in his late 20s, he is not your typical polo player because he did not grow up in a polo-playing family back in Argentina.

He took up the sport at age 13, which is fairly late for many top stars. However, Britos tried polo, liked polo, became good at polo and continues to excel in the sport of kings.

In recent years, Britos has emerged as one of the world’s top players, thanks, in part, to his tutelage from former Argentine 10-goaler Lolo Castagnola. To be one of the best in polo, it’s a great idea to learn from one of the best in polo.

As is the case with all top-flight athletes, they earn their top-billing by performing well on the big stage, which means competing for and winning titles in the premier events. In 2017, Britos won notable tournament victories in the Municipalidad de Pilar and Royal Windsor Cup. Those two wins catapulted him into polo’s global spotlight. He also reached the Cartier Queen’s Cup final in 2018 and 2019. In 2019, he won the Coronation Cup and reached the semifinals of the British Open.

In 2021, he won the C.V. Whitney Cup here in Wellington with Park Place, defeating tournament favorite Scone, led by polo legend Adolfo Cambiaso. Along with his Park Place teammates, Britos blazed through last year’s U.S. Open Polo Championship, making it to the final against Scone. In the season’s thrilling finale at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, Scone edged Park Place 14-13, denying Britos a U.S. Open victory to add to his list of accolades. He is expected to be back in action at IPC this season.

In 2019, Britos moved from a 7-goal to an 8-goal handicap. It didn’t take him much time to justify his improved rating.

In the 2019 edition of the Gauntlet of Polo, he scored 3.6 goals per game and averaged 2.5 assists per game, which was fourth among all players. Britos is comfortable playing a supporting role or a leading role while on the polo field. In 2019, he placed in the top 10 in throw-in wins.

Britos has gained the reputation for being cool, calm and collected on the polo field, especially when the pace of play gets fast and furious. His quick and accurate decision making has generated many scoring chances for his team, either from him passing the ball or running with the ball. Britos has an innate sense of where he needs to be at any given time for his team to win.

If you want to know the real Britos — who often goes by the nickname Juano — just ask a fellow player who has competed with him and those who have observed his behavior both on and off the field. Two of those eyewitnesses are Wellington native and Britos teammate Matt Coppola and veteran polo television host/presenter Karl Ude-Martinez.

“Juano is a great player and one of the favorite guys I’ve had the opportunity of playing with,” Coppola said. “He’s very dedicated and has an incredible work ethic. I really enjoyed being his teammate last year with Park Place. He’s strong, and you can see his presence on the field at all times. As a teammate, he’s very positive and will always have your back.”

Ude-Martinez has observed, written about, and commented on Britos’ polo career.

“Juano is a rapidly rising star,” Ude-Martinez said. “He has represented his country, Argentina, many times. His career, so far, has taken him all over the world and playing the main circuits — the United Kingdom, Spain, Argentina and the USA. He has flown up the ladder for his age more quickly than some of his fellow colleagues, and that is down to a huge amount of talent, but also to how professional he is.”

According to Ude-Martinez, Britos is in a unique category as a polo player.

“I find his style of riding quite unique for an Argentine polo player,” he said. “You can spot him easily from his form without knowing it’s him first. It’s actually very classical and English, if anything. The trademark lime green helmet and that gorgeous-chiseled action-man face makes him stand out from the crowd.”

Ude-Martinez is also impressed by Britos’ work ethic.

“He’s a workhorse out there,” he added. “He’s often the central cog in the larger wheel of the team. He’s an attacker. He’s a doer. He makes the plays and gets it done. Juan is such a physical player. I love the way he throws everything at each game. He is quick, and he manages to lean on his horse at impossible angles… And he can equally play as well in defense as he can in attack.”

Britos has all the necessary mental and physical attributes to be a world-class polo player.

“Juan is clever, focused and passionate,” Ude-Martinez said. “He knows what he wants, and he has been incredibly lucky with the chances he’s had, but he was born to be a polo player.”

Ude-Martinez said that one of Britos’ strongest qualities is that he makes himself accessible to fans, spectators and members of the media. This has helped make him a fan-favorite within the polo community.

“He takes time to make conversation, and he shows interest in everyone around him,” Ude-Martinez said. “He’s enjoying the huge opportunities his career is bringing him, but he always remains grounded. For me, Juano is one of the nicest people on the pitch, as well as off the pitch. I can’t wait to see what a great future he’s going to have.”

Polo fans and enthusiasts here in Wellington are fortunate to have front-row seats as Juan Britos Jr. continues his rise as a global star in the global sport of polo.

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The Sport Of Polo Runs Deep In Wellington’s Coppola Family

The Sport Of Polo Runs Deep In Wellington’s Coppola Family

By Y.A. Teitelbaum

Life revolves around the sport polo for Tony Coppola and his son, Matt Coppola.

Tony is widely recognized in polo circles as the “Voice of Polo” and owner of The Tackeria, a full-service equestrian supply store that has been serving Wellington for more than 45 years. His résumé is long and varied, having been a player, a club manager and an umpire before turning full time to the business side.

In addition to his full-time job running a very successful store, Tony is also deeply involved in numerous charitable groups focused around polo. He is in his first term as president of the United States Polo Association, while also serving as president of the Polo Training Foundation. He is a board member of the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame, and he co-founded the Polo Players Support Group in 2000 with Dave Offen and Tim Gannon, and remains on that board, too.

In 2006, Tony was awarded the Philip Iglehart Award for lifetime contributions to the sport by the U.S. Polo Museum. But it’s his announcing that has given him the highest profile.

Becoming an announcer early on was a conscious choice for Tony, who grew up on Long Island in New York, interested in polo and horses. His father passed away while Tony was serving in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. Upon returning home, he took over the family’s pool construction business but also resumed an interest in polo throughout the northeast. He sold the family business and started building his polo tack business, in addition to other jobs in the sport.

“I was being paid for being an umpire, but as I started growing my business, I figured being an announcer offended less people than being an umpire,” Tony said, smiling.

And a legend was born.

Almost every Sunday afternoon during winter polo season, the 75-year-old is behind the microphone calling the fast-paced action on the International Polo Club Palm Beach stadium field in Wellington. He has also been the announcer for 42 U.S. Opens, having seen the best of the best on the field for generations.

While his father is behind the mic, being one of the sport’s better players is his son’s goal.

Matt currently carries a 5-goal handicap (10 is the highest) and has had a taste of high-goal polo, the elite tier where many of the best players in the world compete.

