The Criado surname, in Spanish, means ‘raised’. At 47-years-old, Lucas Criado has played for over two decades in the Argentne high goal and remains a prominent figure in the polo sphere worldwide. Working with USPA Pacific Coast Circuit Governor Danny Walker’s Farmers & Merchants Bank for seven years now, this year the pair decided on a very interesting strategy for the 12-goal season at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria, California. “We were looking at the handicap list, and we thought about playing with our sons,” Criado said. “Danny had played in Indios, Argentina, in January and February and had a lot of fun, and the handicaps worked perfectly, so we moved forward with building the team. It was a great chance to share a strong bond on the field.”

Lucitas, Criado’s 16-year-old son, is one of three triplets, along with Juana and Camila. “Even though we had played some practices and matches together, it’s the first time we have played a proper season together, and we’re having a great time! Winning is always a good plus.”

In the first two 12-goal tournaments of the season, Farmers & Merchants Bank did not manage to get to the final, however the third time proved to be the charm. Capturing three victories in a row in the Ramsey Asphalt Vic Graber Cup, they finally earned their place in the final. “We fixed a couple things and played our best thus far,” Criado said. “I don’t know if this is the first time a team made up of two father-son duos has won a tournament. I’m sure it has happened at some point, but I know it hasn’t happened since I’ve been coming to the United States, so it’s more enjoyable than usual.”

“Playing with Luquitas was a pleasure, it’s very difficult to win a tournament but he has proven that he’s ready and that he can dream about going far,” Criado continued. “I hope he can make it, meanwhile I’ll keep helping him to develop as a player.”

Danny and Matt Walker

Danny and Matt Walker ©David Lominska

Danny Walker is the CEO of Farmers & Merchants Bank and team owner of the business’s polo team. However, above everything else he is someone who experiences polo as a family sport. “Both my father Ken and my grandfather Gus played polo, so I’m a third-generation polo player. Horses have always been in my family throughout my life,” Walker revealed. “My grandfather played polo in the 1950s, so I was introduced to the equestrian lifestyle through the game. My son Matt inherited my passion for the sport, and I hope he passes it on to his children as well.”

FMB wins

Farmers & Merchants Bank hoist the Vic Graber 12-goal tournament trophy high. ©David Lominska

“It was a very amazing day!” Criado shared of his experience in the final. “Playing with my son was an unforgettable experience, and we managed to get a last-second victory too! Even though we were trailing, we managed to keep the pressure on and take the title.”SANTA BARBARA POLO CLUB 

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