In this, perhaps the shortest season on record in Tijuana, a decent crowd turned out July 1 in the Hurtado Brothers’ “Beautiful Bullring by The Sea” to watch six bulls of La Venta del Refugio plus a gift bull given lidias by Rafael Ortega, Fernando Ochoa, and Omar Villaseñor. But, at the end, it was Ochoa who triumphed over his more spectacular counterparts.
Gary Sloan reviewed the action.
With the first bull of the afternoon, “Aniversario” (510 kilos) Ortega attempted with the capote, but accomplished nothing. He did place his own banderillas, including one par “al violin,” for which he was applauded.
His third act was decent, especially on the left. The sword placement was low, but effective, and he was awarded a turn of the ring.
With his second bull, there was again nothing with the opening cape work, but he did offer a nice set of chicuelinas antiguas navarras which he capped with a tight rebolera for the climaxing remate.
The faena began well, but about half way through, the bull broke its right front leg, at the fetlock and was completely hobbled, a terrible thing to witness. Ortega quickly dispatched the poor beast.
With his first bull, Cuarentón (470 kilos), Fernando Ochoa opened with a fine set of veronicas that he climaxed with a beautiful rebolera that seemed to flow off of his hips.
His faena was very good, as Ochoa worked well on both sides. But, his most impressive moments came when the bull chose a defensive querencia, next to the red fence. Ortega entered the dangerous ground with right and left-handed passes, finishing the set with a terrific chest pass. The bull returned and Ochoa gave it a splendid pass of disdain. A full but slightly low sword quickly felled the beast and a well-deserved ear was awarded.
Marinero (450 kilos), his second bull, turned out to be a classless manso. With both cape and muleta, Ochoa was limited to technical work. The matador dispatched it with a full thrust and was applauded.
As is usually his case, Omar Villaseñor was determined to record a triumph, even if it meant resorting to cheap tourist tricks. He had a few scattered moments with the big cape. But, while attempting to perform gaoneras, he was caught and tossed high into the air. He was again caught on the way down and the bull proceeded to maul and trample the helpless torero. His assistants picked up the dazed matador and inspected him for any gorings, which he had miraculously escaped.
He returned for the faena and proceeded to deliver one of his typical hair raising, crowd-thrilling, but artistically empty performances and was again caught, suffering only a slight wound. And, so it went for a few more sets, all scary, nonsense-filled bologna. He killed with a full sword and was gifted with a pair of undeserved ears. Then, he passed to the infirmary, where doctors tended to his relatively minor wounds.
With his second bull, “Paisano” (450 kilos), which turned out to be manso, Villaseñor was limited to nothing more than crowd-pleasing tremendismo. He had trouble killing.
At that point, Fernando Ochoa requested to be allowed to offer a gift bull, an animal of San Martin, which was tall, slim, and very noble. Ochoa jumped all over the animal, opening with sensational veronicas, crowned with a great media veronica. He then gave a sensational set of veronicas and another great media, which he climaxed with a wonderful larga cordobesa.
His work in the third act was a thing of beauty, beginning with trench passes to the center of the ring, where he obtained six or seven linked sets, without moving from one spot. To these passes, he added three perfectly executed dos santinas, bringing the bull around and perfectly dismissing it.
Then, Fernando lined up the bull, delivered a perfectly placed sword, and watched as the bull took two steps backward and dropped, dead, hooves in the air. Following a huge ovation, Ochoa was rewarded with two well-deserved ears.
As usual, I again took the Five Star Tour bus back across the border.
It’s absolutely the quickest, least painful way to get back across the border.