He has primarily played high-goal polo at IPC for the last three seasons and previously was a substitute in four games in the 2011 U.S. Open.

“My goal in life, I want to win the U.S. Open,” said the 27-year-old, who came close twice — in 2021 when his team Park Place finished as the runner-up, and in 2019 when his team Las Monjitas was a finalist. “I’m working hard. I have a good staff behind me. It’s a team effort.”

A big part of that team are his parents, who although divorced, remain close. His mother, Jesse, works at The Tackeria, as does Matt, and she is always on the sidelines at his matches. But it was his father who taught him how to swing the mallet and ride.

“He helped me a lot in the beginning of my career to get me mounted with quality horses,” said Matt, who will have 26 horses for the 2022 winter season while playing in the 16-goal league with Tonkawa and the 12-goal tournaments with Meyer Ranch. “Now we buy horses together and have a breeding operation together.”

His mother has also been an integral part of the team. Early on, she used to ride the horses to help get them in game shape, but she has stepped back from that role. She also owns some of the green horses with Tony and Matt.

“We [Matt and I] are both so incredibly competitive,” Jesse said. “I think I always just tell him to play his game. No matter where he is in the world, I send him a text. It’s the same one every time. It’s simply, ‘Play well, be safe, I love you.’”

The Coppolas have a farm in Wellington and recently purchased a place in Aiken, South Carolina, with Matt naming it Sundele, after two of his top horses, Sundance and Adele.

“I’m putting a lot of work and investments into improving my horses,” said Matt, who was born and raised in Wellington. “I’ve really learned how to manage the horses, and I’m investing the right way.”

Tony said the best advice he gave to Matt was simple.

“The first is to keep yourself well-mounted. Second, establish good relationships with sponsors and other players,” Tony recalled. “He has gotten a reputation for being well-mounted, and he is becoming a good horseman and rider.”

Matt is also constantly thinking about his long-term future in the sport.

“Everybody wants to be 10 goals,” he said. “I’m working to be 8 goals and known for good horses. I want to be successful, to be known as a top American player. I’m putting in a lot of work and investments into improving my horses.”

Matt almost chose a different path, because there was a time when he didn’t want anything to do with the sport.

“I enjoyed it, and then I had a little bit of a fall when I was 10 or 11, and I quit for three years,” remembered Matt, who took up baseball and tennis instead. “I was deathly afraid of horses. I was playing bike polo one day and [legendary Hall of Famer] Memo [Gracida] was watching, and he told me I have to start riding again.”

So Gracida had Matt come to his farm, where he put the then teenager on a horse, but not just any horse.

“The horse was an unbroken horse, and he put me on with no saddle, no nothing, and it threw me three or four times in a little corral, and ever since then, I was never scared again,” Matt said. “I overcame the fear and started playing again.”

He has been recognized off the field and is sponsored by Ona gloves and is a global brand ambassador for U.S. Polo Assn., the official apparel brand for the United States Polo Association. He is also a graduating member of Team USPA, a program developed and managed by the national organization to improve young American polo players.

Seven-goaler Jeff Hall, one the few current elite U.S. players, believes Coppola can continue his rise up the ranks. “He is a talented player who just needs more time in the high-goal,” Hall said.

Whether it’s on the polo field or in the announcer’s booth, it’s home to Tony and Matt Coppola.

 

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Faces of Polo

Faces of Polo
It’s winter here in sunny South Florida — the time of year where world-famous athletes come from all corners of the globe to play polo here in Wellington. After a subdued season last year, where crowds were thin due to the pandemic, polo fans can expect a much more upbeat, celebratory season in 2022. All of the amazing action will be back on the field, with horse-and-rider pairs flying down the emerald-green canvas, all eyes on the goal posts. And along with the action, there’s a whole other set of entertainment to enjoy, whether it is people watching, high fashion, tailgating, the halftime divot stomp, extravagant Sunday brunches and much more. The International Polo Club Palm Beach attracts the best of the best, playing in its annual winter high-goal season, including the illustrious Gauntlet of Polo series. This all culminates with the U.S. Open Polo Championships, the coveted top prize in American polo. Once again, IPC is the place to be to see the action. As we do each year, Wellington The Magazine is highlighting just a small handful of the amazing athletes you will see flying down the polo field this season, eyes on the ball. Turn the page and enjoy Faces of Polo 2022.


Stewart Armstrong
Originally from San Antonio, Texas, and coming from a polo-playing family, Stewart Armstrong reached the status of a 7-goal handicap while competing in tournaments worldwide. Today, he continues to play while also serving as chairman of the United States Polo Association, a role he took over in 2019 and has used to continue his lifelong work to grow the sport in the United States. He received the Hugo Dalmar Trophy in 2019, awarded to the player who best exemplifies the sportsmanship characteristics of polo. Now rated as a 3-goaler, he played on the Aspen team during the 2021 Ylvisaker Cup at IPC in Wellington, joined Keko Magrini, Ignacio Arlbervide and Lucas James. When it came time for last year’s Gauntlet of Polo series, Armstrong played on the Aspen/Dutta Corp team with Timmy Dutta, Lucas Diaz Alberdi and Gringo Colombres.

Lucas Diaz Alberdi
Lucas Diaz Alberdi, one of the many Argentine players who winter in Wellington, is currently rated as a 6-goaler. He follows in the footsteps of his father, Alejandro “Piki” Diaz Alberdi. The younger Diaz Alberdi won the Joe Barry Memorial Cup and the Ylvisaker Cup with Dutta Corp in 2019. He won the Joe Barry Memorial Cup again with Palm Beach Equine in 2020. He began the 2021 season playing on Beverly Polo alongside Bill Ballhaus, Hilario Figueras and Tolito Ocampo. Working tirelessly in the middle of the game, Diaz Alberdi was a key figure for the offense, which made it to the final of the Joe Barry Memorial Cup and won the Ylvisaker Cup. Diaz Alberdi played in the 2021 Gauntlet of Polo series on Aspen/Dutta Corp with Timmy Dutta, Gringo Colombres and Stewart Armstrong. This past fall, he made it to the final of the East Coast Open in Connecticut with Palm Beach Equine.

