The polo world is mourning the tragic sudden death of Jesus “Chuy” Baez. The well-liked polo player and groom at Grand Champions and Aspen Valley Polo Clubs was killed in an accident at the Aspen club earlier this week.
Baez, 60, born in Leon Guanajuato, Mexico, of hard-working parents Jose and Petra, was part of a large, loving family. Baez will be remembered for his infectious smile, gift for working with horses and humility that set him apart from others. He grew up around horses and started working with them when he was eight years old. He played polo for 25 years and groomed for two of the nation’s top polo clubs until his death.
Baez grew up with Hall-of-Famer and former 10-goaler Memo Gracida in Mexico City. He first met Gracida playing foot polo in Mexico. The two came to the United States in 1977 and worked together for two decades. Gracida said Baez will be remembered for his humble spirit, exceptional horsemanship skills, excellent teammates and most importantly “as a wonderful human who will not be forgotten.”
During his playing career, Baez reached seven goals working and playing with Gracida. Baez won several tournaments around the world including the Coronation Cup, Warwickshire Cup and British Open. Baez worked with polo’s top organization and patrons including Guy Wildenstein, Alex Ebeid, Anthony Embiricos and Marc Ganzi, whom he groomed for at both Grand Champions, Aspen Valley Polo Club.
“Our entire organization grieves for the loss of someone I called a dear and close friend,” said Marc Ganzi.
“Chuy was beloved by all in and outside of our organization, his infectious smile and easy going spirit always put you at ease and made you feel welcome. Our family feels grateful to have spent the last 13 years with Chuy in a professional capacity, as he helped us and the Audi organization achieve and accomplish many of our goals; goals that Chuy shared with me as well. Our success on the field could not have been possible without him – I will miss him dearly. He was a true lover of horses and always had a unique connection to them. Our hearts and prayers go out to the entire Baez family, especially his children; we feel for their loss, as Chuy was family to us as well.”
Baez is survived by his daughter Caroline and son Sebastian; father, Jose; brothers Juan, Pancho, Jose, Ramon, Raul and Oscar, who passed away recently; and sisters Aracell, Ana and Maria, now deceased.
“He was a fun-loving, great man with a beautiful soul who you could never catch without a smile on his face,” his family wrote on his Facebook page. “He worked his entire life and devoted his entire life to polo and his family and was just a short time away from retirement.”
A Facebook Page was created for Baez where people can post photos and memories of his life. An outpouring of dedications and photos have been posted since his death from the polo community including Memo Gracida and the entire La Herradura organization and Mexico Polo Federation President Guillermo Steta.
A GoFundMe page has been created for those who wish to help support his family. He was the sole provider for his family in Mexico and the U.S. The goal is to raise $30,000. The Ganzi organization will match the funds raised from now through September.