September 5, 2003

Bullfight World
By Lyn Sherwood

Leonardo Benitez Returns in Triump to Tijuana

It had been a couple of years since Venezuelan Matador Leonardo Benitez had performed in Tijuana. But, he returned, Aug. 31, where he triumphed before a crowd of an estimated 10,000 fans. The following is how Tijuana correspondent Gary Sloan saw the afternoon.

In the second corrida de toros of the year in José López Hurtado’s “Beautiful Bullring by The Sea,” Benitez alternated with Alfredo Ríos “El Conde” and Uriel Moreno “El Zapata” faced a herd or bulls from Don José Julian Llaguno.

Benitez opened the afternoon with nice verónicas, then —as his custom—switched, without a remate, to the far easier and less dangerous chicuelinas, climaxing the set with a media verónica on his knees.

Following the pics, Benitez placed three pairs of banderillas in fine fashion. In the third act, although the bull had developed sentido, Benitez offered an acceptable faena, finished with a slightly low sword, and was granted a vuelta.

With his second, he began with veronicas and a finishing rebolera. All three of the matadors alternated with the banderillas. In the faena, Benitez offered a much better performance, finishing with a full thrust and winning an ear.

El Conde

El Conde accomplished nothing with the cape to his first animal, but shined when he invited his counterparts in placing the sticks. Conde’s faena was good on both sides. Following a good sword, he was awarded an ear.

His second bull was badly over-pic’ed, leaving nothing for the third acts. Three sword entries and it was over.

Zapata

Uriel Moreno opened with a farol de rodillas against the barrera, followed by some nice veronicas, a few Chi-cuelinas, and a climaxing rebolera. After the pic’ing, he placed three pairs of sticks, including a “Par de Caláfia”. His faena was good on both sides, but a poorly placed sword denied him an ear.

With his second, El Zapata offered good lances. But, the faena was merely average and his sword work was poor.

The next corrida in Tijuana is this coming Sunday. See you, there!

*****

And, from Ernesto Gutierrez comes this review of last Sunday afternoon in Juárez.

In Plaza Monumental, a ¾ capacity crowd saw four bulls of Garcia Méndez and two from San Martin, presented to Rafael Ortega, César Castañeda, and Ignacio Garibay. The bulls were well presented and were very brave against the horses.

Rafael Ortega was brave and anxious to triumph. To each of his bulls, he opened with kneeling capotazos, and he was very good with the banderillas. He worked well with the muleta to both bulls, losing the ears of his first through faulty sword work, but cutting a pair of ears from his second.

César Castañeda, likewise, shined with the banderillas, but little was noted with cape, muleta, or sword.

In spite of suffering a dangerous tossing, Ignacio Garibay offered good details with cape and muleta, winning an ear from his first and hearing applause for his second labor.

*****

TORO TOPICS

In Cholula, last Sunday, Gustavo Garcia “Solo” received his baptism in blood, suffering a goring in the stomach that passed nearly all the way through his body. The goring measured 30, 20, and 17 centimeters, respectively. Following surgery, he was pronounced in grave condition.

*****

Last Sunday in San Luis Potosí, in the fourth and final corrida of the feria, a sold old crowd turned out to watch Jorge Gutiérrez, Eulalio López “El Zotoluco,” and José Maria Luévano deal with a herd of bulls from San Martín.

Gutiérrez offered two faenas that were filled with temple and style. The public petition for an ear from his first bull was denied by the judge. But, he killed with a great sword to his second bull and won an ear.

El Zotoluco received the worst bulls of the afternoon was applauded for his tenacity, while Luévano was the triunfador of the day, winning a total of three ears.

*****

This coming Oct. 12, in Plaza Monumental de Tijuana, Lyn Sherwood will be afforded an homenaje, complete with a turn of the ring, celebrating his 50 years as a bullfight photographer. A plaque may also be presented to Sherwood.

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