Julian de Lusarreta
Argentine 7-goaler Julian “Negro” de Lusarreta has won major tournaments around the world. He started playing polo at six years old, taking part in many Argentine children’s tournaments. Aside from Argentina, he has played throughout Europe and here in the U.S. Local fans may remember him from 2016’s thrilling U.S. Open final when de Lusarreta and his Orchard Hill teammates stunned Dubai, powered by polo legend Adolfo Cambiaso, to take a 13-12 victory. He was back in action the next year, helping Coca-Cola win the Ylvisaker Cup and making it to the USPA Gold Cup final. For the past several years, he has played on the Coca-Cola team during the Gauntlet of Polo series. In 2021, he was on the field with Nico Pieres, Mackenzie Weisz and patron Gillian Johnston. The team claimed several impressive victories in 2021 but not the top titles.

Keko Magrini
Kristos “Keko” Magrini, a 3-goaler from Argentina, began 2021 playing in the opening tournaments at IPC with Santa Clara, made up of two father-son duos — Matias and Keko Magrini, along with Luis and Lucas Escobar. Santa Clara won the first event of the season, defeating Beverly Polo to win the Joe Barry Memorial Cup. Magrini managed to score back-to-back goals in the final minutes, completing the impressive performance in Santa Clara’s 10-7 victory, which won him the MVP award. Magrini switched to Aspen for the Ylvisaker Cup, scoring five goals to help his team defeat Palm Beach Equine early in the tournament. His impressive play won him the MVP award in that match as well. Magrini capped the 2021 season at IPC with Pilot, joined by patron Curtis Pilot and legendary 10-goalers Gonzalito and Facundo Pieres. The team made it all the way to the semifinals of the U.S. Open.

Peke Gonzalez
Mariano “Peke” Gonzalez Jr., 22, represents the latest generation in a polo-playing dynasty. The son of 6-goaler Mariano Gonzalez Sr., he currently also sports a 6-goal handicap and is rising quickly through the ranks. Gonzalez has a wealth of experience in some of the most competitive tournaments here and in Argentina, as well as representing Team USA in the 2018 Westchester Cup. Gonzalez won the 2017 Copa Provincia in Argentina, playing alongside his father in a tournament that had been won by his grandfather back in 1958. On the Iconica team during the Gauntlet of Polo series in 2019, he was a part of the Postage Stamp Farm team in 2020. Gonzalez played on the victorious Scone team in 2021 at IPC, claiming the U.S. Open title alongside the father-son duo of Adolfo and Poroto Cambiaso, along with David Paradice. Look for him to be back in action this season at IPC.

Diego Cavanagh
Argentine 9-goaler Diego Cavanagh is ranked as one of the top players in the sport today. Polo fans may remember him from his amazing 2017 season at the International Polo Club as part of the Valiente team. Along with Adolfo Cambiaso, Matias Torres Zavaleta and Bob Jornayvaz, Cavanagh captured the three top tournaments, winning the C.V. Whitney Cup, the USPA Gold Cup and the U.S. Open Polo Championship — including making the overtime goal that ended the season, giving Valiente a 13-12 victory in the U.S. Open final. Cavanagh has played on top teams at tournaments around the world. In 2020, he won the British Open with Next Generation and the Founders Cup with Scone. In 2021, he made it to the Tortugas Open final with La Dolfina and won the Harrison Cup with Green Gates. He played on the Coca-Cola team during the 2021 Gauntlet of Polo series here in Wellington.

Gringo Colombres
Argentine polo player Raul “Gringo” Colombres is hard to miss in his bright red helmet. Rated as an 8-goaler, Colombres returned to high-goal play at IPC in 2019. He wasted no time making his presence known, leading Dutta Corp to a string of early season victories, including the Herbie Pennell Cup, the Joe Barry Memorial Cup and the Ylvisaker Cup — and along the way capturing consecutive MVP awards for himself. Colombres returned in 2020 to play on the Palm Beach Equine team with Lucas Diaz Alberdi, Gonzalo Ferrari and Scott Swerdlin, again winning the Joe Barry Memorial Cup. In 2021, Colombres was back in action with Palm Beach Equine, making it to the Ylvisaker Cup final before falling to Beverly Polo. When it came time for last year’s Gauntlet of Polo series, Colombres played on the Aspen/Dutta Corp team with Timmy Dutta, Lucas Diaz Alberdi and Stewart Armstrong.

Robi Bilbao
Roberto “Robi” Bilbao, a 5-goaler from Argentina, has been a newcomer at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in recent years. He began 2021 on the Palm Beach Equine team with Gringo Colombres, Costi Caset and patron Dr. Scott Swerdlin. Bilbao was a key workhorse for the team, scoring when needed but focused on pressuring the opposing team on the ball. With Palm Beach Equine, Bilbao won the 2021 Bobby Barry Cup. The team made it all the way to the final of the Ylvisaker Cup before falling to Beverly Polo. This past fall, Bilbao played in the East Coast Open at the Greenwich Polo Club in Connecticut with Ellipse Polo, joined by Hilario Ulloa, Matt Coppola and Louis Devaleix. The team defeated Palm Beach Equine 11-9 in the final to take the tournament crown.

Tolito Ocampo
Jorge “Tolito” Fernandez Ocampo Jr. is a 6-goaler from Argentina. Ocampo began last season playing with Bill Ballhaus’s Beverly Polo team. Ocampo proved to be a standout player for Beverly Polo. After venturing into the arena at the Great Meadow Polo Club in Virginia, where he won Most Valuable Player in his first USPA arena tournament, Ocampo returned to outdoor play at the start of 2021 in Wellington in remarkable fashion, leading the team to victory in his first game out. The team made it to the final of the Joe Barry Memorial Cup before winning the coveted Ylvisaker Cup last season at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington. Hilario Figueras and Ocampo scored five goals each to lead Beverly Polo to the 15-11 victory over Palm Beach Equine in the Ylvisaker Cup final.

Costi Caset
A native of Argentina, Constancio “Costi” Caset grew up in California. Currently sporting a 5-goal handicap, he is the cousin of 10-goaler Guillermo “Sapo” Caset. Costi Caset can frequently be found playing in Wellington during the winter season, as well as in Argentina and Santa Barbara. A graduate of Team USPA, Caset entered the 2021 season after capturing the prestigious Provincia Cup in Argentina with La Cañada. Last year, he was on the Palm Beach Equine team with Robi Bilbao, Gringo Colombres and patron Scott Swerdlin. The team made it all the way to the Ylvisaker Cup final before falling to Beverly Polo. In 2020, he played on the Daily Racing Form team in the Gauntlet of Polo series. That team made it to the final of the UPSA Gold Cup before falling to La Indiana in a finale that was postponed a year due to the pandemic and was not concluded until February 2021.

