Polo Owner Wept as Horses Died in His Arms

Tests not likely to reveal cause of deaths for weeks
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2009 6:09 AM CDT

(Newser) – Devastated polo team owner Victor Vargas cradled the heads of his fallen horses and sobbed as they died in his arms, colleagues said yesterday. The wealthy Venezuelan banker—whose business has thrived despite Hugo Chavez's socialist regime—rushed from animal to animal as 21 suddenly collapsed and died shortly before a Palm Beach polo tournament Sunday. It could be weeks before tests reveal the cause of their baffling deaths, according to the Palm Beach Post.

The tragedy has stunned Florida's close-knit polo community. "In polo's history there's never been an incident like this that anybody can remember," said the president of the polo club that hosted the US Open tournament. "This was a tragic issue on the magnitude of losing a basketball team in an airplane crash."