“This event is very special because there’s a history of polo being played in this particular place,” explained renowned Argentinian polo player Nacho Figueras, host of Saturday’s sixth annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic at Will Rogers State Historic Park. “Will Rogers played polo here in the ‘20s with Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable and Walt Disney — they were all buddies. So I really believe that their spirits are around here, riding horses.”
They wouldn’t have been the only sacred company Figueras had on the field. “My wife is playing this year for the first time,” he said of his svelte spouse — who later led their team, Black Watch, to a 9-5 victory against team Veuve Clicquot, and was awarded MVP of the game. “We’re having one girl on each side play, which is a first for Veuve Clicquot.”
Speaking of firsts, several dapperly-dressed celebrity guests found their way to the chic tournament for their inaugural time. “I’m a big fan of horses — I think they’re beautiful creatures — and I’ve never been to a match so I wanted to experience it,” said “The Vampire Diaries” star Nina Dobrev, who dazzled in bright electric blue and had a blast snapping photos and stomping divots.
“I’ve never seen a polo match in my life,” echoed James Marsden, who wanted to keep his outfit dressy but comfortable for the weather, and is in the midst of filming HBO’s “science fiction Western” series “Westworld.” “We’ve never seen anything like it before,” Marsden alluded with excitement. “It’s cool to just be sharing the screen with Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris. It’s ambitious but it’s going to be something special.“
First-timer January Jones went the polka dot route, taking her dressing cues from Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman.” “The one time I was going to go [to polo] in New York, I brought my other sister, and we both got food poisoning. So I’ve been trying to come for a while,” said the “Mad Men” actress, who brought her son Xander, and is currently shooting Episode 8 of “The Last Man on Earth,” which she’s highly enjoying. “It’s just fun to go to work and laugh all day and improv, and it’s just a creative environment, and people I admire, and it’s just so dumb! It’s smart-dumb, but it’s so silly,” she said.
Selma Blair also attended with her son (Arthur) — though she’s no novice at this. “I come every year,” Blair said. “I’m a horseback rider, I’m not a polo player, but I do hunter-jumper, so to be around the horses and have my family and to support Will Rogers, watch people drink champagne and have a lovely day, it’s great.” Blair will next be seen opposite Adrian Grenier in “Sex, Death and Bowling,” out Oct. 30. (“I play a mother for the first time — it’s kind of a sad, heartwarming story.”) She’s also starring in upcoming “American Crime Story,” a crime anthology series on history’s most famous criminals, and “Geezer,” about an aging punk rocker. “I’m a big Billie Joe Armstrong fan, so to get to play his wife was pretty great,” she said.
Oliver Hudson, brother of Kate Hudson (“she’s got light and beauty and spirit that you get to see,” he raved to reporters about his newly-single sis), also has a long history with the sport. “I grew up riding horses — we have a ranch in Colorado. I have eight horses, and right at the end of our property are polo fields, and people from all over the world come and play,” he said.
Ashley Madekwe threw out the ceremonial first ball a few years back — an honor given this year to Victoria Justice. “There’s something very old worldly and proper about watching the polo and drinking champagne in the middle of the afternoon in this beautiful park,” said the “Salem” star, who returns to work in January to resolve her witch character Tituba’s eye issues. “She’s lost her eyes. She’s going to be blind or grow some new ones,” ventured the polo vet.
Scott Foley — who hung with his “Scandal” castmates Bellamy Young and Darby Stanchfield — returned for the second time with his wife Marika Dominczyk, leaving their three kids at home. “We had the baby about three weeks after this event last year,” he recalled. “I had a lot fun, but she was pretty uncomfortable, so she was like, ‘I want to go back, and I want to do it the right way!’ So we’re back, and I drove. She’s going to be hammered,” he joked.
Foley also had plenty to say about the current storyline on his hit show — which he loves for its frenetic energy and possible veracity. (“I have a feeling that a lot of the characters are modeled after real people,” he guessed.) Does he think Jake and Olivia are truly over? “I hope not! It seems like it’s over right now; I don’t know what I’d do if it were over forever!” he said. “You never know, the show has done such a great job of playing out that love triangle, and it seems like she’s with Fitz now, and they seem happy, and I’m excited to see what happens with them,” he said.
And he’s just as invested in Olivia’s romantic fate as the fans. “My favorite scene is when she said the other day, ‘sit on the couch and watch me choose you,’ when they were in the Oval Office, and they played that amazing Aretha Franklin song over that. It just gave me goosebumps,” he admitted. “I love watching them together and seeing how it goes, and if Jake’s not a part of that now, I have a feeling that he’s going to be a part of it at some point,” he predicted.
What will happen with his character’s long-lost wife who just appeared? “If she pulls through [being shot], there’s something interesting happening with Jake and his wife, how strange!” Foley said. “I didn’t know [about her], I had no idea! And I found out that ‘Jake’s’ not his real name, which is sort of interesting! So I think there’s more to come on that front,” he alluded.
Foley was equally excited to stomp the divots and watch the polo game — which he did alongside stylish guests like Brittany Snow; Camilla Belle; Michelle Trachtenberg; Lauren Conrad; Cheyenne Jackson, who belted the National Anthem; Rachel Zoe, who hung closely beside her husband and kids Skyler and Kaius; and Gwyneth Paltrow, who sat quietly off to the side and snapped photos with her son Moses. Meanwhile, rose and regular Veuve champagne were flowing, a buffet offered poke, salads and charcuterie, and Figueras — deemed “the Brad Pitt of polo” by the day’s announcer — triumphantly led the charge.