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Honoring The Best In The Sport Of Kings Museum Of Polo And Hall Of Fame Announces 2022 Inductees To Be Honored On Feb

Honoring The Best In The Sport Of Kings Museum Of Polo And Hall Of Fame Announces 2022 Inductees To Be Honored On Feb. 18

The 2022 inductees for the Polo Hall of Fame, Iglehart Award and Horses to Remember were recently announced by the Museum of Polo. The 33rd year of inductions will honor Tommy Biddle Jr. and the late Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney with election to receive Hall of Fame honors. The Iglehart Award inductees for outstanding lifetime contributions to the sport are Danny Scheraga and the late Dr. Horace Laffaye. Horses to Remember honorees are Charles Smith’s great mare Cynthia Lola, and Jacobs, a notable pony of yesteryear.

The induction ceremony is scheduled to take place on Friday, Feb. 18, if conditions at that time allow for gatherings, and will honor not only the 2022 inductees, but also the 2021 honorees. The inductees selected for 2021 — Julio Arellano and John F. “Jack” Ivory for the Hall of Fame; Dr. Paul Wollenman and Bert B. Beveridge for the Iglehart Award; and horses Little Mary and Silverada — were initially recognized through the press, video segments and various types of social media.

Inductees are nominated by the public and selected annually by a committee of knowledgeable individuals from across the sport of polo, who voted to select this year’s winners from a group of worthy candidates.

Tommy Biddle — Born into a polo family, Biddle grew up in Aiken, S.C. At the age of 12, he played his first polo game and became a professional player at 18. At 6-foot-3, with the build of an imposing football player, his presence on the polo field looms large, literally and figuratively. Once called the “quickest big man” to ever play the sport, Biddle is a rare player who has been able to achieve almost equal greatness in both outdoor and arena polo. He became the fourth player in arena history to achieve a 10-goal handicap, while also reaching and maintaining an 8-goal outdoor rating. His list of accolades reflects the best of outdoor and the arena, both in the U.S. and internationally, and includes the 2002 U.S. Open, four Monty Waterbury Cups, four Townsend Cups and a U.S. Open arena championship. Adding to his accomplishments, Biddle has become a highly rated and well-respected umpire.

Cornelius Vanderbilt “Sonny” Whitney (1899-1992) — Whitney left a lasting mark not only in polo, but in most areas of life. Although thoroughly immersed in a business career and philanthropic ventures, he rose to a 6-goal handicap during his playing career that started around 1917 and lasted until the 1940s, a time that spanned the “golden era” of polo. Whitney was a formidable factor in all the major tournaments of those eras, winning the U.S. Open three times and the Monty Waterbury Cup once. Whitney carried on the polo legacy of his father, Hall of Famer Harry Payne Whitney. Even with his playing days at an end, Whitney was well-known for raising outstanding racehorses, having 15 horses compete in the Kentucky Derby. The C.V. Whitney Cup was established in his name in 1979, originally played as the handicap side of the U.S. Open Championship and is still played today as part of the USPA’s Gauntlet of Polo series in Wellington.

Danny Scheraga — A guiding figure for the youth of polo, Scheraga is recognized for having spent a good part of his career nurturing polo players and dedicated to improving the quality of the sport. Scheraga began playing at Cornell and went on to be named head coach there in 1975. He established important programs for intercollegiate women, getting them to the finals nine years in a row and winning championships three times. He then went to work for the USPA, focused on instructing clinics. Scheraga spent the next 30 years with the Polo Training Foundation, serving 25 years as its first executive director. He gave birth to a number of ideas that went into developing programs and improving polo infrastructure by creating clinics, running a polo center at Brushy Creek and pushing for more opportunities for intercollegiate players.

Dr. Horace Albert Laffaye (1935-2021) — Laffaye left an impact on the sport of polo that is hard to match. He grew up in Argentina, playing polo there for a number of years before stopping to become a surgeon. He became prominent and respected in this field, saving many lives with his surgical skills. A reawakening to the world of polo led Laffaye to pick up the mallet once again and play for another two decades at clubs throughout the northeast. When his playing days ended, he took his knowledge and passion for the sport and focused it on the avenue that made him such an important part of the sport as its most eminent polo historian. Dedicated and concise, he painstakingly researched, wrote and published what are generally considered to be the most important treatises on polo. In all, he authored and edited nine books and innumerable articles in both Spanish and English. Laffaye contributed his knowledge and talent to serve on the board of directors and nominating committee for the Museum of Polo.

Cynthia Lola — Foaled in 1960 in Missouri, the dark bay, Thoroughbred mare was sold to Cecil Smith five years later. Both Cecil and his son Charles Smith knew she was destined for an outstanding future. She hit her stride when Charles took the reins, playing with distinction in all the major American tournaments ranging from the 1968 Silver Cup to the 1975 U.S. Open, the year in which she earned the Best Playing Pony of the Silver Cup. Over the course of eight years of outstanding performance, she continued to rack up several more Best Playing Pony awards. “I put Lola in polo, and not everyone could play her. But Charles was a goal better on that mare than any other he ever had,” Cecil said. Cynthia Lola would end her legendary career in 1978.

Jacobs — Bred in Texas, Jacobs’ career spanned 10 years playing in all the top tournaments of his era, including the famed international matches of 1913 and 1914. A venerable pony who broke polo tradition in its time, Jacobs is one of the first bigger ponies that defined the approaching modern era of polo. Breaking the archaic height rule of 14 hands, 2 inches, Jacobs was a bay gelding who, standing at the unheard-of height of 15 hands, 3 inches, was big, yet incredibly speedy and powerful. Bringing fame and notoriety to the Texas cowpony, Jacobs was raised by J.C. Jacobs of San Antonio before being sold to Whitney, who made a habit of loaning his finest ponies to his friend Dev Milburn to play. It was noted that Milburn’s best runs were on this mount. Along with a few other top horses, Jacobs was gifted to Milburn as a wedding present in 1913, a fitting gesture to honor the extraordinary relationship of a man and horse.

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Polo Star Nic Roldan Back On Ipc Fields The Top American Polo Star Is At Home In Wellington As He Grows His Unique Brand

Polo Star Nic Roldan Back On Ipc Fields The Top American Polo Star Is At Home In Wellington As He Grows His Unique Brand

By Donna Washington

It has been 24 years since top American polo player Nic Roldan became the youngest person ever to win the U.S. Open Polo Championship when he did so at age 15 in 1998. More than two decades later, the star’s trajectory only continues to evolve and grow — and he’ll be back at the U.S. Open this season on the fields of the International Polo Club Palm Beach.

