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Jason Wates wins US Open Polo Championship

Updated: Jun 17, 2023

It took over two days with rain delays, but Park Place Polo finally got their long-awaited US Open Polo Championship Title. US Open Polo has been played since 1904 and this year in 2023 was the first time Park Place ever won the highly coveted Silver Cup. With star player Hilario Ulloa scoring goals galore, Park Place just edged Argentian side Valiente 12-11. Though Hilario may have got MVP for the tournament, it's his Jamaican-born and-raised teammate Jason Wates who took a lot of the headlines.

“It’s tough to stay focused that long, but it’s the end of the season and there’s nothing else we wanted. Yes, it’s a longer time to stay focused but at the same time it’s all we’ve been thinking about for months, so one day doesn’t change too much.” Wates commented on the rain delays to the US Polo Organization.

To say Jason Wates grew up in the world of polo is putting it mildly. Born into a polo-playing family, and raised in Bogwalk, Jamaica, Wates played polo and did Show Jumping at Kingston Polo Club before moving to the United States after High School.


2023 U.S. Open Polo Championship Winners: Park Place - Juan Britos, Andrey Borodin, Hilario Ulloa, Jason Wates
2023 U.S. Open Polo Championship Winners: Park Place - Juan Britos, Andrey Borodin, Hilario Ulloa, Jason Wates. Photo courtesy of USpolo.org.

After leaving high school in Jamaica, Jason pursued a job in Polo, grooming and riding for one of the top players in the sport, and eventually was able with the support of his family to start buying horses and playing Polo professionally. He also met his wife playing Polo, over ten years ago in Chicago. They have a 2 year old daughter and are expecting a boy in June of this year. The grind doesn't stop for Jason as he travels all over the United States each year to pursue his career. Polo requires players to follow the weather so most professionals spend the different seasons of the year in different locations.


Caribletix recently had the opportunity to ask Wates a few questions about his Polo journey.


What made you want to play polo over all of the other more popular sports in Jamaica?

My family has been in horses for many generations. My parents have trained and worked in horses all my life so my love and connection to horses was started at a very young age. Besides, I am much faster on a horse than my own two feet.


How was it having to make that sacrifice to move to the US to try be successful in Polo? Did you have any fear of failure?

I might need a Psychiatrist to answer this question. There were a lot of trials and tribulations moving to the States alone at a young age. I still have lots of fear and doubts as Polo is a tough sport but I am very grateful that it led me to my current successes. However, I have to continue to push to be better each day and hope more opportunities come my way.


What was the day-to-day grind like in order to get where you are today?

A lot of shoveling poop, long hours and early mornings. For me polo has been all about building good relationships and putting your best foot forward. It’s important to show up with a good attitude and even better horses. Always being prepared for every game.


It’s fair to say the sacrifice paid off. How does it feel being a US Open Polo Champion?

It’s a great feeling and something I can always look back on with pride. I hope I get another shot at the Open some day.


What’s next for Jason Wates?

For now I will continue the day to day Polo grind and get prepared to welcome baby number two with my wife.


Jason Wates, US Open Polo winning team
Jason Wates on a breakaway in the highly contested final.





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