Mariano (‘Nano’) Gracida was born into one of the most legendary dynasties in the world of polo. His inherited talent, having been cultivated over generations by a long line of predecessors, is perhaps only matched by his passion for the sport.
Nano’s polo heritage dates back to the 1920’s, when his great-grandfather, Gabriel Gracida Sr, nurtured what would eventually become a family legacy and polo empire. Playing the game of polo, teaching the sport to others, and supplying the world with horses capable of competing at the highest levels of competition.
By the 1940s, the Gracida name had already become synonymous with polo across the world, and Nano himself is the youngest son of the late Carlos Gracida, one of the most celebrated players in the history of the game.
Despite a polo lineage akin to Royalty, this unassuming young man has his feet planted firmly on the ground, whenever not in the stirrups of his ponies. Like many polo players drawn to the sport- once the adrenaline, commotion and glamour of tournaments draws to an end, it is the hours of solitude associated with breaking in and training horses that he truly relishes.
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born in south Florida, West Palm Beach. My childhood, for as long as I can remember, was spent traveling with my father, going from one tournament to another. I am a fourth generation polo player. It’s in our family’s blood.
What are the other hats that you wear? Ambassadorial roles, any hidden talents?
I actually have a brand I’m working on alongside with my brother Carlos. We started with our own wine company called “Gracida”. I am also the brand ambassador for a brand called “Hawaii Polo Life”. Hidden talents? Probably eating, I’ll eat anything!
Three words to describe yourself…
Humble, selfless and…….bizarre.
“Do you Make New Year’s resolutions? If so what is yours this year? If not, why not?
I usually do but never stick to them. They are always literally made at the last minute. Maybe I’ll try being a vegetarian. Or perhaps I should commit to making the resolutions more realistic, and much earlier.”
Your typical day consists of…
Barn in the morning, lunch afterwards. Usually back to the barn early afternoon. After that I try to go to the gym. Did I mention the barn?
Do you Make New Year’s resolutions? If so what is yours this year? If not, why not?
I usually do but never stick to them. They are always literally made at the last minute. Maybe I’ll try being a vegetarian. Or perhaps I should commit to making the resolutions more realistic, and much earlier.
How do you keep a positive mind frame? How do you deal with Stress?
Usually I get stressed in between seasons. I think that being around nature getting away from everything is a good way for me. People can be overwhelming sometimes, so that’s when I take time out for myself.
About the people who surround you…What kind of people do you like around you?
Humble and positive people. I really dislike when people always see the down side of life. Keep the “Debbie Downers” and the “Negative Nancy’s” away.
Biggest life lesson you ever had to learn…
Nothing good in life comes easy is probably what I’ve learned, and also to enjoy every moment.
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”. Hunter S Thompson
Favourite place to play polo…
My favourite place I’ve play was Costa Careyes, Mexico. It is a great mix of natural beauty, art and architecture.
Long haul Flight necessities…
Definitely a big hoodie, Netflix, and snacks on snacks. You can never have too much food.
Last book you read…
“The subtle art of not giving a f$&k” I recommend it.
Have you been to Australia before? What is your favourite thing about it? What are you most looking forward to?
I’ve never been to Australia It’s next on my bucket list. Everybody I’ve met from there is extremely friendly. I want to check the wildlife out and also the beaches. I’m planning to play in the Australian Urban Polo circuit next year as part of a US team.
Favourite fashion brands…
I don’t have a particular brand I like I just wear whatever looks good on me. Barn life isn’t very fashionable.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about polo?
I believe polo biggest misconception is that it’s only for people with a lot of money but polo is anybody’s sport, whether you want to learn, or just watch. It’s almost everywhere in the world and usually it’s free to watch.
What is your exercise regime? Do you need to do more than just play polo?
Usually I work out three to five times a week off season, and maybe about three days during the season, as it’s hard to get more time off.
Tell us about Gracida Wines.
Right now Gracida wine is a new thing- we only started selling it this year. We source our wine from La Mancha Spain. It’s the largest wine region in the world. We just started with three different kinds. A grand reserve, Chardonnay and a sparkling Rosé. At twenty five I’m no wine expert yet, but I enjoy wine a lot more now and am learning a lot as I go, mostly from my brother, and others around me in the business.