Wellington is known as the “Winter Equestrian Capital,” and in many ways, Roldan stands out as one of its truest ambassadors. He’s no transient visitor, but someone who calls Wellington home, since his early years attending New Horizons Elementary School, and later Cardinal Newman High School.

We recently caught up with him early one morning outside of Starbucks, a favorite morning haunt. It’s a great spot for people watching, Roldan explained. He loves his hometown, and despite being fortunate enough to have played all over the world, nothing makes Roldan happier than being back home in Wellington.

He’s often asked in interviews where his favorite place to go for dinner is. Perhaps writers expect him to rattle off a list of the latest, coolest restaurants, not the iconic Wellington eatery Park Avenue BBQ Grill. His repertoire of dining faves in Wellington also includes breakfast at Cilantro’s, Gabriel’s Café or First Watch; brunch at Oli’s; lunch at Field of Greens, Bolay or his parents’ favorite Lemongrass Asian Bistro; dinner at Sushi Moto, the Clubhouse at Palm Beach Polo or Kaluz. For a quick meal, a visit to PDQ hits the spot.

Roldan appeared on the cover of the March 2009 issue of Wellington The Magazine wearing a Pony Express team shirt. He explained how the now late Pony Express patron Bob Daniels was such a key person in his career, to his own family’s life and how today he actually has his horses in the same barn featured back then.

Roldan is palpably excited for the upcoming 2022 high-goal polo season in Wellington.

He’s a stalwart of Marc and Melissa Ganzi’s Grand Champions organization with its 2022 World Polo League season set to be bigger than ever. Additionally, after a three-year absence, Roldan will be back playing in the U.S. Open at IPC.

He is a man comfortable in his skin and at peace with dancing to his own beat. Rather than working with big fashionable organizations, he prefers to work with local charities that he is genuinely passionate about, particularly helping kids. Locally, he works with the Kids Cancer Foundation and the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club. Each year, he takes part in the Kids Cancer Foundation’s 5K run. In normal times, the foundation hosts monthly Parents Night Out evenings, and on occasion, Roldan has been known to visit in full black tie prior to going on to a glitzy social event, making sure to see the kids first. He’s also not scared of having little girls bedazzle his nails and still have it on two days later!

Roldan is fervently passionate about his sport. True to his millennial status, he has his finger on the pulse, wanting to promote the equestrian lifestyle. Not only to more brands, but to a wider audience. Roldan feels it’s key for all disciplines to work together for the collective greater good of equestrianism and the horses in it. Wellington is the perfect spot to make this a reality. “Horses clearly are the common factor here,” he explained. “Although in polo, we deal in much larger numbers of horses, but that does not mean they are looked after any less.”

In Roldan’s case, his horses are part of the family. Not being in the business of selling horses, he will have them as his companions for many years. “The bond between horses and humans is something very special, and it’s great to be able to share that with more people,” he said.

His philosophy of going local shines through in other aspects of his ever-growing brand. He has formed allegiances with a number of local brands, such as Provident Jewelry. He has long been friends with Geoff Fear, owner of the Wellington boutique, and since the start of 2020, Roldan has had a formal partnership with them. Fear is an enthusiastic polo fan, and Roldan may be partial to a dapper timepiece or two. Add to that the fact that polo has a long heritage with watch brands, and it’s a no brainer.

Roldan also explained how fitness is such a vital part of his sport, and that he and his peers spend at least three mornings a week doing extreme workouts. As a man on a mission, he been made an ambassador for Technogym, gym equipment supplier to the latest Olympic games, which is developing an equestrian-specific curriculum. It makes total sense. If you can tone your muscles correctly, you can give better, more controlled signals to your horse, and thus perform better. Maintaining that intensity and longevity is a key for Roldan. He was also keen to add cryotherapy to his repertoire, and he is now working with Revive Wellington to spread the word. Roldan also works with Therabody, the leading percussive therapy device creator, and another key component to his daily routine.

Regarding other business ventures, Roldan enthuses about having formed R Polo Holdings a year ago. His company not only covers everything pertinent to his brand and polo, but a large section is real estate related. Not only has Roldan flipped six properties, but he has also built a high-end horse barn and is now endeavoring on his second elevated spec house, all right here in Wellington.

Each morning, Roldan scours the real estate listings and has an inbuilt radar, identifying each local property for sale and assessing its potential. The properties he has flipped were gutted and then transformed. With the spec house, his involvement is hands on and very visual, from the shape of the roof to the shade of the wooden floor, right through to the plates on the table. Roldan has a touch in all, and nothing has been left to chance.

In 2020, Roldan co-founded High Goal Luxury Gin, which is setting a new, ultra-premium standard for the market. High Goal is American gin reimagined, and Roldan sees it as a gin for everyone, including people who usually don’t drink gin. It’s based on Meyer lemon and mint, making it very smooth.

In October 2021, he launched “Roldan Lifestyle” with his first mini clothing collection. It blends timeless traditions with the modern age in the form of gorgeously soft hoodies and crew sweaters, t-shirts and kids clothing bearing iconic imagery. Again, Roldan’s details are evident throughout, from the design to the quality of the product.

Roldan encompasses all that’s best of Wellington and embraces Wellington at every opportunity he gets — clearly spreading a little Roldan magic wherever he goes and whoever he meets.

Visit www.nicroldan.com to learn more about Nic Roldan and his many ventures.

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Top Polo Games Now Available On Espn Networks Global Polo Entertainment Signs Historic Deal With National Broadcaster To Carry Gauntlet Of Polo

Top Polo Games Now Available On ESPN Networks
Global Polo Entertainment Signs Historic Deal With National Broadcaster To Carry Gauntlet Of Polo

Every January, the sport of polo returns to Wellington. While the traffic gets busier, the opportunities to enjoy a memorable Sunday polo game increase, too. It is said that the best seat in polo is in the saddle, but now there is a close second. For the first time in the history of the sport, ESPN will carry all of the top Gauntlet of Polo games on ESPN 2 and ESPN 3.

This landmark partnership between Global Polo Entertainment, a subsidiary of USPA Global Licensing, the official licensor for the global multi-billion-dollar apparel brand U.S. Polo Assn., offers fans the opportunity to view polo on mainstream platforms.

