Brandon Phillips, The Soul Rider
When professional polo player Brandon Phillips arrived in Wellington in 1995, 120th Avenue was just a dirt road where he and his fellow riders would exercise their horses. Today, Wellington is flourishing on the global equestrian stage—and Phillips has evolved along with it. The 5-goaler plays for Postage Stamp Farm, which earned wins at the 2017 Ylvisaker Cup and will head north to the Greenwich Polo Club this summer. With 12 horses in his string and more than 20 years of pro-play experience, Phillips still loves being around the ponies and thrives off the aggressive team-sport mentality, which stems from growing up playing hockey in Canada. Yet, he touts the success of Polo for a Purpose, the annual charity exhibition game benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, as his greatest achievement. Having overcome a stage-four non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis at 14, Phillips sees his involvement as a way to inspire a new generation of polo fans.
Best part about giving back: It’s great helping kids who are going through things that I’ve gone through and showing them there is light at the end of the tunnel. Even if it’s just for the day for that event or if they come to ride with me, it takes their mind off everything they’re dealing with.
Next goal: To raise $1 million with Polo for a Purpose next year and to keep doubling the amount each year.
Horses’ names: Bono Bon, Jasmine, Honey Badger, to name a few
Favorite movie: Slap Shot
Dream dinner guest: Michael Jordan
Tastiest dish: Strip steak at Oli’s Fashion Cuisine in Wellington
Polo lesson: You’re only as good as your last game.
Life motto: Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing—especially when the game is your life.
Pros of being based in South Florida: The weather and the accessibility. The International Polo Club is the second biggest facility in the world when it comes to the stadium.
Dream achievement: Win the U.S. Open