Fernando Ochoa demonstrated classic artistry, last Sunday, in the Hurtado Family’s “Beautiful Bullring by The Sea”. But, his hesitancy to go to the descabello with his second bull cost him a potentially much greater triumph.
Gary Sloan reviewed the afternoon’s action.
Ochoa alternated with Oscar López Rivera and Xavier Ocampo, who faced a magnificent set of mature toros from the José Julian Llaguno ranch.
With his first bull, “Cubano” (560 kilos) Ochoa opened with light cape work. The bull proved to be brave against the horses. In his faena, Fernando worked both sides, very well, demonstrating fine form and grand temple to this very large, very wise bull. The matador entered well with the sword, delivering a full estocada, but was caught and suffered a nasty tossing. Although Ochoa was pummeled and bloodied, the toro died, and the matador received a well-deserved ear.
Ochoa opened with some fine verónicas and the climaxing media verónica to his second animal, “Clavijero” (490 kilos). His faena de muleta was grand, with great passes to both sides and a fine demonstration of parar, mandar, and templar.
He delivered a slightly low sword. But, for some reason, he played the waiting game. Rather than going to the descabello, he just waited for the toro to drop, and in the process, heard two warning avisos. That cost him any consideration of ears, but he took a triumphant turn of the ring.
Oscar López Rivera received his first bull, “Rebosero” (595 kilos) with a pair of kneeling cape lances, followed by a set of chicuelinas. After the pic’ing, he gave more, well-executed chicuelinas and navarros. But, where were the verónicas?
His faena was somewhat clumsy. He tried, but it was obvious that he lacks the experience to deal with this caliber of bull. He was caught and tossed, but suffered no injury. His sword placement was good and he won a gift-wrapped ear.
Oscar did not do well with the capote to his second toro, “Agualímpia” (470 kilos). He just lacked the experience to deal with this otherwise fine bull. Following a half sword and two thrusts with the des-cabello, it was over. Nada.
With his first bull, “Minero” (470 kilos), Xavier Ocampo did some scary capote lances, but it was clear that he lacked the kind of maturity that could have, and should have, translated to triumph. Following the pics, he did a competent set of gaoneras.
In the third act, Ocampo was in trouble, from start to finish. He took the bull from the wrong line and failed to give it proper exits. At that time, I turned to my friend and fine photographer, Gonzolo Gon-zales, of “La Frontera”, and told him, “If he does that, again, the bull’s gonna get him.” And, I was right. The bull caught him, tossed him into the air, spun him around and shredded his tale-guilla (pants).
Unbelievably, he escaped, without injury.
After a few more, half-hearted passes, he delivered a bajonazo sword thrust. There was an absurd petition for an ear, but it was, correctly, denied. His second bull, “Mex-icano” (600 kilos) was the largest of the day, and it was possessed of astefino (needle point) horns.
Xavier’s capote work was acceptable, but I kept thinking that, in spite of the fact that this was a true toro de bandera that might have provided a huge triumph for a more experienced matador, it spelled nothing but trouble for Xavier, who chased it around and did a pass, here and there, but none was worthy of the casta that the bull provided.
In the hands of a figura, this bull could have been immortalized, but in the hands of Xavier Ocampo, it was a case of lástima de toro, the total waste of a potentially great bull. It was as if Barishnikov were forced to dance with a greenhorn ballerina.
In any case, after a pair of pinchazos, followed by a low sword placement, Ocampo was, for some unfathomable reason, awarded an ear. I just shook my head, saddened by the knowledge that a truly great toro had been wasted by a man who carries the title of a professional.
The final corrida de toros of the season will be held Oct. 29, with eight bulls from Real de Saltillo for Rafael Ortega, Antonio Barrera, Omar Villaseñor, and José Mauricio.
SEASON TO BEGIN
As the frontier season winds down, it segways to the interior season in Mexico. Those aficionados from the Southern California area who are planning to visit Mexico, in November, and would like to see some bullfights, the following cards have been set, courtesy of the Mundotoro website, from Mexico City’s Reforma reporter Guillermo Leal.
November 18: Toros of Begoña or Mimiahuápam, for Jorge Gutiérrez, Rafael Ortega and Sebastián Castella.
November 25: Toros of Fernando de la Mora for César Rincón, “Zotoluco” and José Luis Angelino.
December 9: Toros of Santa Bárbara for “Zotoluco”, Rafael Ortega and Arturo Macías.
December 16: Toros of Teófilo Gómez, for Eloy Cavazos, Juan Bautista and Alejandro Amaya.
SAN LUIS POTOSÍ
November 4: Toros of Marco Garfias for Eloy Ca-vazos, “Morante de la Puebla”
and Alejandro Amaya.
November 18: Novillos of Rodolfo Vázquez for Ricardo Rivera, Oliver Godoy and Jorge Reyna.
November 19: Toros of Begoña for “Zotoluco,” Rafael Ortega and Sebastián Castella.
November 20: Toros of Espíritu Santo for Fernando Ochoa, César Jiménez and Fermín Rivera.
November 18: Toros of Bernaldo de Quirós for Eloy Cavazos, Julián López “El Juli” and Juan Antonio Adame.
November 19: Toros de San Marcos for Antonio Barrera, Alejandro Amaya and Arturo Macías.
November 20: Toros of Begoña for César Rincón, “Zotoluco” y Rafael Ortega.