The partnership includes broadcasting all three of the coveted United States Polo Association tournaments live on ESPN 3, the top-rated U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship and the National Intercollegiate Championships all accessible through a Disney+ subscription or the ESPN app, and the finals of the most prestigious polo tournament in the United States, the U.S. Open Polo Championship, on ESPN 2. Check your local listings for times.

“The goal of this symbiotic and historic deal with ESPN is to reach more sports fans in the U.S. and attract new audiences by delivering more polo sport and lifestyle content in new ways,” said J. Michael Prince, president and CEO of USPA Global Licensing. “We look forward to broadening access to the amazing sport of polo with some of the most exciting polo tournaments in the world now being broadcast by ESPN, the nation’s leader in sports content.”

The ESPN partnership allows Global Polo Entertainment to also deliver more polo, more often. Through its digital television network, Global Polo TV, the company will also script and produce made-for-television shows that will also air on-demand on ESPN and www.globalpolo.com. Each monthly show is created around the destination polo is traveling to and offers the viewers the ability to truly learn more about players, the horses and the unique stories in the game.

The full schedule of official USPA tournaments will be released through Global Polo TV and will include the top tournaments, women’s polo, college polo and international polo.

The governing body for the sport of polo is headquartered in Wellington and serves as the home for polo in the United States.

With more than 130 years of history, the association provides the rules and handicaps for the game. It has more than 5,000 playing and social members, many of whom call Wellington home. Playing members compete on a circuit around the world, and the Wellington season serves as the kickoff to the year.

In true fashion, Palm Beach County always has the best weather and the best activities for the families and players, and Global Polo Entertainment officials are excited to kick off the 2022 season on Sunday, Jan. 2 at the International Polo Club Palm Beach. The community is invited to join them in person, or watch on ESPN.

Check out Global Polo TV at www.globalpolo.com to learn more. Visit www.uspoloassnglobal.com to take home a piece of the sport.

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Enjoy Polo At Its Best With Fieldside Dining The International Polo Club’s Sunday Brunch Brings Some Elegance To The Weekend

Enjoy Polo At Its Best With Fieldside Dining The International Polo Club’s Sunday Brunch Brings Some Elegance To The Weekend

One of the International Polo Club Palm Beach’s most popular traditions is returning to Wellington this season, offering polo enthusiasts a chance to liven up the end of their weekends. Say goodbye to boring Sundays, because Sunday brunch at IPC will be the most exciting part of your week, setting the tone for the next seven days.

Every week of the 2022 high-goal polo season in Wellington, which begins Jan. 2 and runs through April 24, guests have a chance to get close to the polo action with champagne in hand and a delicious brunch spread to enjoy.

IPC’s flagship events are the Sunday feature polo matches, which showcase some of the best players and polo ponies in the world as they vie for the top prize in seven separate tournaments.

The season opens with the Iglehart Cup, Joe Barry Memorial Cup and Ylvisaker Cup in January, and then continues with the coveted Gauntlet of Polo series in February, March and April, which includes the C.V. Whitney Cup, the USPA Gold Cup and U.S. Open Polo Championship.

Every Sunday at 2 p.m., the doors open to the Veuve Clicquot Pavilion for eager brunch-goers, and the match starts at 3 p.m.

The best part? No horse sense or polo know-how is necessary. The thrill of the game, paired with the elegance of the outfits and the wonderful hospitality offerings, combine for a uniquely memorable experience for everyone, regardless of their knowledge of the “sport of kings.”

“We are proud to showcase some of the best hospitality that Palm Beach County has to offer at IPC. Our chefs and caterers are second to none, and I would encourage everyone to spend a Sunday afternoon with us to try the food, drink champagne and enjoy the incredible sport,” said Paul Regal, vice president of operations and catering services at IPC.

On the east side of the field, the Veuve Clicquot Pavilion can fit up to 300 people on the covered patio, a perfectly comfortable setting for a respite from the sun, while staying close to the equestrian action — sometimes just feet away. The chefs create beautifully crafted food stations that range from shrimp and steak to fruit and desserts, so your plate will surely be full. And as with any great brunch, don’t hesitate to get seconds and thirds!

At halftime, brunch guests are invited to participate in the divot stomp, where fans walk onto the field and flip the grass divots back into place that have been kicked up from the horse’s hooves. Take advantage of the champagne truck, which drives the length of the field during the divot stomp to pour free champagne.

Tables for brunch can accommodate two to eight people, with upgrade options available for bottles of champagne, VIP seating or to ensure a front row seat in order to have an unobstructed view of the amazing polo action. Ticket sales close the Friday before each Sunday match, so don’t wait until the last minute.

The International Polo Club Palm Beach is located at 3667 120th Avenue South in Wellington. To purchase tickets, or for more information, visit www.internationalpoloclub.com.

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Equestrian Dream Home Stunning Palm Beach Point Estate With Equestrian Amenities Was Recently Renovated By One Of The Top Design Firms in The Nation

Equestrian Dream Home Stunning Palm Beach Point Estate With Equestrian Amenities Was Recently Renovated By One Of The Top Design Firms in The Nation

This stunning property in the exclusive Palm Beach Point neighborhood sits on seven-plus acres located an easy hack to the showgrounds. Separate entrances to the home and barn provide privacy and ease. An equestrian-themed gate opens up to a grand, tree-lined driveway with a fountain. The home itself has four bedrooms and 5.5 baths. It was recently renovated by one of the top design firms in the country. The living room looks out over the inviting pool and entertainment area, that includes a gazebo, covered sitting area with a fireplace, outdoor kitchen, large hot tub and a pool with a sitting bar area. The formal dining room shines with a spectacular Venetian chandelier. The open, well-appointed kitchen includes stainless steel appliances, a Thermador 6-burner gas range, double ovens and a large working island. With two pantries and an additional butler’s pantry, there is plenty of room for entertaining. The kitchen looks out over a family room with cathedral ceilings, a fireplace and a double-sided aquarium. The stunning master suite also boasts a fireplace, as well as a private patio overlooking the riding ring and barn. The marble master bath has an oversized shower and a Jacuzzi tub with separate vanities and a large closet. Also featured is a second-floor loft with an expansive patio that overlooks the gorgeous property. The eight-stall barn area includes a studio apartment with a full bath, a laundry room with an additional half bath, feed room and two air-conditioned tack rooms that look out over the 185-foot-by-150-foot riding arena and four paddocks.

Front Elevation: As you enter the seven-acre property, there is an
equestrian-themed gate that opens up to a grand driveway lined
by royal palm trees and a fountain that adds a unique wow factor.

Living Room: The living room looks out over the inviting pool and entertainment area, which includes a gazebo and covered sitting area with a fireplace. Dining Room: The formal dining room shines with a spectacular Venetian chandelier purchased specifically for this home in Murano, Italy. Kitchen: The open well-appointed kitchen includes stainless steel appliances, a Thermador 6-burner gas range, warming drawer, double ovens and a large working island. Master Suite: The stunning master suite also boasts a fireplace, as well as a private patio that overlooks the riding ring and barn.

Office/Bedroom: The office/bedroom has its own private bathroom. Second floor loft: A second floor loft has a pool table, game table and an additional seating area. Barn: The current eight-stall barn can be easily enlarged with plenty of space to add more stalls or an additional barn. Pool Deck: The pool and entertainment area includes a sitting area with a fireplace, outdoor kitchen, large hot tub and a pool with a sitting bar area.

Palm Beach Point Property presented by
the Wellington Equestrian Realty team

Meet Chris Desino, Craig Martin & Rob Desino

Chris Desino, Craig Martin
and Rob Desino
Real Estate Agents
13501 South Shore Blvd.,
Wellington, FL 33414
(561) 818-4299

As Wellington horse farm owners and equestrian competitors, Chris Desino, Craig Martin and Rob Desino of the Wellington Equestrian Realty team know the Wellington horse farm market intimately. They don’t want their clients to buy just any farm; they want clients to buy the right farm for their unique lifestyle, business and investment.

The Wellington Equestrian Realty team believes it is their responsibility to educate clients on every aspect of investing in a Wellington horse farm and will direct them toward an area with the most potential to increase in value. The team comes with an uncompromising commitment to ensure that clients are properly advised every step of the way.

The team shows clients every Wellington farm listing that suits their unique needs, whether it’s an in-house listing or from another agent. They leave no stone unturned and realize that buying through Wellington Equestrian Realty is a major investment that they do not take lightly. Call (561) 818-4299 to learn more.

Learn more about the Wellington Equestrian Team at www.wellingtonequestrianrealty.cm

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35 Years Of Middle School Excellence Lindsay Ingersoll Is Proud To Be Serving As The New Principal At Wellington Landings Middle School

35 Years Of Middle School Excellence Lindsay Ingersoll Is Proud To Be Serving As The New Principal At Wellington Landings Middle School

Story by Deborah Welky | Photos by Denise Fleischman

Wellington Landings Middle School opened in 1987 as the second public school and first middle school serving the fledgling community of Wellington. Since then, it has become a thriving academic home to generations of Wellington youth and has consistently ranked among the county’s top middle schools.

The school is currently led by Lindsay Ingersoll, who took over the role of principal not quite one year ago. Before that, she served as an assistant principal at Wellington Landings since 2012.

Ingersoll recalls having a difficult time in middle school, and that’s what led her to becoming a middle school principal.

“Elementary school was fine and dandy, and by high school, I’d found myself a little bit, but middle school was a tough time for me, as it is for many kids,” Ingersoll said. “There are so many changes in a child who comes in as an 11-year-old and leaves as a 14-year-old. They need extra love and support to get through that stage of life. When my career choices led me to education, I found myself wanting to impact as many middle school students as possible.”

Today, the students at Wellington Landings are the beneficiaries of Ingersoll’s love and support.

“When I was a kid, I wanted to become a psychologist, and I pursued that degree,” Ingersoll said. “I’m really thankful I did that because it helps me every day in my current role as principal. In the beginning, I knew I wanted to work with kids, but I was not sure where I wanted to go. A special education teaching opportunity arose at Lantana Middle School and, even though it was not my original plan, that’s where I ended up.”

Helping this unique population of students had a deep impact on her.

“As I learned more and saw that I had leadership qualities in me that were growing and becoming more expansive, I became the special education coordinator,” Ingersoll recalled. “During that period of time, I went to school to get my master’s degree, and shortly thereafter, I was offered the position of assistant principal at Wellington Landings.”

Although her entire teaching career has been in Florida, Ingersoll’s youth was spent in California.

“I grew up in Calabasas — a suburb of Los Angeles — in what resembled an old west kind of town,” she said. “It had a small-town feel, nothing like it is today. Today, it is a very different place, but it’s still fun to go back there.”

Ingersoll got her bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University-Northridge before making the move to Florida, where she later earned her master’s degree in educational leadership from Florida Atlantic University.

“I was brought up in a house that, luckily, valued education,” she said. “My mother was a former elementary school teacher, so when I began looking at entering the field of teaching, she was excited and supportive.”

There were other key mentors along the way.

“In my career, the person who has mentored me the most is the former principal here, Blake Bennett. We were actually teachers together, so we have known each other going on 20 years,” Ingersoll said. “Blake had faith in those leadership skills I had, and when I was able to come here to work underneath her, she always challenged me to go out of my comfort zone, to garner those skills to become a better leader.”

When Bennett was named the new principal at the A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Ingersoll took over the top job at Wellington Landings in March 2021.

The past two years have been challenging times for educators, trying to balance safety with the academic needs of students.

“The challenges I come across every day are just molehills to be navigated and climbed over, but I always give challenges to myself as well,” Ingersoll said. “Like making sure I’m always a step ahead, looking outside the box, being ahead of the game, being creative and innovative in order to support our students and our staff. For the last two years, almost all of that was technology-related, but now we are trying to find a balance — a combination of what we learned during distance-learning and how we want to teach now that all our students are back on campus.”

And Ingersoll is glad the students are back — all 1,300 of them. A great many of them spent all of the last school year working remotely.

“There’s nothing to compare to having the students here in school,” she said. “Some students have the ability to be successful online, but they have to be intrinsically motivated. I’m so happy to have all our students back here.”

Wellington Landings is home to several choice academies, such as its fine arts and pre-information technology programs. It has consistently been ranked as the highest-performing non-magnet middle school in Palm Beach County for years.

“We’re very proud of that,” Ingersoll said. “Our kids continue to perform at a very high level. We’re also a Florida Five-Star School, which means that the Florida Department of Education recognizes that we continue to show evidence of exemplary community involvement. I think it’s important that I’m part of the community. Wellington is a really unique community, particularly in the support it gives our schools. The Keely Spinelli grants, for instance, help us support students who are struggling. We are able to purchase supplemental instructional tools to help those students.”

Also offering sometimes unexpected insights are Ingersoll’s own children — ages 6, 13 and 17 — who have attended Wellington schools. “It gives me a little extra insight on everything,” she laughed.

Looking back on her own middle school years, Ingersoll doesn’t think the children have changed, but some of their needs have, and the school must be sensitive to that.

“As a school, we have several problem-solving teams. We meet regularly to adjust, based on student needs. Sometimes, things in the world change. We need to make changes at that point in time,” she said. “We do that a lot through our positive behavior support (PBS) — a whole school approach to setting expectations, encouraging positivity and focusing on using those expectations to help students reach their highest potential.”

Yet the thing Ingersoll is the proudest of is the level of collaboration at Wellington Landings.

“The students, teachers, non-instructional staff, custodians, PTO and SAC all help us be successful,” she said. “We’re always collaborating together. Everybody puts their heart and their soul into making our campus what I consider to be the best place. I would like to see us continue on our tradition of excellence, making sure that we’re always creating innovative opportunities for our students. We don’t ever want to be stagnant. I am so happy to be staying here for a while. I feel like I am where I belong, and I want to put all of my focus on making sure that Wellington Landings continues to be the wonderful school that it is.”

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Latest Treatments For Cataracts And Eye Disease Ophthalmologist Dr. Steven Naids Has Joined The Florida Eye Microsurgical Institute Team

Latest Treatments For Cataracts And Eye Disease Ophthalmologist Dr. Steven Naids Has Joined The Florida Eye Microsurgical Institute Team

Story by Deborah Welky | Photos by Abner Pedraza

Dr. Steven M. Naids, a highly skilled ophthalmologist with sub-specialty training in cataract surgery and eye disease, has joined the team at the Florida Eye Microsurgical Institute, which has offices in Wellington, Boynton Beach and Boca Raton.

Inspired by his father, Dr. Richard Naids, an ophthalmologist still practicing in New Jersey, Naids was drawn into the medical field. “Growing up, I saw how he would interact with his patients and the joy he brought to their lives, and I found myself wanting to do the same thing. He is my biggest influence,” Naids said.

A diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology, Naids received his medical degree from the Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha national honor medical society.

He completed his residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and trained at the renowned Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, where his research interest included visual outcomes after cataract and corneal transplantation surgery.

Upon relocating to Beverly Hills, California, Naids was named an “LA Top Doctor” and national “Super Doctor.” He is an active member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, where he has received awards for outstanding research.

Yet the pull of South Florida was strong, as much of Naids’ family had already made the move.

“My family has been in Florida for the past decade,” he said. “I finished my training, went to LA and practiced alongside the top ophthalmologists in world. But with two young kids — and the pandemic — my wife and I realized it was so important to be with our family. So, I brought my family here, and I brought what I’ve learned over the last 10 years of training.”

While continuing to focus on comprehensive care of the entire eye, Naids practices the newest modalities of cataract and refractive surgery, as well as corneal transplantation.

“Cataract surgery has evolved tremendously over the last decade,” he said. “There are a number of amazing technologies to make surgery easier for patients, as well as to provide outcomes that we weren’t capable of obtaining even five years ago.”

Using a laser at the time of surgery is one such evolution, allowing patients with astigmatism to obtain some correction during the cataract surgery itself. Improved lenses for implantation is another scientific advance.

“When you have cataract surgery, we remove the natural part of the eye that has become cloudy and put in a lens that focuses light,” Naids explained. “But lenses have evolved to the point where we can provide an extended range of vision and tailor a patient’s vision to their needs. Assuming that the rest of your eye is healthy, with no glaucoma or macular degeneration, you should come out of cataract surgery with the best possible vision you’ve ever had. In the old days, we’d put in a lens, but you would probably still have to wear glasses every day. Today, cataract surgery has evolved into a refractive procedure, like Lasik. Many patients will enjoy a fuller range of vision after the surgery and may only have to wear reading glasses.”

In the case of a corneal transplant, the organ must be replaced with donor tissue.

“The cornea is the clear, front covering of the eye that protects the eye from the outside world,” Naids said. “But it is also one of the most important organs of the eye in terms of getting light to where it needs to go. A patient may have a disease of the cornea, or an infection, or have experienced trauma to the cornea that has left it swollen, scarred or irregular. In order to get them better vision, we have to replace tissue in full or in part.”

However, doctors have found that only one layer — the innermost — may have to be replaced. “The cornea was the first organ ever transplanted, and the art has definitely evolved over time,” Naids said. “Within the last 15 years, we’ve been able to do these selective layer corneal transplants, and patient recovery is much faster.”

Naids urged patients with frequent dry eye to seek help from an ophthalmologist. It is often much more than an irritating nuisance.

“Dry eye is a multi-factorial disease that results from either diminished tear production or problems with the oil glands in the eyelids. In virtually everybody, it’s a combination of both,” said Naids, who has a specialized interest in the management of dry eye disease. “Millions of people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with it, and we are probably underdiagnosing. We’ve seen it in people from teens on up. One of the biggest problems with it is that it affects both the patient’s eyesight and quality of life. One could blame it on body and hormonal changes, or on working with computers at home, but, again, in order for you to have your best quality of sight, your eyes can’t be dry. Your vision is affected, and it’s not just uncomfortable. As the day goes on, your vision becomes less clear, and you find yourself blinking to get a good quality image.”

Dry eye syndrome is something Naids takes into consideration when a patient comes in to discuss cataract surgery.

“The cornea is responsible for focusing light,” he noted. “If your cornea is dry, we won’t be able to accurately hit our targets as far as cataract surgery. We’ve got to get the dry eye under control first, even if it means delaying surgery for a few months. We suggest intense treatment in the beginning, and then decide on the best maintenance for each patient… There are a few excellent prescription eye drops out there that increase tear production, as well as some other anti-inflammatory medications. We treat oil glands with thermal pulsation — like a massage treatment for the eyelids — wait a few months, then proceed with the cataract surgery after we make sure the patient feels better. But dry eye is a chronic issue. If you let up, it will come back.”

When he’s not working, Naids enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children, playing golf and tennis, and watching his hometown Philadelphia sports teams.

The Florida Eye Microsurgical Institute is located at 2575 S. State Road 7 in Wellington. For more information, call (561) 792-1205 or visit www.fleyedocs.com.

 

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